Storytelling has always been a central part of my work, questioning the truth and possibilities of narrative. Growing up with cartoons and film narration has allowed me to fantasise real life through my work, turning the fact I experienced into fiction.
I research through travel, especially through allowing myself to visit some obscure places for a certain period of time. I draw, film, record sound and write, to capture instant unexpected people and situations that I encounter. One of my paintings ‘Aqua Park’ is based on a trip from Egypt to DR Congo where I ended up shipwrecked on the Congo and stranded in the jungle for three weeks. Films are a starting point for the expected experiences that I encounter when I travel, especially watching ‘African Queen’ before the trip, it seems inevitable that filmic scenarios influence my reading of a place or even purpose. The application of romanticism whilst travelling is a coping device because it neutralises the unpredictable and dramatic incidents into a sense of excitement. The surrealism of this is how travel has become an extension to the original images seen on the screen.
This performative aspect, formed from experience and the past, becomes more optically-oriented because memory fades away after days. After most of the trips, photos, sound and videos turn into object. The content of scenes becomes abstract to me and the only thing that is left is motion and colour in a picture. When I make a painting based on these journeys, by using the material I made on the trip, I concentrate on formal things, such as internal scale on the surface of the canvas through small flat, detailed patterns that with contrast the size of a canvas. This creates more dramatic contrast and each painting session clashes with the previous one. These clashes generate delusion and blur the differences between the truth and fantasy by making fact and fiction push and pull at each other.
I am interested in deconstructing the symbolism within the real life events that become part of my fictions and in creating a non-place to replace characters and scenes from my travels within my paintings and also within my practice as a performer. One of my performances ‘Pluck me and Keep me’ was based on a friend who attempted to commit suicide. I used her experience to create a character that is the unrevealed side of her but revealed it in front of the audience. She was covered in feathers that were completely plucked by the audience. The performer’s identity was transformed from a creature back to a human.
I want my work to be timeless, so that the viewer and I can be time travellers. The importance of subject matter disappears and emerges within my painting in an alienated setting. Mythologies and travelling experience are only primary resources for me, but by transforming them into an optical experience I encourage the viewers’ vision to travel to different parts of my paintings.
Even though the objects or characters in my work have their own separate dominant features such as in my recent piece 'Wild Sea's Pearl', when they meet together a canvas they are all challenging the delusional side of reality and they interact in between themselves on the surface.