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Biohazard, DOLPH projects

This room is my artist’s statement.

DOLPH has provided me with a platform to visualize my artist’s statement.

Most will be familiar with my work only in its complete form, refined for exhibition. Here, my work is laid bare – the steps I take from conception to completion.

Here I reveal the secrets most closely guarded by an artist; the method by which I arrive at executing a work of art.

To show one’s process, one’s practice, is an entirely non-commercial exercise. DOLPH gives liberation, freeing the shackles of the contemporary art market.

This exhibition marks a movement between two states – the studio and the gallery space. I myself am between two states: two passports, two countries, two histories.


A Mesopotamian cylinder seal found in the Bagdad bazaar a couple of months ago. The image of a staircase, incongruous survivor from a collapsed apartment building somewhere in Syria; it was shared on Facebook. Number systems have intrigued me for decades. Endless impressions from London’s much loved, much visited art galleries and museums – I capture sounds; memories of bombs and dead bodies and a beloved teacher. I burn canvas, make burn marks, make ash. Destruction is raw material. 

What drives my practice? At first it feels as though I am pushed to share jealously guarded secrets. To give up what is mine alone. The fact that despite my violent practice, my centre, my soul is calm. Grounded. Perhaps because of it. I reprimand myself for being selfish and continue. Yellow walls, black floor. Biohazard.

Military camouflage netting, burnt staircase, more fragments and the bathtub filled with clay from what remains of the Academy of Fine Arts: what is the artwork and what the influence? And what turns a historical object into a contemporary question mark? My answer has long been to treat all elements of my practice as artwork, only some of which have ever been designated for public viewing.

So here we are back to revealing, to sharing … back to the request of generosity stipulated by DOLPH in their brief. Here is the epiphany and here is the lesson learned.


Hanaa Malallah

January, 2016

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