Tongues

If I told you that my name should be spelt Istabraq but that at the borders of this country, those deciding the status of my family using a language which struggles to identify it, didn’t have patience enough to actually say.my.name…

Would you believe me?

Estabrak. It’s official. I mean, English tongues can say it.

Iss-tub-bruq is how it’s pronounced. And A rough silk only found in heaven is it’s meaning.

>> a reading of the text above for those who need it<<

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Dreaming Tomorrow

Sometimes I dream of ancient worlds where fruit and bombs have never mixed. Where family, love and freedom co-exist.

Where blurred lines of nourishment and destruction do not need to exist.

Where culture no longer negates safety. Sometimes, I dream of this.

>> a reading of the text above for those who need it<<

A self portrait with fruit. 
This image is an underwater image. 
The view is under the surface where you can see the reflection of the skin of the water as well as underneath its surface. 
There is a light skinned hand holding a full red and light brown pomegranate. The hand and pomegranate are fully submerged into the water, cut off by the skin of the water just below where the land meets the wrist. 
The body of water holds borders of coppers, oranges, yellows, and blues.
The reflective skin at the top sees rippled yet mirrored images of the body underneath it.

Image info:

Estabrak // Ummi (meaning My Mother in Arabic) 2021/22 // Archival print under Acrylic Glass, mounted on Aluminum Dibond // Edition of 3

ABOUT: Another offering I’d like to share is of one of my most recent underwater images. It’s a self portrait, and one which was taken in a time of deep isolation and a work which also translates into other works I am currently exploring.

I’ve so much to say about pomegranates, their heritage and the importance of them in West Asia. The significance of it’s name and the body in which it expresses. There’s so much beauty and passion in this fruit, yet so much destruction attached to it.

For years I’ve noticed it’s presence in West Asian arts, yet it’s only been in isolation with internal conversations where I’ve found my relationship to it develop from one of a human eating fruit into a life lesson in history, language, colonisation and love.

Pomegranates have origins all over West and South West Asia, although it can specifically be traced back to Iran. Iran has huge significance to me as it was the place I was born, in exile after my family were forced to flee Iraq.

I’m going to go in more detail about the significance of pomegranates in a separate post which you can find in the research section of my studio, but for now I hope this offering can plant a seed of thought for you as much as it has for me.

The photograph and text were shared earliar this year via the Emeargeast exhibition ‘Dreaming Tomorrow’. And the image Ummi belongs to a current and ongoing multidisciplinary project called Letters To Ummi (Ummi meaning My Mother in Arabic). It is the first image in this series.

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Welcomes & Reflections

If you’ve landed here, I guess we may have something in common.. I too am curious to see what will come of this time and space spent with VITAL CAPACITIES.

Over the past couple years, so much has happened, is happening and about to bloom. For me and my practice, it’s been a phenomenally complex, difficult yet generous time of experimentation, of silence and of deeply personal work.

For anyone that knows me or of my practice, you’ll know that I’m intensely connected to understanding the ever evolving complexities of our human conditions. How it relates to our individual selves, to each other and in turn – to our environments.

Oh and I love water.

As I try to navigate the nuances of the vulnerability needed in my current line of work, the conflicting complexities of what to share and what to keep, I’d like to welcome those into this space with a small offering I wrote last year. One which carries the weight of so many other seeds planted across the diversity of my multi-sensory works and explorations.

A type writer font prints the following text:

Dear reader,
If I picked up the book of you, what chapter would it read?
How would the words land from your pages onto my tongue?
What sounds will glide through these ears and what stimulations left on this body?

If I had to draw you, what relics of past life would we see on your outlines?
They say we are mosaics of all that's been around us - every pixel of ourselves borrowed. 

So may I borrow you?
In hope our landscapes meet in common space that both our hearts can dance to.

You see I speak to you from a place of the broken hearted.
A cracked love affair with life, I am still untangling the common structures built on quick sand around us.

I want to converse with you about language, about love, expectations and being. Yet I know all these states are based on nothing but bias meanings. 

We've been here before but my memory of you is vague yet I know you exist here with me, in this system... 

Systems.
I've been thinking about systems. 
How each system just makes more systems..
How the first system we have each ever faced is our families systems.
Fractals of service, love, hate, expectations, customs, traditions and... in/justice. 

What othering lurks in the crevices of your ancestry?
Does it sparkle with repressed homophobia like mine?
Maybe your racism speaks clearly...

Tell me, do you speak of Palestine?
About those of us whom the world has left behind?

I wonder of the structures you yourself have helped build, and of those you have dismantled... What have you dismantled?

Agency...
You.
Have.
Agency.

Integrity.
It is never too late for integrity. 

Let's meet outside, where our endless motions meet emotions searching for a life we're still destined to find.

إستبرق/Estabrak
2021
A dark black landscape image is present. In the bottom right hand side of the image is a flame burning from a semi curled wax hand. We can faintly see the tips of some names and some fingers. It is evident the wax is melting. 

This hand belongs to my ancestors.

The above text and image Dear Reader are from a series of works I have been exploring during & since lockdown called A Passing Place. This work was published in 0ct 2021 through Future Venture’s Radical Arts Handbook, Issue 03 – Radical Futures.

Thank you for spending some time here.

View post >

Tongues

If I told you that my name should be spelt Istabraq but that at the borders of this country, those deciding the status of my family using a language which struggles to identify it, didn’t have patience enough to actually say.my.name…

Would you believe me?

Estabrak. It’s official. I mean, English tongues can say it.

Iss-tub-bruq is how it’s pronounced. And A rough silk only found in heaven is it’s meaning.

>> a reading of the text above for those who need it<<

View post >

Pomegranates and Hand Grenades

Front and back view of glass explorations. The item being explored is a pomegranate. 
The colours presented are earthy reds and yellowish browns with tints of green. As the glass is transparent both the front and back of the pomegranate allows you to see through the piece in great detail. The front resembles traces of what a pomegranate is where as the back almost looks  like a section taken from inside the body. 

A pomegranate is a fruit, round in shape with an extended lip at the top. Inside it is pull of seeds with juicy flesh around each one. An average pomegranate has 600-800 seeds inside.
Sneak peak at some current glass work I am exploring

Because I haven’t been posting anything on my socials since late 2020, not many people know I have been exploring the medium of glass for some time now..

Pomegranates have been one of the subjects of exploration as they are a fruit which I believe deeply resonates with the politics of the region in which we (myself and the pomegranate) are both from – West Asia.

Although beautiful and with so much potential, they have also been deeply intertwined with colonial politics and their once poetically dominant meanings in herstory, value, nutrition, mythology and ancient tales of fertility have been hijacked by misplaced ideas of warfare and destruction.

“What is less apparent is the fruit’s relation to modern warfare. Stemming from the 12th century Anglo-Norman pome gernate, our English pomegranate became pume grenate in Old French. This pume grenate eventually became pomme grenade in Modern French. Pomme grenade, of course, looks exactly like grenade or hand grenade, and this is no coincidence.” -ALTA

This short post online, written some time ago now, offers a clear and straight forward definition of the complexities of this fruit.

“So why name the weapon after the fruit? If you were to crack open a hand grenade today you would see tiny balls of shrapnel inside the explosive’s casing. The shrapnel mimics the pomegranate’s seeds—each seed the potential for a new tree, each shrapnel the potential for a hit body. Shaped like a pomegranate and designed like a pomegranate, it’s certainly ironic that a weapon used to kill several people at once is named after the ancient fruit of fertility.’

It makes sense why so many Asian & African artists have used the symbol of a pomegranate to respond to white peoples wars in our homelands and countries. This language and extraction imposed upon an indigenous fruit of West Asian land is just another example of the consistent existence we must live that straddles the line of life and death, danger and beauty, the possible (fertility=future) and impossible (war=erasure).

There is so much to say about this subject.

To bring it back to the work in progress I have shared above, to me the back side of this glass pomegranate looks like the insides of a human body. Almost like lungs attached to a skeleton, I am in awe by the simplicity and clarity light can offer. Light is such a fascinating natural element.

I’m not quite sure what will come of this work I am exploring, but I know I’m working towards a language within my glass work which translates so effortlessly with my works in water and interest in the often complex and sometimes ephemeral experiences of the human condition.

View post >

Dreaming Tomorrow

Sometimes I dream of ancient worlds where fruit and bombs have never mixed. Where family, love and freedom co-exist.

Where blurred lines of nourishment and destruction do not need to exist.

Where culture no longer negates safety. Sometimes, I dream of this.

>> a reading of the text above for those who need it<<

A self portrait with fruit. 
This image is an underwater image. 
The view is under the surface where you can see the reflection of the skin of the water as well as underneath its surface. 
There is a light skinned hand holding a full red and light brown pomegranate. The hand and pomegranate are fully submerged into the water, cut off by the skin of the water just below where the land meets the wrist. 
The body of water holds borders of coppers, oranges, yellows, and blues.
The reflective skin at the top sees rippled yet mirrored images of the body underneath it.

Image info:

Estabrak // Ummi (meaning My Mother in Arabic) 2021/22 // Archival print under Acrylic Glass, mounted on Aluminum Dibond // Edition of 3

ABOUT: Another offering I’d like to share is of one of my most recent underwater images. It’s a self portrait, and one which was taken in a time of deep isolation and a work which also translates into other works I am currently exploring.

I’ve so much to say about pomegranates, their heritage and the importance of them in West Asia. The significance of it’s name and the body in which it expresses. There’s so much beauty and passion in this fruit, yet so much destruction attached to it.

For years I’ve noticed it’s presence in West Asian arts, yet it’s only been in isolation with internal conversations where I’ve found my relationship to it develop from one of a human eating fruit into a life lesson in history, language, colonisation and love.

Pomegranates have origins all over West and South West Asia, although it can specifically be traced back to Iran. Iran has huge significance to me as it was the place I was born, in exile after my family were forced to flee Iraq.

I’m going to go in more detail about the significance of pomegranates in a separate post which you can find in the research section of my studio, but for now I hope this offering can plant a seed of thought for you as much as it has for me.

The photograph and text were shared earliar this year via the Emeargeast exhibition ‘Dreaming Tomorrow’. And the image Ummi belongs to a current and ongoing multidisciplinary project called Letters To Ummi (Ummi meaning My Mother in Arabic). It is the first image in this series.

View post >