Who Am I? من أنا

"Only once have I been made mute. It was when a man asked me, 'Who are you?' "
— Gibran Khalil Gibran

Acrylic on paper (Fabriano artistico, 600gsm), hand-cut, assembled on canvas. 122x122x3 cm.

Date17 February 2014
Category, ,

Ana, انا which is Me, I, is the enormous word in blue that strikes the eye first in this large piece. But if we come closer, or look from a different angle, the I disappears, dissolves into hundreds of puzzle pieces that turn out to be other pronouns: he, she, it, they… (in Arabic: هو هما هم هي هما هن). What “I” believed to be “me”, is really an accumulation of things that are not “I” at all: society, parents, siblings, teachers, friends, he, she, it, they all have contributed something to bury my real nature.

Is our true “I” hidden behind all the not-I, or is there actually nothing, a liberating empty space beyond all the conditioning and acquired patterns of behavior? There is no shortcut to rediscovering our inner truth. Whichever road we take, be it psychoanalysis, self-inquiry or a spiritual path, identifying and peeling away these layers one by one is a long and painful process. The time-consuming, physically demanding process of cutting these 432 pieces individually, that left my fingers numb for 3 weeks, was an enactment of the psychological process, but rather quicker and easier!

Creation process:

A penny for your thoughts...