Sculpture “King and Queen” by Henry Moore (1952-3)
While investigating the appearance and disappearance of the Henry Moore sculpture King and Queen from Trinity College Dublin in the period from 1966 to 1968, something appears on the Irish Times Newspaper archives in the 60’s. Despite the limited information on the sculpture I was able to outline the story from two articles, which led me to load my camera and go to TCD to have a close look at The Plinth –where it is believed that the King and Queen Sculpture was standing- in front of Berkeley Library.
Two rusty nails appear in the top of the plinth suggesting something has been fixed into it.
I believed by exhibiting the original articles from The Irish Times at the LAB combined with the Plinth photograph taken during the research, it would answer some questions about the inexplicable disappearance of the sculpture. Through this the text of the articles itself become the artwork which has a close relation to my practice.
Blind Justice | article No. 1
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person” Braille print (210 x 148 mm)
This work is a visual representation of the ongoing collective punishment of the population of Gaza as seen through children’s eyes. War, desperation and persistence to live are put together through a series of mute images and blind text to protest in silence.
I worked on this project with a group of children 8-13 years old from Bureij refugee camp in Gaza. The idea was to visually demonstrate the fear and uncertainty that the children of Gaza have suffered, due to the prolong siege and therefore the scarcity of basic human needs such as, water, food, and electricity.
The children have been asked to draw something about their feelings when the main electricity generator that provides electricity to almost all parts of Gaza shuts down, of course as a result of the Israeli siege on Gaza and the lack of fuel, “an act of collective punishment” the people of Gaza have been denied their right to get electricity for 8 hours a day, everyday for more than 4 years.
These drawings exhibited here are a number of individual stories that each child live in daily basis, it’s a humble documentation of the suffering, as well as the persistence to endure this inhumane situation.
Each of the Braille prints carry an article from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Braille has been used as a reference to the blind justice and the double standards practiced by worlds so called ‘democratic’ power. The installation suggests that if you are blind and cant see what’s happening behind the barbed wire, you still can cross the wire and touch or feel the story of the suffering.
The project idea came to the mind after my experience in working with visually impaired people and therefor materials, such as Braille. My previous project Blind Justice, article No. 1 exhibited in Public Gesture at the LAB in Dublin- was the start to a further research and exploration of this area, and it helped me to combine my thoughts on the relation between art and design, and develop the final project.
The concept of the project is based on the notion of Legally Blind: this term means: it is possible for someone to be able to see to some extent and still be considered blind in the eyes of the law. The Project is designed to offer an interactive experience in a gallery space that includes video, photos and installation. The space consists of a number of rooms, each offering a different way to perceive familiar surroundings, such as train stations, city scenes or street traffic.
My project aims to raise awareness and overcome barriers created by assumptions and prejudice by providing a platform to educate and inspire people’s imagination, senses and thoughts. The following photos are taken in public places that usually have a tactile ground for blind pedestrians, the photos present different visual views and let the viewer experience different perspectives of the city.
Video shows the traffic of Dublin City designed for visually impaired pedestrians, O’Connell Street, 2010Photos of O’Connell Street and Bridge, Dublin City Center in a rainy and foggy day, 2010.
Video still, demonstration of somebody reading the book, 2010, Dublin
A large A3 format story-book, consists of 1001 pages. The book is printed in B&W and it has no cover. The visually impaired often use magnification in order to read. This inspired me to create a book that shows this kind of magnification: A very thick book printed with one word in on each page. By using this model, the viewer is required to take more time with each word. It represents how the process of reading for a blind person is a time consuming process.
The story book, B&W print, A3 paper size, 2010, Dublin.
In Untitled 2010 was exhibited at Oonagh Yong Gallery in Dublin, I wanted to further explore the complex relation between politics and art. The printed story is a traditional Palestinian folk story that has been forgotten and rather destroyed as a result of long Israeli occupation.
“Once upon a time, in the old days, there was a very rich trader who had business and trades all over the Arabic world. He had a lot of people working for him, among them was an intelligent young man. He was known by Zarief E-ttool among the people of the city. He was very handsome, polite, dependable, but a poor person too. The trader used to depend a lot on Zarief. He used to leave the country and leave every thing for Zarief to take care of.
One day, the trader’s daughter came to the store looking for her father. She wanted to tell him that a very important visitor sent a message with his servant, notifying them that he will come over for an urgent reason. When she came in, Zarief was serving a customer. She salute him, he looked at her and did not believe what he saw: She was extremely beautiful. With big dark eyes, long, black, slightly-wavy hair, and her shy red cheeks, she meant beauty by all means. He answered her and promised to deliver the message to her father. In her way out, he wanted to ask her about her name, but he could not dare asking about any personal information. Since that moment, Zarief’s life was turned upside down. He could not sleep, he could not eat, her image was coming back to him every morning and night, till he started imagining seeing her every where. So, he decided to do whatever it would take him in order to know more about her.
One day, Zarief went to his boss’s house as to bring some samples of new material. The trader welcomed him, called his daughter, and asked her to prepare some tea…And at that moment, Zarief was all ears to receive the name of his beloved lady: Ataba. When she was back with the tea, her father had excused himself to see someone at the door. So, Zarief took the chance, and complimented her name as she served him tea. She was very shy that she could not lift her gaze. He apologized, and introduced himself to her. And there, he was surprised that she knew his name from her father. She wanted to leave the room, but he stopped her, and asked her if he can meet her at the river the next morning. She told him that this was not appropriate, and he would better not try cross his limits.
That night was a long one for Zarief. He thought a lot about what he should do so he can see Ataba. Finally, he decided to ask for her hand. So, the next morning, he went to the store, and waited for Ataba’s father. When he came, Zarief asked him for Ataba’s hand, and the father was shocked. He refused Zarief’s demand, and told him that he can’t supply Ataba with the fine, high quality things that she was used to have. Zarief told him that he can, and that he would do what ever he would ask him for in order to prove that he wants Ataba. After arguing for a long time, the father decided to give Ataba for Zarief if he would bring the best grapes in the country. So, Zarief accepted the condition, and started getting ready for the trip. In his way, he met Ataba, and told her about his request and her father’s condition. She was very shy when she told him that she knows that he can do it, and that she will wait for him. He was very happy, and decided not to come back alive if he wont get the grapes. So, he went to KHALIL city, where the best grapes where grown. He bought some with all the money he had, and started his way back. When he got to his city, he headed to Ataba’s house and gave the grapes to her father. The father was disappointed. He did not think that Zarief will survive till he gets to KHALIL city and comes back. So, he decided to send him to a farther city: YAFA to bring the best oranges.
Zarief kept on going and coming back, every time he brings something, Ataba’s father asks for something else. He traveled all around Palestine, used different ways of transportation, and met all kinds of people. In his way, he sang for Ataba in a sad theme, describing her and her smile, describing his love for her, and how he misses her. So, all the people around Palestine knew him and his story with Ataba. They learned his songs and repeated his words as symbols of true love.
His last trip was to Egypt. There, he had a friend who held the position of the representative of the king (Mukhtar). So, Zarief went to see him, and told him about his story. The Mukhtar smiled, and told him not to worry because he will come back with him and talk to Ataba’s father who was a very dear friend of his. Zarief was very happy in his way back, and couldn’t wait to see Ataba. When they arrived to Palestine, they headed to Ataba’s house. The father was happy when he saw his old friend, and asked him how he decided to come all this way from Egypt to pay this visit. The Mukhtar told him about his request, and how he would guarantee Zarief as to be the ideal man for Ataba. So, the father finally agreed and announced the preparations for his daughter’s marriage.
Ataba’s and Zarief’s marriage was in a very big party. People from all over Palestine attended. “And Zarief’s friends were singing a song for Zarief congratulating him and telling his story in a very happy tone, accompanying the singing with the traditional dance: DABKEH”