Studios > Ibrahim A. Ahmed III
Ibrahim A. Ahmed III
Through analyzing the immigrant experience, my work examines several levels of identity. The first is the dual/hybridized/transparent identity of the immigrant, which has been a personal struggle since my migration to the United States in the late 90's from the country of Bahrain. The second, which my most current work has been exploring, is the loss of identity through the loss of my native language, Arabic.
I explore this theme by utilizing primitive printmaking techniques by pressing paper (because we read and write on paper) to a series of selected Arabic words, which I paint in black (since we learn from textbooks, which are predominately printed in the same shades) on the wall in a Calligraphic style to create a print. I select specific words, ones that represent a social norm/identity that is native to my home land. For example the word 'man', which in the United States carries a different social context as opposed to its Middle Eastern counterpart. During this process the Arabic words, which are written right to left, reverse when removed from the wall, thus representing an Anglicization of the Arabic language. Their new forms become a product of dualities, two surfaces compressing the paint to create a new formed word/identity. The reversed abstracted words take on a new perception, which by following my example of the word 'man' once anglicized, takes on both western and eastern meanings. I use these words and social constructs as a reflection of my experiences of being an easterner in the western world. The abstracted forms in my work reveal the loss of identity by my losing my understanding of my native tongue.
The prints created during what has now become the first step of this project are left as is, on paper. However, the evolution of my work has moved towards removing the positive space or the anglicized words, collaging those pieces, and assembling them onto a grey canvas; I choose grey to reflect the in-between/transparency of being neither Egyptian nor American. I add geometric patterns to hint towards my artistic heritage. The reconfiguring of both calligraphy and geometric patterns are symbolic of rethinking the traditional eastern identity in the modern western world.