About a month ago I attended a screening of the documentary Welcome to Canada, followed by a discussion of the plight of refugees. I felt compelled to respond with art, and this resulted in a diptych, of which this is the first piece. As is my practice, the work doesn’t specifically refer to the current situation but reflects back to the timeless story of fleeing and seeking refuge, enacted continually through human history.
Among the different Arabic words expressing Flight and Refuge, I chose Firâr and Liyâdh . The reason for this was that these are listed as the names of two stations on the Sufi path, and although in that context the flight is to and the refuge in God, I was keen to use this link.
Flight: Chunks of paper are cut out of the gentle pencil grid of peaceful society, and moving away in such a disorderly manner it feels like there has been an explosion. They leave behind a gutted grid, evoking gutted buildings with the red of fire and blood. The more pieces are removed, the more fragile the grid left behind.