Nour Jaouda Interview - The Hopper Prize

Nour Jaouda

Nour Jaouda on a deconstructive process of making & unmaking, challenging conventional ideas of identity, & incorporating fractured narratives to elicit meaning.

How did you get into making art?

I’ve always had a compelling urgency to make. Being brought up in place like Cairo; a place filled with vibrant and chaotic energy, movement and colour, I could not escape its rich histories of craftsmanship and multilayered architecture. I was always attracted and challenged by the never-ending possibilities of visual culture.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a series of textile pieces, inspired by the islamic prayermat.

Placed between the ground and the person praying, the symbolically charged prayer-mat constructs a temporary spiritual space on the ground where it is placed.

The very purpose of the prayermat’s mobility and migratory nature, is to create a grounded stillness. Within the symmetry and harmony of its defined composition, its divine geometry of islamic illumination and its traditional numerical patterning, the prayer is directed towards the direction of Mecca, materializing the ritual of tawhid (unity).

Through my deconstructive process of making and unmaking, I aim to subvert the ornamental tradition of its historical motifs and instead renew its inherent divinity through a chaotic and intuitive creative process. Whilst undoing this unity, I hope to symbolically revive it.

Through this series, I attempt to challenge conventional ideas of identity and its volatile narratives of time, place and belonging.

Nour Jaouda

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

Through this series, I attempt to challenge conventional ideas of identity and its volatile narratives of time, place and belonging. By constructing and de-constructing cultural motifs, found images and historical references, I fracture narratives to elicit meaning. I start with the cut; a radical and poetic strategy that is as much destructive as it is constructive; where the act of undoing and unbuilding becomes an addition rather than negation to the work. In this act of material deconstruction, meaning is destabilized activating the social and political agency of the work.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I take a broader approach to my practice, where each project is somehow always linked to the next one. My practice takes shape through a continuous deconstructive process of making and unmaking, where everything is fragmentary, incomplete and constantly evolving. I seek a form of creation that is manifested not through a fixed representational engagement with material, but rather through a transient ever-changing process of becoming.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

I start by hand-dyeing fabric, mixing pigments and experimenting with colour using different fabrics I sourced from all over. I then start fragmenting the fabric and deconstructing and cutting them into shapes. Step by step, I start to build layer upon layer to construct a composition. Simultaneusly during this slow and deconstructive process, I start building structures using steel in which the textiles can inhabit. And somehow, a form starts to take shape.

Who are your favorite artists?

Mona Hatoum. Rothko. Rauschenberg. Wael Shawky. Eva Hesse. Noguchi. Fontana. Doris Salcedo. Oscar Murillo

Where do you go to discover new artists?

Usually by visiting exhibitions, browsing through social media and going to art degree shows.

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