b. 1983, Syria
"The object that I’ve chosen is quite small, and the memory behind it is probably the oldest thing that I own which came with me from Syria. The memory is basically that it took the journey with me, and it’s taken the journey with me throughout my life every time I have moved. Because it was quite small, and I was a child when I left Syria so when my mom told me to pack my favourite things. When I left, I could only pack the most special things to me, and we only had a small bag each to pack most special things. And a lot of those things, you know, got lost over the years; been given away or donated. So, this is the thing that has stayed with me throughout all my moves.
My object is a set of little glass turtle ornaments that I got in my childhood, and I’ve kept with me all these years. They represent a lot of things, even in a metaphorical way, the idea of carrying your home on your back as a little turtle. When you see baby turtles crawling on the sand trying to get to the sea, so the journeys of migration. I had these ideas when I was doing my drawings. I began to think with just the object, but when I started to think about what a turtle is, it didn’t really have much significance or relation to Syria except that it’s from my childhood and that is where I got it from. It was more about the journey for me, the memories from home, and the memories of me leaving home, which are sad and painful. Once I started digging a bit deeper, those little turtles started to have other layers of meaning that I’ve been looking at.
As we were talking about the thin line, the thin thread that connects us to the past, I was thinking of the object as a metaphorical thread and the objects that are pulling us back to the past, the present and the future that was our starting point, and that’s what’s taking us on this journey."