Previous video performance work:
Utilizing practices termed as occult, the research focuses on traditions of islamic faith, the tarot, numerology and astrology through meaning-making. The themes are derived from personal experiences stemming from an upbringing where parental figures of different cultures combined inspired the creation of a personalized belief system.
Amidst times of crisis, trauma and even doom, faithlessness has turned into a luxury.
Death and a Rose; on On the far end of what seems to represent life, nature and purity, we find death. // Islamic burial rituals consist of the body being wrapped in a rectangular white cloth with 100 verses mentioning the 100 names of God. The symbol for death had to echo this ritual, if only for the sake of harmony with the other white pieces. Therefore, the 13th object made was a sort of pure white flag.
As it is said in an Islamic Hadith, 70,000 veils separate us from God, 70,000 veils separate us from true reality. In the tarot imagery, a veil covers the waters of the unconscious. Merging these two notions together, as the artist merges practices of faith and the occult, Zhana explores her own journey of growth and change through the act of meaning-making. In a world where faithlessness is a luxury, the artist invites us to use past knowledge to help cope with moments of crisis, doom and experiences of trauma while giving credit to the eastern and Islamic cultures that brought it about.
Materials: Cotton fabrics naturally dyed using avocado skin and pits, onion skin, red cabbage, rosemary leaves and shifted using iron water from rusted metal.
70 000 – اشتلاح
Pentacle made of dead insects, soil from Lebanon and various handmade objects
“In September 2021, I moved to the Netherlands. Exposed to a new world, that of the West, I felt my life begin from zero. I left a full life behind to begin anew and here I saw a drastic shift in perception which signaled this transition. Coming from a place where I would hear the Islamic call to prayer echo through the streets or the church bells ring in the distance, I could not figure out what were the dutch beliefs and practices. This made me question my skin, who I was in relation to this new territory. I peeled it back. In the moment, it hurt. Then it ended and I was relieved. I looked at the peeled skin and saw where I had been, what I had been.”
The unconscious lives in ones own darkness. One can be as unaware of its happening as it is important to the psyche. It is no easy feat to try to comprehend it, for this reason we have symbols, myths and religions.
As one sits below the veils and textile sculptures, the audience is invited to put on headphones and listen to the sound piece. Feel free to listen here at any time.
As Zhana recalls a memory, she pieces moments together through this sound collage, tracing the origins of her assembled belief-system. The artist combines Islamic religious texts and notions, sounds of her hometown of Beirut and a conversation with her father with an amalgamation of popular anime theme songs from her childhood. Translated to Arabic by Spacetoon, an Islamic pan-Arab TV channel, their words of hope become anthems that guide the Youth of the Future — as the channel’s slogan goes — towards a brighter, more hopeful outlook. By omitting the anime titles, the words become directed as if towards a higher being.
Cyanotype printed transcription of the sound piece
Cyanotype printed translation of the sound piece
Dwell not long in the dark, spiraling into trauma, succumbing to crisis. Look towards stories and undying myths, dissect the images of a prophetic dream, perform rituals dearest to you; give meaning.
"By way of assigning meaning to existence, one is able to give a greater purpose to experiences and the overall state of being. This same methodology shows itself in the act of art-making, hence allowing the practices of faith and the occult to merge with the artistic method."