Women's Art Festival:
Immigrant, Refugee, and
Friday, August 2nd to Sunday, August 4th, 2019
Saw Gallery (Arts Court)
67 Nicholas St, Ottawa, ON K1N 7B9
Zainab Hussain is an artist who lives and works in Ottawa. Though she has lived in Ottawa all her life she has maintained strong connections to her cultural and religious heritage which is as much a part of her as her Canadian roots. This diversity informs much of her work which deals with issues of identity and multiplicity of the self. Much of her work is also strongly influenced by her immediate environment and it's connections to a more global environment. Zainab works primarily with photography but often extends her pieces through installation, and incorporating other mediums. Through her work she is interested in combining the technical with the organic, and exploring tradition through modern techniques. She is currently pursuing her MFA at the University of Ottawa.
These text pieces explore the construction of hybrid identities in a diasporic context. Castoff pieces of material, that were once used for garments or other projects, are hand embroidered with phrases that act as a meditation on experiences shaped and even fractured by place and heritage. They explore the relationship dynamics (sometimes comedic) that arise from the juncture where traditions may be broken and new, hybrid situations are created. The intensive labour involved in my embroidery process is an important part of my practice; by teaching myself embroidery I am re-involving myself in a tradition of handicraft that was normally passed down mother to daughter. As these skills are not necessarily passed down in the same way they once were, my own practice will differ from tradition. I use embroidery to make statements - rather than embellishment - that are meant to be both humorous and subversive to pull at threads of truth that can be found in everyday life. Some of the phrases are intentionally left unfinished, mirroring the rift between home countries and discontinuity in traditions that define the hybrid experience.