In her latest collection, Artist Leila Kubba reminds us that as much as we bid farewell to the shoreline of our beginnings, we will always return homeward if only to find that what we left behind now lies within. Using nautical symbols, images of the shoreline, migrating birds, cities of the future or the past, Kubba explores nomadism and exile as it exists in the current global condition. Drawing from experiences of her native Baghdad as well as the testimonies of currently displaced people, Kubba focuses on the long and arduous journey which awaits those who have experienced forced uprooting or whose homes have been transformed by the onslaught of war or political instability. Unlike the prodigal son or daughter whose homesickness eventually becomes a homecoming, many will never experience the rites of returning. Exploring new resolutions for this narrative arc, Kubba substitutes the movement within for the movement back. Finding freedom and restitution inherent in this move, she creates paintings which are assemblages of time, space and memory, made of atemporal layers of experience, foregoing linearity for the possibility of being in multiple places at the same time, of discovering subjective narratives which anchor being far from the shore, connecting home and sea.
The tumultuous current events in the Middle East have challenged my sense of a peaceful life for all.
This has led me to contemplate on how generations repeat the same deeds of aggression and warfare in contrast with the ability of great compassion and love.
This body of work is an exploration of contradictions in our nature, the good and the bad, the tragic and the happy; through different techniques, mediums and layering of colours.
To explore the duality of these varying emotions I try to convey these conflicting currents, as in the symbols of guns, that I have contrasted with the softness of roses. This to me represents the reality of our lives.
My Paintings based on the Pieta theme are about the effect of war on daily life and in particular to families and the situation of women trying to live with the threat of the unexpected.
Leila Kubba Kawash