Things in a light in...which we have always hoped one day to see them bathedBy Sabeen Omar
Mixed Media, Mixed Media on Hankerchief
Dimensions: 32cm (H) x 33cm (W) / 12.6" (H) x 13" (W)
Note: Actual colours may vary due to photography & computer settings.
This item ships from Sri Lanka
Please note that this item is unframed and will be shipped flat
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I remember my mother massaging our foreheads with tiger balm when we could not go to sleep. When working, I think a lot about how cardboard boxes, handkerchiefs, and garment fragments can inherit the value of heirlooms. This is why I cannot separate my history from the box that carries the balm and its identity as a throw-away item. All the objects I work with occupy a similar space. What could fuel them with meaning despite how dispensable they are is foundational to my work. Like the motion of my mother’s massage, I use patterns repetitively, making intricate lattice structures that are layered with oil pastel and paint, gouache, colored pencil, and graphite. I use needles to scrape and expose layers below. The needles are also used to embroider and crochet in places where I cut out negative spaces. The subtractive and additive role needles play invoke the duality of meaninglessness yet preciousness that I aim to capture with my work. When I look up at the sky, I recall the red Colombo horizon after an explosion or walking underneath a snow-filled cloudy night in Chicago. The softness of the sky and the many shapes it takes reminds me of handkerchiefs. I use the Islamic architectural technique, ablaq, which alternates light and dark stones, to envelop spaces. The diagonal grid that underlays the work alludes to the warp and weft of woven fabric. Geometric elements are interwoven with memories to create an interior feeling space and an exterior physical space. Handkerchiefs are malleable and I coat them in chalk gesso so they become crisp and brittle like papadams. Mirroring my mother’s labor, I massage layers of material into them which cracks the gesso and softens the surface. The cyclical process of soft, hard, and then soft again, like the sky, calls on the multiplicity that is inherent to my work. Colombo and Chicago. Additive and subtractive. Here but elsewhere. Inside and out. Ephemeral but infused with love.
Based in: Colombo
I remember my mother massaging our foreheads with tiger balm when we could not go to sleep. When working, I think a lot about how cardboard boxes, handkerchiefs, and garment fragments can inherit the value of heirlooms. This is why I cannot separate my history from the box that carries …
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If you look attentively enough...a crack appears..through which you glimpse possibility
Sabeen Omar, Sri Lanka