What Lies Beneath

Fatma Shanan breathes new life into an overlooked object.

Photo by Liat Ilbling

Born and raised in Julis, a Druze village in northern Israel, visual artist Fatma Shanan’s works strive to dismantle various constructs through large scale oil paintings. Shanan’s body of work creates a portal where thoughts concerning gender, nationality and ethnicity can flow freely within a space, spur conversation and question accepted norms. By harnessing her own image into the works, the connection between body, gender and space becomes more apparent. The relation is exemplified using images of rugs, which Shanan considers “heterotopic zones.” Shanan takes the image of the rug, a defined object, removes it from its original context and breathes new life and meaning into the symbolic tapestry, paving the way for an entirely different approach to self-expression. In Shanan’s work, the rug surpasses the bounds of its stereotypical ornamental role and becomes a vessel where uncovering is encouraged, where revealing and concealing are cyclical entities and unconsciously expose what is brushed beneath the rug.

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