T-7 days until Grad Review Day

Been a while! I've been pretty busy letting my life spiral, but I plan to go out with a bang. With my first GRD approaching (critique by all of UMBC's art faculty), I have been making lots of messes and getting lost in Home Depot. What follows is the artist statement for the work I will be showing:

With a background in film and design, I was excited leave the realm of the screen into 3D work. Using my studio space, I am eager to work with my hands to create installation work that is thought-provoking, aesthetically pleasing, and resonant of contemporary art.

In my initial artist statement when applying to this program, I said, “I intend to use the space and resources provided through the IMDA program to create three-dimensional, tactile, interactive work that visualizes data based on religious, social, and scientific research.” Along these lines, my current project is titled As Ritual, As Liminal. Taking form in two parts, this installation represents my interpretation of two theorists’ concepts of physical and metaphorical space: Jean Baudrillard’s theory of Disneyland and its perimeter and Rob Shield’s liminoid virtualities. Applying these ideas to my current interests of aestheticizing the Kabah and recognizing moments of behavioral dissonance in Islam, I critique the cohabitation of the Kabah and Hajj taking place in today’s Saudi Arabia.

No. 1 uses a hung white cotton cloth to demonstrate transformation through capillary action of oil absorption--functioning as a time-based piece. Referencing the cohabitation of the ritual of Hajj and the political actions of Saudi, blackened oil will rise in the cloth, slowly changing its overall cloth to that of the liquid. In its completion, it will resemble a wall of the Kabah’s black kiswah, producing a final sense of place. Ideally, this would take shape as two massive panels (5x7’), meeting at a corner with it’s opposite edges against a wall (half a diamond protruding out of a wall), but for now I will be demonstrating one panel (or wall).

No 2. uses a hung white cloth to reference the paths of oil trade as well as migration paths of Hajj pilgrims. These paths are those posted by BP’s 2017 Global “Oil trade movements” with 8 paths exporting from the Middle East alone. In the name of cohabitation, the lines etched in wax imitates both of the aforementioned states of travel as Hajj attracts Muslims worldwide.

As a traditionally data-based designer, it has been my desire to mentally flip the switch of my work. It is my hope that these conceptual pieces convey a sense of place and critical thought about the agents that affect societal change. Further, I hope this sets a strong foot forward in my personal transition into more poetic, sociopolitical work

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I recently received and accepted an internship to work at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. The position, beginning in February 2020—the onset of Black History