"And I, Will I Forget?" by Manal Al Dowayyan / by Salama Nasib

Starting from November of 2015, I had the opportunity to assist the conceptual artist, Manal Al Dowayyan, in prepping screens for her solo show at Cuadro Gallery in DIFC. The assistance lasted for about 3 months, and my role revolved around washing screens, coating screens, exposing negatives, and finally have a ready-to-print screens. 

The show was entitled with: "And I, Will I Forget?", where the artist questioned the journey of memories in our brains. Her concepts and works are always inspired from memories, and are constantly created out of Mnemophobia: the fear of forgetting and of ultimately being forgotten. In this particular show Manal re-visited a treasure left by her late father. It was a small biscuit tin full of negatives and slides from shots captured by her father, sometime between the 60s and the 70s. They were pictures of his trip to the US when he went to study, then eventually got married and became a father. All of those slides held a decade of very personal and intimate stories and memories related to her father, and with someone who appreciates memories and fear of them being forgotten or lost, it was no surprise that Manal started preserving them through this show.

Manal screen-printed those photographs on various surfaces including canvas, mirror, and copper plates. This is to demonstrate on how memories over time can alter, fade, and become fiction rather than fact. Some photographs were screen-printed repeatedly, and have been manipulated digitally for the same reasons. As a viewer, you get the feeling of being part of Manal's own story, while realising it's also Manal's own experience and interpretation of being part of her late father's stories. 

Overall, the show was amazing and I can easily say I loved every single piece in there. It also related a lot to my memory direction, and found this experience very enriching for my practice. I am honoured to have assisted such a great artist (and for her being happy with my experience!). I truly wish her all the best in her next adventures and memory preservation attempts. 

Link to the show: