How does the process of daydreaming influence your creative practice?
When you look at my work a lot of people see social injustice, but I do have another side of me that is a bit lighter. My name in Arabic translates as ‘light’, so I have always been fascinated by that. When creating, I’m half-present in the real world and the other half of me is daydreaming. This gives me a childlike sense of hope where I feel at peace. When you look at children, you can see that they haven’t yet realised that there is so much struggle in the world, they are living this very peaceful, innocent and imaginative life.
What do the recurring visual motifs in your work symbolise?
The four eyes represent a time when I was really little and had to wear glasses and people called me ‘four-eyes’. It was kind of bullying, but I didn’t see it in that way – I felt like I had a superpower. The blank eyes in my illustrations became a motif when I was drawing girls who had died; it symbolises the absence of the soul and that we can be blinded by our communities. The use of hands in my work comes from our culture – people express themselves through hand movements; you can close your ears and understand the tone completely.
You did a series of illustrations that were anti global warming – when did raising awareness of climate change become important to you?
I always visited Lebanon in the summer, we would go and see my grandad who had a garden and was very in touch with nature. He always used to say, “you take care of the earth and the earth will take care of you.” When I was about five, I used to attend this after-school group called The Environmental Club. I thought I would be planting seeds but actually it shed light on deforestation and the extinction of large endangered animals. I want to educate people on these topics, without it feeling like I’m yelling at them.