Untitled (Blue Bottle Lamp)

Project: Contemporary Arabic Light Lantern

Brief: I thought about Islam in the Afrikan diaspora and considered a variety of factors for the design of my lantern:. how light is a symbol for protection and positivity, the transcendental experience and how its translated through symbols, colors and objects used in Afrika and her diaspora, and how lanterns are especially used during ramadan. In the Quran, a part of sura el nur says: “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from (the oil of) a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire...” All those ideas put together can create a contemporary Arabic lantern, thus I decided to go with the Congolese blue bottle trees used in southern USA. The bottles were used to trap evil spirits and interestingly blue symbolizes divinity in most Islamic tribes on the Afrikan continent. I wanted to embody how the bottles look when the sun is shining on them. I constructed a smaller glass vessel with blue and white colors swirled into the transparent surface. The swirls dancing and flying across the surface reflect the spirits it has captured.

Special thanks to my MFA program at VCUQ and the Glass Hub in Bath, UK

Souq Waqif Exploration

I constructed an interactive, wearable device for the hmli or porter of Souq Waqif in Doha, Qatar. The hmli is usually an older man whose job is to transport the shopping bags of people in the souq. When observing the hmli it seems those surrounding him don’t notice him. Nor do the people he’s following seem to consider his effort to keep up with them. The device serves to alert his presence. It’s constructed into his uniform vest and wheelbarrow, which reflects how he is an extension of it. When someone walks in front of the wheelbarrow when it’s in use, which has a sensor attached to it, car engine noises come from the vest. This plays on the driving culture in Qatar. When one is driving slow on the road, the car behind him will drive hazardously close and produce gas pedal noises to signal him in front to move out of their way. Also, the person whose things he’s carry will have to walk beside him to not the activate the sensor to level out the class between him and that person.