A Mesopotamian cylinder seal found in the Bagdad bazaar a couple of months ago. The image of a staircase, an incongruous survivor from a collapsed apartment building somewhere in the Middle East; it was shared on Facebook. Number systems have intrigued me for decades. Endless impressions from London’s much loved, much visited art galleries and museums – I capture sounds; memories of bombs and dead bodies, and a beloved teacher. I burn canvas, make burn marks, make ash. Raw materials.
What drives my practice? At first it feels as though I am pushed to share jealously guarded secrets. To give up what is mine alone. The fact that despite my violent practice, my centre, my soul is calm. Grounded. Perhaps because of it. I reprimanded myself for being selfish and continue. Yellow walls, black floor. Biohazard.
Military camouflage netting, burnt staircase, fragments, and the bathtub filled with clay from what remains of the Academy of Fine Arts: what is the artwork and what is the influence? And what turns a historical object into a contemporary question mark? My answer has long been to treat all elements of my practice as artwork, only some of which have ever been designated for public viewing.
So here we are back to revealing, to sharing… back to the request of generosity stipulated by DOLPH in their brief. Here is the epiphany and the lesson learned.
Hanaa Malallah 2016