“Birthmark Theory will be a retrospective exhibition for a London-based audience on Abouon’s work going back over ten years, highlighting some of her most iconic and award-winning pieces to date. The 33 year-old’s unique approach has always been to use the motifs and symbols from her Islamic background and to juxtapose them with her Western-Canadian credentials. She creates pieces that reflect on what defines identity when one belongs to two different cultures. At the same time, she subverts any prejudices that may be held by outsiders regarding the same. Courageously employing herself and her family members as art models, her poetic diptychs and installations express and illustrate the possibilities of reconciling what might seem to be at odds influences, of a liberal versus conservative environment and also as to her being a woman. But in the process of introspection and the act of creation, she finds a happy individual medium to celebrate the colourful mix rather than this becoming a source of struggle or conflict.”
Abouon’s own description of the retrospective (from her website):
The subject of human biology within Islamic tradition describes the fetus receiving its soul and prewritten destiny within the mother’s womb on the 120th day of growth. This show represents a timeline of the body of work I was meant to create and grow with. Either a short or long spanned life, it is my birthright to live through it with all its lessons. We must remember our lives are uncertain, each evening we sleep and the morning after we awake, we thank Him for an opportunity to make it better once more.
The following is a supplication, which we must recite when we wake in the morning: ‘All praise is for Allah who gave us life after having taken it from us and unto Him is the Resurrection.’ / ‘Alhamdu lillahil-ladhi ‘ahyana ba’da ma ‘amatana wa’ilayhin-nushur.’
I title this show ‘Birthmark Theory’, because, through all my downfalls and accomplishments are important markers such as emotional scars to ‘wrinkles that indicate where smiles have been’. I must represent Him in this life and for me, these marks are but coordinates to the map which journeys me back to Him.