Writing systems, or alphabets, are unique to us. Before we are musicians, or singers, or painters, we wrote. On stones or papers, on city-walls or body-parts. Writing systems are always recognizable whether or not you speak the language. And so, writing systems are invisible rhizomes that expand the boundaries of time and space to connect us together. And perhaps, for this reason, we have always had this desire to inscribe something; a name or a story.
In this exhibition, the artist uses Arabic alphabet. It is the first writing system she ever learned. When given the task to produce some prints using silkscreen and cyanotype methods, she firstly sketched Saber [en: patience]. The artist’s use of the alphabet is not to form words, but rather a visual vocabulary. She tries to test and examine the complexity of a letter beyond its semantic meaning.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Norah Alkharashi was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In her early 20s, she moved to Canada. Having lived in two different countries, her immigrant experience has helped her grow tremendously and vividly. Naturally, she has become attuned to diasporic poetics and politics. Throughout her career, she has navigated two or more sometimes very different linguistic, literary, and cultural realities. She believes in creativity in consolidating contradictory worlds.
Norah is an early-career researcher in translation studies, a literary translator, and sometimes an artist. Her first solo exhibition was titled Above All We are Writers (2020). Her translations have introduced Edwidge Danticat’s writing to the Arabic readership. In that capacity, she has published, two literary translation books: The Dew Breaker, and Everything Inside, which received the Banff literary translation residency award. Norah now lives in Ottawa, Canada where she is writing her Ph.D. dissertation (Spring 2021), and lectures on Arabic language and culture.
© Norah Alkharashi