Since I left the Middle East I’ve been trying to understand and remember the land that I am connected to through my ancestry, and know most about from my family’s memories. I wonder, what is my relationship to that distant land?
“monkhol [sieve] II” is a small embroidery of gold thread on a fibre-glass screen. The screen is hand cut with patterns of the Tigris-Euphrates river system, and the embroidery depicts lines from the palm of my hand. This work is part of a series examining the relationship between my body and the land of my ancestors. “monkhol” (meaning sieve in Arabic) imagines the land as a permeable grid, and is part of my ongoing project “palm navigation | ‘hajr ennakhal’ “—a body of work about the intertwined diasporic histories of humans and date palms from Iraq. My art practice is a continuous process of navigation: through the enfolded patterns within my body, and the patterns of the land, in hopes of mapping a route beyond the past, through the present, and toward a revived future.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
asmaa al-issa’s interdisciplinary practice draws from her lived experiences & interactions with the land, materials, and people around her. Engaging with the traditions of her ancestors, asmaa’s artistic practice is heavily focused on inviting and building cross-cultural alliances. She is continually building knowledge of recipes, traditions, philosophies, theories, and histories of the Middle East while developing her practice as an artist and educator. asmaa was born in 1991, in Baghdad, Iraq and immigrated to Calgary, Canada with her family in 2001. She holds a BFA in Visual Arts from the University of Calgary (2013) and a MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, CA (2017). asmaa’s artistic practice has been supported by her family, Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and Calgary Arts Development.
© asmaa al-issa