This series of work imagines paper as the land we find ourselves born and standing on. Paper is the place. Ink is the force driving us out of our lands... war, sectarian conflict, environmental changes,  poverty and civil injustice to name a few. Together, the paper and ink are the record of events. We stand on pages with stories from the past. Pages we cannot open. A book of stories we cannot read. A document of lessons we cannot learn from. 

Children of Yam explores these notions through the fictional story of Yam. The forgotten 4th son of the biblical and islamic character, Noah. Yam refused to climb onto the Ark and chose to walk and seek refuge on a mountain top instead. A brave act of free will and independence. His story and the story of his lost children is a story of immigrants through time. They are the forgotten, the inked over and the displaced. We have collectively forgotten the mistakes of our past. We empathise with "others" from a distance and we forget that although we are now local, we too were one day, and we will be again, the displaced.

Children of Yam

I was told I’m from here but also there. I had tried to go and see what there was, but there was nothing of there left to see. I moved on to that place, but even they told me I belonged back here. No one could remember my name here or there, or the names of my parents, grandparents or the ones before them.

What were their names again?

I wandered through this, that and the other, until I no longer knew where there or here was. I was nowhere. And as I walked, I found others from everywhere. We told each other which here we were from. We told each other we were from here but also there.

Curated by Maryam Ibrahim. Athr gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 2016