YOU ARE FROM ME AND I AM FROM YOU

The women in my family talk to their palm trees. These are intelligent, sane, religious women that I am talking about. Both my grandmothers, all of my aunts, and my mother have been having casual chats with their palm trees for as long as I can remember. They would always speak to their palms with a respectful tone, usually used when addressing an elder person of the family. The conversations would mostly revolve around polite subjects like health and the weather, but there were times when more personal topics were discussed, like love and death. Obviously it was always a one sided conversation, with the assumption that the palm was more of listener than a talker. I never spoke to the palms when I was young, but now I do.


My skepticism of my mother’s friendship with the tree in our garden was challenged a while ago, when I learned that palm trees do actually communicate. According to research, they speak a “sophisticated silent language, communicating complex information via smell, taste, and electrical impulses. “1 Research has confirmed that trees are very social beings but in a space and time so different than ours that it would be impossible to hear or see this invisible world. How limited are we as humans? Our sight, hearing, and even our life spans prevent us from experiencing and understanding the multiple universes that surround us. Still the impact of the unseen realm is tremendous on people, who derive their spirituality, their knowledge, and their creativity from these spaces. The women in my family somehow knew, by instinct, to recognize the hidden language of the world around them.


In this artwork I will search for the unseen universe of the date palm oasis, by examining the unseen in that specific space. In this artwork I am attempting to orchestrate the encounter of the viewer with an alternate universe. Also to ask are trees superior to humans when it comes to building safe and sustainable communities? Do their time-scales give them an advantage of far-sightedness that humans lack? Are Palms better equipped to engage with a deeply interconnected world than we are?


My focus will revolve around the tree roots. Palm roots are at the center of the date palm community structure. They are the invisible network that allows for palms to talk to each other, to create families and friendships, to nurture the young and care for the old, and most importantly to create a community that celebrates the individuality of each palm but places emphasis on the individual’s importance in contributing to the sustainability of the whole community.


This work will hopefully serve as a reminder that spaces of infinite knowledge surround us constantly. It is our responsibility to train our eyes and minds to see the unseen, to listen to the unheard, and to learn from those whose life span on this earth exceeds our short ones.


Produced in 2017 - Medium: Polyester Fabric.