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

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...