Ecdysis, 2010

12th International Cairo Biennale, 2010
Nothing to Declare, Manila, 2011

7.5 x 6.0 x 3.0 meters, more than 17,000 spent bullets of calibers 45, 49, 38, 9mm, 22, 5.56, 308 and Shotgun shells, 85 kilos

The process of dying and being reborn, psychologically and metaphorical losing and reconstituting oneself, re-creation out of and from destruction relates to a performance in and out of these bullet armour sculptures. Ecdysis is my continuous process of research in the nature of identity, the constant experimentation in life leading to an eventual discovery of the self.

The project draws from Toni Morrison’s seminal work, The Beloved, as it speaks of the symbol of the onion. With the skin of an onion, the endless peeling of its layers is precisely the whole process of the search of the identity, the core of echoing a turbulent Asian past, and evoking recent massacres – physical and metaphorical - with still very fresh wounds. This attempts to delve in the “place”, surveying for associations of odysseys, moving from an ancient place – like Cairo, a city haunted by memories, as one of the oldest civilizations in the world-- with a detritus of colonial influences. Exploring to define certain memories that tie us with a “place”, memories that involve, tell and retell our stories, those stories that host solid evidence of what was or can be seen and of what is no longer there. 

“built out of compulsive repetition, in which the onion, as it were, is constantly being both peeled and reconstituted; in which memories are constantly being both exhumed and buried; and in which the mind of the storyteller is both imprisoned and set free in the act of retelling.”

And so, like the return of the enduring case of exploitation, Ecdysis is “both a reconciliation and a vexation, both a healing and a wounding.” **

In my practice, my sculptures relate to my body as an extension of myself, and at times as a protective shield or armour that shelters cocooning internal transfiguration, until the moment of manifestation in an exquisite spiritual state. I perceive my body as a space regarding traces, that have been left neglected and concealed yet persist as open gashes, incomplete and unassuming. These explorations of this space open up our “sensibilities to imbibe, not to the spectacle of violence (trauma) but its experience.” 

I am intrigued by violence, death and personal trauma: death cultivates visibility. What has disappeared is loudly calling for me. What I hear is no longer here, and trauma triggers the quest.
We remember time, revisit a place, and relive it in every possible way; we retell our stories, assuage our traumas, rebuild and resituate the self on stable grounds. We never stop ruminating over spaces, places and time, in an eternal process of recycling memory.
*Ecdysis: (in zoology) is the shedding of an outer layer/skin.
**(Metcalf, Stephen. Why Is Beloved Beloved?, May 18, 2006.