Interpretation, clarification, resolution, focus and contrast.
When Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian vegetable vendor, died on Jan 4, 2010, he created a moment that defined the longing for change of the Arab world. It was a new beginning in which boundaries between people, between states, between class and age groups, appeared redrawn, aspirations redefined.
During this time of struggle I found myself writing intensely, almost feverishly, on paper, plaster, clay and canvas as a response to events that continue to this day. I realized the work was a protest against humanity and suffering. My eternal stillness and yearning for a spiritual peace have been shattered and I feel a prisoner counting the days to the time when we no longer feel the need to systematically annihilate our brothers and neighbours.
Recent work is mostly all in clay, robust yet fragile. Each piece has a connection to the human spirit, as we all have to each other. In oneness we can each bring alive compassion, justice and liberation.
Rima Farah & Wendy Wallace (writer)
The work in this exhibition celebrates an enduring Arab tradition that still unites us in times of sharp differences: Calligraphy.
Arabic letters still stand as reminders of the aspiration that unites people from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. One dream, one history, one language, it can all be experienced in the architecture of the Arabic alphabet.The turmoil besetting our region couldn’t have made a more important time to invoke this art, in celebration. The letters appearing in my work do not unfold as part of words, or sentences with big ideas.
My art does not convey answers or solutions. The letters stand alone, fragmented, manipulated and stripped of literary significance. Yet they aim to combine into meaningful impressions, in each viewer’s perception. There are also volumes of personal history in these works.
Memories of journeys, cities and fabrics are in every letter’s curve or dot. My displacement across continents while yearning for a spiritual peace is at times palpable. However it’s the yearning for love and beauty that I hope you will experience looking at these works, and the power of Arabic letters to conjure memories.
Rima Farah & Mahmood Kaabour (filmmaker)