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WORRY FLOWERS

Ink and Paint on Paper, 2021-Ongoing

The Worry Flowers are a twisted menagerie, giving visual expression to the dangers of gathering our problems around us and keeping them close. A series of hand scripted calligraphy works on paper, intended for dual use in larger three dimensional conceptual works.

 

Scripted Arabic words for worries and burdens form flowers. Each begins as a 2-d calligraphic work. The flower is created from a single repeated word, then cut and molded with wire to form a three dimensional object. The stems and leaves are sculpted using rough-edged wire. Overall the effect is bright and attractive, yet the underlying framework is barbed with thorns.

 

The flowers represent the dangers of becoming our worries and letting them overtake us. They manifest the gentle balance between beauty and pain, benefit and drawback, disguising hardship with falsity. The work also touches on the way in which Arabic words, with multiple levels of meaning, enrich our understanding of each.

The Worry Flowers feature in the conceptual installations Bouquet of Burdens (private collection) and The Only Way Out is Through (in progress).

irtabak_confusion
irtabak_confusion

2023, Ink on paper, 11"x14" The Arabic word for Confusion, ارتباك, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Lonliness/عزلة
Lonliness/عزلة

2023, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Love, حب, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Love/حب
Love/حب

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Love, حب, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Love/حب (Variation 2)
Love/حب (Variation 2)

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Love, حب, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Desperation/ياس
Desperation/ياس

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Desperation, ياس, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Desperation (variation 2)/ياس
Desperation (variation 2)/ياس

2023, Ink on paper, 7x7" The Arabic word for Desperation, ياس, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Infatuation/وله
Infatuation/وله

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Infatuation, وله, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Infatuation/وله (Variation 2)
Infatuation/وله (Variation 2)

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Infatuation, وله, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Doubt/شك
Doubt/شك

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Doubt, شك, is repeated to form this floral shape. Arabic speakers will notice the 3 nuqda necessary to form the letter Seen have been left out to maintain aesthetic and structural integrity in this design, intended to be cut as a single piece.

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Doubt/شك (Variation 2)
Doubt/شك (Variation 2)

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Doubt, شك, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Doubt/شك (Variation 3)
Doubt/شك (Variation 3)

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Doubt, شك, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Despair/قنوط
Despair/قنوط

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Despair, قنوط, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Despair/قنوط, (Variation 2)
Despair/قنوط, (Variation 2)

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Despair, قنوط, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Diversion/Distraction/لهو
Diversion/Distraction/لهو

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Diversion/Distraction, لهو, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Diversion/Distraction/لهو (Variation 2)
Diversion/Distraction/لهو (Variation 2)

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Diversion/Distraction, لهو, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Caring/نهتم
Caring/نهتم

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Caring, نهتم, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Anxiety/قلق
Anxiety/قلق

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Anxiety, قلق, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Awkward/Stringent/حرخ
Awkward/Stringent/حرخ

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Awkward/Stringent, حرخ, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Anxiety/قلق
Anxiety/قلق

2023, Ink on paper, 12"x13" The Arabic word for Anxiety, قلق, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Pregnancy/Burden/حمل
Pregnancy/Burden/حمل

2021, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Pregnancy/Burden, حمل, is repeated to form this floral shape.Arabic calligraphy, ink on paper.

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Pregnancy/Burden/حمل (Variation 2)
Pregnancy/Burden/حمل (Variation 2)

2021, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Pregnancy/Burden, حمل, is repeated to form this floral shape.Arabic calligraphy, ink on paper.

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Burden/They/هم
Burden/They/هم

2021, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Burden/They, هم, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Burden/They/هم (Variation 2)
Burden/They/هم (Variation 2)

2021, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Burden/They, هم, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Love/حب (Variation 2)
Love/حب (Variation 2)

2022, Ink on paper, 6x6" The Arabic word for Love, حب, is repeated to form this floral shape.

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Installation view of work in progress
Installation view of work in progress

2023, mixed media (spray paint, stencil film, wire), size not fixed.

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Installation view of work in progress
Installation view of work in progress

2023, mixed media (spray paint, stencil film, wire), size not fixed.

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Distraction/لهو
Distraction/لهو

2022, mixed media (spray paint, cut stencil film, wire), 1.5" L x 1.5" W 3"H Individual petals formed from the word "Distraction" are woven together with wire stems to form this 3-d flower.

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Worry Flower Group
Worry Flower Group

2022, mixed media (spray paint, stencil film, wire), 14" L x 2" D x 10" H

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Understanding/فهم
Understanding/فهم

2022, mixed media (spray paint, cut stencil film, wire), 1.5" L x 1.5" W 3"H Individual petals formed from the word "Understanding" are woven together with wire stems to form this 3-d flower.

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Patience/صويل
Patience/صويل

2022, mixed media (spray paint, cut stencil film, wire), 1.5" L x 1.5" W 3"H Individual petals formed from the word "Patience" are woven together with wire stems to form this 3-d flower.

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Patience/صويل Side view
Patience/صويل Side view

2022, mixed media (spray paint, cut stencil film, wire), 1.5" L x 1.5" W 3"H Individual petals formed from the word "Patience" are woven together with wire stems to form this 3-d flower.

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Understanding/فهم, Detail
Understanding/فهم, Detail

2022, mixed media (spray paint, cut stencil film, wire), 1.5" L x 1.5" W 3"H Individual petals formed from the word "Understanding" are woven together with wire stems to form this 3-d flower.

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Love/حب
Love/حب

2022, mixed media (spray paint, cut stencil film, wire), 3" L x 3" W 3.5"H Individual petals formed from the word "Love" are woven together with wire stems to form this 3-d flower.

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BOUQUET OF BURDENS

2022, Mixed Media (Cut paper, Calligraphy, Spray Paint, Wire), 18" H x 13" W x 9" D, Private collection

 

Anxiety: An unignorable force that creeps its way into a person’s consciousness and then threatens to engulf its host. Despite the obvious power of this force to destroy and do us harm, people tend to gather their problems close and focus on them, reliving them, until we become them. While it’s equally obvious that letting our problems go would improve our lives and mental state, people can’t help but use them instead as a crutch. In this way our worries and problems are like a vine of inescapable, terrible, insistent beauty. Seemingly innocuous or even beautiful and important, we initially invite it in, but it will ultimately engulf all in its path, choking us out even as we cling to it for support or identity.

 

Our anxieties are an undeniable, unstoppable force. In these times more than ever, confronting these thoughts and acknowledging the destructive power of letting them overtake us is a universally relevant and vital undertaking. By giving them visual expression and drawing attention to this underlying tension, the Worry Flowers in the bouquet challenge viewers to examine their relationship with the direction of their own emotional energies.

 

Bouquet of Burdens
Bouquet of Burdens

40x40x60cm Mixed media, 2022

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