"Breathing Maps" ongoing project since 2012

Because drawing is good for one's memory, and it is a calming activity that allows the harried mind retain attention and focus on the present moment, therefore, I started my drawing project "Breathing Maps".

After I left Syria, I found myself in a place I didn't choose to continue my life in, I was not prepared for a second sudden transition in life after running from a war-torn city. I had plenty of time sitting with myself. I found it very difficult to control the emotions of recalcitrant memory recalling, to reduce my anxiety and to concentrate, to go to a psychiatrist who doesn't speak my language or didn't experience the trauma to help me to ease my feelings and relieve my anxiety. To cross the borders of pain; that was the real challenge. I thought that I should become myself best supporter.

The "Breathing Maps" were the first step helping me to express my emotions, on paper; I started to draw dots as an act of relaxation from the anxious mind. Like a yoga session, I use Pranayama method of breathing and thinking about what is going on in my mind and then start making dots of exhalation on paper, I continue the act of breath-drawing until my mind calmed down again, because breathing is not just for oxygen; it’s linked to brain function and behaviour.

Through the dots, you can see the way I breathe, how much intense and deep, where the drawing starts and where it ends. The way I do and read my drawings helped me as a tool of self-improvement and self-exploration, to contribute to restrain restless or disruptive thoughts, to calm down a traumatised memory and help my wandering mind and aid concentration.

My drawings are expressions of a wandering mind but can also be indicative of a mind that is seeking to be focussed. Through these drawings, I was able to start to think about my research on the Mind Wandering State which I am conducting since 2012.

"Settler Colonialism" ink on paper, 14 x 18 cm, 2017. Part of the collection of the Public Art Agency/Sweden. 

"The poet encounters himself in the rebel and becomes a philosopher" ink & golden leaves on paper, 14 x 18 cm, 2018