Fall 2016 at RCA & London / by Salama Nasib

So here it is, a quick visual summary of what I have been working on through out the past few months at RCA. It was intense in terms of managing our times to make artworks, attend lectures and tutorials, catch up with exciting events and such, while settling down in London. (I still haven't completely settled down yet!)

I have decided to continue working on the traditional folklore stories, also known as Kharareef, and just take it further from there. It falls under the memory direction (check out my statement on the about page), and I started to feel the importance of recording and archiving those stories as there are no official documentary or reference of them all together. A friend of mine shared a document by abdulAziz Al Musallim who archived most of those kharareef in his book published back in 2007. I recalled a lot of familiar stories that I used to hear before, and also discovered new interesting ones! Pretty an amazing written resource with minimal visual references. Contact me if you're interested to get a copy!

Back to my work, the first illustrated story was Bu Daryah, created as a commissioned project for the Past Forward touring exhibition in the USA. Since then, I had the urge to create more of those illustrations, and finally taking the chance of being here at RCA to do so. Following the minimal and illustrative style of Bu Daryah (also the dark humor in it :) ) I continued with another popular kharoofa called Siesta Donkey. Above are images of the process in creating this story. You can find a closer shot of the illustration on this link here

I also enjoyed taking my time exploring the application of various print techniques and familiarize myself with the amazing print studio here at RCA. I tried photo-etching, aquatint, and etching, as well as screen-printing all on Somerset Textured paper. It was fun, and am ready to continue the rest of the 5 stories in order to bind them at the end and present them as a visual archival material of our traditional kharareef. Further experiments are coming along with this that will include animation, so keep an eye on it - promise it's going to be amazing ;)

As for London, it has been an amazing journey so far. Just so much to catch up with and check out. A bit too much! I tried to spend most of my weekends exploring new areas or places, and am glad to have my list ready for next term haha. 

I had the chance to visit the V&A museum and check out the history of lingerie, as well as the “You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 - 1970”. Pretty informative and well divided shows. I also checked out “The Infinite Mix” at Hayward Gallery which was super duper amazing. The other double super duper amazing is the small Publishers Fair that took place at the Conway Hall (which I plan to participate in next year hopefully!), and the Illustration Fair at the Bargehouse. Beautiful both of those fairs. In terms of talks, I attended few college lectures hosted by interesting people including the Turner Prize nominee Anthea Hamilton, as well as a talk by Dr. Sultan Saood Al Qassimi at the Imperial college on the subject of Arab Art in a political context. 

Furthermore, as part of the AcrossRCA project I was selected to join a four days course on the basics of Islamic Geometric patterns at The Prince’s Foundation in Shorditch. Beautiful, beautiful place. Recommended big time. Lovely staff too and look, a ceramic plate of my own pattern on it!

It is worth mentioning how family and friends supported my move to London and made it such a positive shift. Without you all this would have been quiet tough. Meeting you all, and introducing me to your family members and friends is something I will always cherish in my heart. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness indeed. You are all a blessing.

Finally, just before I finish the term, I had an absolute pleasure and joy to queue outside the Royal Albert Hall and join all those loyal fans in entering Kylie Minogue’s Christmas Pop Up Shop! No, am not a loyal fan - I just like her :) But I know a dear friend who is a true fan and this is something for him. It was a fun day for sure. 

That’s it for now. Can’t wait to be back home for Christmas break. Can’t wait to continue my explorations as well. Fun times.