Aramaic Puzzle: Alap Beit
30" x 36"
Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop
Out of order, cropped and displaced, this piece examines the relationship of Assyrians with their Aramaic language, a relationship distinguished by a rich ancient history, a medieval Christain Syriac heritage, cultural values and customs, as well as survival from genocide, upheaval, assimilation, and current political and religious struggles in our homeland, Iraq.
Each letterform is cropped to examine our memory for a distinct visual form, the letters unique identifying factor. The juxtaposition of letters in the checkerboard enhances but also confuses our recognition of the letter. As we strive to recognize our letters, we strengthen our ties to our mothertongue despite the attractions of assimilation and the punishments of dispersal.
The oldest continuously written and spoken language of the Middle East is in disarray, almost lost.
25 years later, I dug out my Assyrian language notebooks. Was that really how well I wrote, I was barely a teen! Today, I seldom dream in Assyrian.
In the last page of my Assyrian notebook, I come across English sentences, with the mention of the work “Allah” reminding me of the Islamic Revolution. I placed that atop of a visual arrow facing forward, as “In the name of God”, was placed on all letterhead.
Another note page in the middle is a verb conjugation in Assyrian, with instruction of grammar taught in Persian, learning the grammar of my mother’s language by detailed instruction in Persian. The third page is an essay I wrote to an assigned topic “If someday we loose our language as we’ve lost everything, what would happen?”, placed in the bottom as we struggle to remember reading our mother’s language.
Black and dark grays symbolize our hearts, are sorrowfully longing for recognition. The colors selected are blue, yellow and red for their primary values, magenta and purple as active secondary colors. These basic colors symbolize our inherent relation to our language and the active colors target our youth. Together shaping of a forward moving arrow (left directional), as the direction of our writing, I hope to move forward against the dark pallate of our collective struggle.