Remnants and ruminations direct the organic processes at play in Muhannad Shono’s The Children of Yam. These are works marked by vagaries – worlds forged by, amid and despite the caprices of ink that floods, pools, dries and fades.
These worlds are born of experimental interactions between clay, water, ink and paper. A complete primordial order is established; paper becomes a new plane of existence; ink dried and ink fluid is the murky physical and social topographies we navigate. Shono becomes embroiled in a contemplative, transformative process as these elements come together unpredictably to constitute multiple, possible worlds. In the beginning, there is ink. It flows, is allowed to encounter and transform the paper willfully. In this act, Shono becomes a conductor who channels a force defeating and displacing any coherent, intentional rationale. And yet, insistent narratives emerge as we trace topographies and a deluge of figures in fleeting fugue procession traverse these newly formed, treacherous terrains.
These masses emerge responsively and reactively from the ink’s running landscapes. Both topography and civilisation are revealed in various states of displacement – as if through an archaeological exercise. Artistic interventions are actions that impose order on an almost utterly chaotic realm. By responding to whatever happens as the ink spills, the storytelling becomes divination, either the revelation of something pre-existent or a narrative written progressively, each step forward concurrently shaping the world the figures enter.
In the symbiosis between fateful inky fluctuations and the droves of the displaced, narrative and formal experimentations congregate around a sole preoccupation: the preternatural, primordial concern of our perpetual migratory fortunes. These are stories of displacement and migration, maps which chart the longing, restless human condition.