LANDSCAPES OF THE MIND
In this collection I play with the genre of landscape, using representations of Saudi Arabia as a medium of expression in an exchange of thought between the mind and nature, the self and the other.
Landscape is an intensely visual concept. People do not live in landscapes--they look at them. The viewer stands outside. Media images portray Saudi Arabia as a landscape of black figures floating in a space of absence, as predetermined interpretations of stereotypes, histories and traditions that emanate from memory and preconceptions. Ultimately, it is a landscape represented by conflict within its self.
In Landscapes of the Mind, I look at my self, a person, a symbol, a representative of an entire society that subsists in this geographical setting, this place. In my landscapes, the mountains, roads, buildings and structures are entirely covered with symbols that obscure the simple reality of the visual scene and how they really exist. For me, this conflict is intensified by my own mythological existence–as opposed to the actual place, not landscape—to which I belong.
In his book Landscape & Power, W.J.T. Mitchell advances the thesis that 'Landscape is a natural scene mediated by culture. It is both a represented and a presented space, both a signifier and a signified, both a frame and what a frame contains, both a real place and its simulacrum, both a package and the commodity inside the package' (1994: 5). Informed by his provocation, my work explores contexts of space and power. It interrogates the forces that dictate the rules of existence in the landscapes I portray. I then add a layer of self-definition that is heavily influenced by the need to understand who really has the power to define: the observer or me?
In Landscapes of the Mind, I find that I can manipulate, reinvent, and repackage the reality of my geography and space without physically altering it.
Produced in 2009 - 2010 - Medium: Archival Giclée Prints on Hahnemule paper with silk screen ink. Size: 112 x 179 cm.
Editions 5 + AP