Unfolding Stories: Sketching Memories

Earlier this year, March to be exact. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to join the Sanad programme. Unfolding stories, sketching memories. Sanad is a long running programme at the Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre “ASCC”. In Collaboration with Yadawi Crafts who create various crafting sessions dedicated to senior women in the society. Teaching them different crafts from beading to fiber arts and much more. Whilst also enabling them to experience the immensely gratifying and rewarding qualities of making and creating.

Unfolding Stories: Sketching memories of Sanad women at ASSC with Yadawi

Unfolding Stories – The programme at ASSC

Collecting bits and pieces owned or created by women of Sanad and sketching them

This was a ten week programme where I joined and sketched while the sessions were in progress. I wanted to be able to tell the stories of women who attended, sharing snippets of what was going on. The whole experience was very close to my heart; for I am a believer that everyone needs to have a hobby. That thing that takes them to the state of flow. That couldn’t be more true for those who have reached mature stages of their lives. When kids flew the nest and there is no work to go to. Unfortunately more than often, we come across stories of older women in our lives that just gave up and greeted life with less appetite and vigor !

Unfolding Stories – The Concertinas

I wanted to be able to document the stories in a way where it was easy to share and unfold. Hence, the concertina sketchbooks were the best fit. Not having anything available in the market. I had to prepare my own. It all started with a big roll of paper that was cut then folded to create them. The precise cutting was a challenge. To get them the right size while at the same time neat. I opted to do a 20X20cm sized ones. Then there was the part of taming the paper against the original direction it was rolled in to make them lay flat. It involved lots of tiny weights rolling the paper in the counter direction the paper was initially rolled in. After the paper was slightly relaxed. I proceeded to bending it carefully following the grain using a bone folder.

Folding the paper against the original direction it was rolled in

They were then placed under heaps of books to flatten, which didn’t do the trick and I had to carefully iron them in between cotton towels. I have created five concertinas to use both sides for the duration of the ten week programme.

Unfolding Stories – The Exhibition at ASSC

After many season of Sanad. This is the first season an exhibition is held to host the work produced during the workshops. Featuring my concertinas as well!

This was that surreal moment when I got to see them all come to life being unfolded to their full length and proudly displayed in the center of the exhibit. Words can’t express the feeling and pride I felt seeing them come to life. Lots of work went into figuring out how to present them since they are double sided. Lubna form Yadawi and Abdul Wahab from ASSC took such care and time to exhibit them with care and showcase them to their full potential. Seeing how it was hard to find a way to tell the story and showcase both sides, I now know that I need to use my concertinas on one side for future exhibitions.

The Exhibition of the work opened on Thursday July 28,2022 and will be at ASSC in the Fine Arts Center from Mon. August 1, 2022 to Sat. August 13, 2022.