Hessa Al Ajmani

Visual artist & ceramicist

Statement

When trying to understand the behavior of an Arab family when traveling abroad, one would need to consider the overlying influence of Islamic morals on the collective Arabian society. Through the practice of ‘selat al rahim’, Islam has placed a great emphasis on the importance of establishing, maintaining and preserving the ties and kinship of a family, whether immediate or distant. A typical Emirati gathering is a bustling intergenerational performance, from a grandfather playing with his baby granddaughter, to an aunt enthusiastically chatting with a second cousin, to a son anxiously asking his mother if lunch is ready yet. The gathering is never complete without the generous amounts of spiced food, aromatic Arabic coffee with a side of dates and fragrant oud burned on charcoal to perfume the air. These values are never lost when a family travels to foreign countries. As much as they love visiting new places around the world, Emirati families are never without their mixed spices, saffron, cardamom or ‘Rainbow’ canned evaporated milk brought along from home and packaged excessively in layer after layer of Ziploc and reused supermarket bags. Family bonds similarly never lose strength when being exposed to different lifestyles or cultures, and continue to bring together every member to the breakfast and dinner table to begin and end each day with a heartwarming home-cooked meal.

Selat Al Rahim

2017

Digital prints

297mm x 420 mm