Trilogy

A series of three projects set in the Arab World, exploring themes of tragedy, origins, globalisation, missed opportunities, mythology, nationalism, and modernity. All three projects are on-going.


I : Iraq/Tigris


I still have the vague memories of hearing about the invasion of Iraq on the radio as I was driven to school at the age of twelve. Day after day the coverage of "our boys" going to liberate this foreign land fell on my bewildered ears. Twelve years later I visited the country and saw the Tigris river for the first time. This experience would pull at a thread that would go on to weave a complex image of a country that is unrecognisable to the simplistic impression that was left with me on my way to school all those years ago. 


The decline of Iraq from 1979 is just another arch in the rise and fall of empires on the Tigris throughout history, and a continuation of Mesopotamian temperament and determinism. The Dibarra Epic, an ancient Mesopotamian poem, recalls the intentional destruction of Mesopotamia by the god of death and plague, Nergal, and reveals the phoenix of Mesopotamian culture; the trust in the destruction of one as necessary to rebuild the new, and the new will be better and greater. The first great epic of literature in the world came from Mesopotamia; The Epic of Gilgamesh; and it is fitting that the story follows Gilgamesh in his quest for immortality.


II : Syrians


In 2014, after watching the turbulent Arab Spring, I started a project looking at Syrians, and their fragmented lives and exodus from their land. The project is a mix of documentary photography and collected imagery from the phones of refugees themselves, creating a collaborative element to the project that reflects the growing importance of technology in personal recording of your surroundings during crisis, and also revealing the delicate and unseen moments that a refugee chooses to record for themselves. The project is driven by my journey through the crisis, narrated by my first person accounts and interactions with those I meet.


III : Arab Nationalism


The Six day war in 1967 began the end of the political dream of Arab Nationalism, the idea to unify the Arab world in response to post-colonial divisions, interference and puppet leaders. The decades of building euphoria about the dream of unification; and restoring a region that felt humiliated by colonialism; to it's former glory and strength, crumbled and fell away. The path to transnational political unity gave way to state nationalism, and the former dream became a relic of the past. Drawing on German Romanticism, the intellectual foundation of Arab Nationalism, I set out to find the ungraspable spirit that bound the Arab world together in this dream; the immortal vibrations  of shared cultural origin amongst a land divided by tribe, religion and ethnic group. The idea that a part of everyone's identity comes from a common point in time and space that is long forgotten. 


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