Material Subconsiousness is grounded in local materials in an attempt to navigate a foreign culture. Dust/sand, date palm/sidr, henna/dye, a stunning array of textiles, construction equipment and detritus – these materials are deeply embedded in the human landscape of Doha, my home from 2013-19.
In a sharp turn from previous printmaking projects, I worked with cast sculptures, unbound books, wax resists, stencils, natural dyes and handmade inks, silk, paper from local fibers, to develop a body of work concerning material subconsciousness.
One series of laminated dyed silk and paper, Interferences, explores the depth of memory and fields of association. The natural dyes used (indigo, alkanet, madder, henna, and more) each carry their own stories and significance in the history of human interaction with the natural world.
Another work, Staircake is a vertical artist book, made from a pulp-cake of local date palm fronds and imported abaca. The idea of a free-standing staircase came from wandering around Doha, where such things exist in scaffolding. It can be interpreted as fantastical, utilitarian or preparatory, temporary or modular. The structure as a whole represents a change in altitude without a change in lateral position. Each flight signifies a specific amount of effort over a period of time. The fragility and softness of Staircake makes obvious the perishable nature of the structure as a monument to the anonymous life.