Commemoration to Iraq


The Arabic phrase “Ishlonak” is widely used in many regions of the Arab world. Translated to English, it can be interpreted as “How are you?” Literally, however, it means, “What’s your color?”



This body of artwork – “Ishlonak?” – consists of nearly 250 mixed media tiles, 6”x6” in size, with Arabic letters in vibrant fields of color. Assembled together in a mosaic-like fashion, this contemporary installation of tiles resembles a rich landscape. Its collective beauty underscores the natural blending from one color to the next – how different, yet related, each color is to its neighboring color.

In asking “what’s your color” through ”Ishlonak?,” I have two objectives. I theoretically address differences – in race, religion, ideologies and social spectrums – through color, yet demonstrate how together, these tiles create a sense of wholeness, of reliance, and ultimately, of beauty.

As different as we are in color, we look beautiful together.

The use of Arabic in the exhibit also is important and represents my second objective. The language is expansive, spoken by approximately 300 million Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Arab world. It also is considered sacred; the Holy Koran is written in Arabic, so the language can be read, understood and spoken by another 1.3 billion Muslims around the globe – in Indonesia, Pakistan and India – among other countries. “Ishlonak?” represents differences in faith, culture, country and region with what is shared – language.

To see the process of creating “Ishlonak?,” watch my OPB/“Art Beat” segment click here.




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