Artwork by Zena El Abdalla
Zarqa' al-Yamama was a blue-eyed woman with exceptional intuition, keen sight, and ability to predict events before they happened. Everyone who sees what is not seen by others will be called "More keen-sighted than Zarqa al-Yamama."
Zarqa' al-Yamama is an old Arab figure from the pre-Islamic era, a Najd woman from Gadis. She was called Zarqa' al-Yamama because of the intensity of her blue coloured eyes, and she was famous for her keen eyesight, as she was seeing the armies three days before their invasion, which led her people to believe that she was able to predict the future and see dreams that predict events before they happen.
Zena El Abdalla was accompanied in her dream by a group of strange and uncommon dreams throughout the quarantine time, which she continuously discussed with her psychotherapists. All her dreams centred on the future, neither the present nor the past. These dreams took the form of dystopian dreams and prophecies for the future, which seemed to have been completely hopeless when it comes to future, a conclusion that Zena El Abdalla reached after the successive failed attempts to realize any goal.
Dreams were strange and surreal, but somehow they were very considerable, persuasive and close to reality. This really concerned me.
"What Zarqa Az-Yamama Did Not Say" by Muhammad Abd Al-Bari:
Something now appears from these highpoints
I need the tears of the prophets to see
The text belongs to fortune teller and the interpretation belongs to me
They both quarrel there, he said, and they explained
Trees of old intuition that I shook
Until I grabbed the water when it it was evaporating
The following season Adam will eat
Two apples and his sin will not be forgiven.
The print is a part of the Through Solidarity, We Survive initiative by CoCulture, Berlin, and is produced a limited edition of ten prints for Oslo World Festival. The art work is presented in Fotogalleriet's webshop as a part of the institution's collaboration with Oslo World Festival.
About the Artist
Zena El Abdalla is a Syrian architect and multidisciplinary artist whose work takes multiple forms including performance, painting, installation design, visual art, architecture, product design, text, and interior design. Her artworks dwell on the psychological condition and question human principles and values, taking a critical view of social, political, and cultural issues.
During her time in Beirut between 2013 and 2017, Zena founded the design studio UV LAB, where she built stages and sets for electronic and live music events. In addition, Zena was involved in the refugee crisis response, designing and building schools in tented settlements where none existed to foster education for children and mitigate child labour across Lebanon.
She also was a team member in "Haven for Artists," a non-profit NGO and art collective that provides a platform to the underground art scene of the Middle East.