Zahra Al-Mahdi, Kuwait, 2018

Zahra Al-Mahdi (Zouz Al-Mahdi) is an English Literature graduate from Kuwait University, College of Arts. She is a visual artist, writer, graphic novelist, and filmmaker with notable presence in the Kuwaiti creative community. Her debut graphic novel is titled We, The Borrowed. Zahra is currently working on a web miniseries titled Bird Watch, while also completing a Masters in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at Kuwait University.

About the Malta project
During her one month residency in Malta, Zahra explored the role of memory in rethinking the national historical narrative of citizenry, gender roles and sexuality in Kuwait. As memory stems from an individual consciousness and a collective agency, it is a juncture between the private and the public; the personal and the political. The focus of her work is on the counter-memories of mobile identities such as transsexual and transgender citizens, by forming points of connection with Maltese multicultural constructs. Her findings took the form of video installation, a mobility map and models built from animation, sketches, found material, photographs, mixed media images, and other materials, titled Yardsticks: Subjective Tools of Measurement.

Yardsticks: Subjective Tools of Measurement
Measuring an object depends on the size of the measuring instrument. With different sized instruments come different measurements of the same object. When measuring a shoreline, the smaller the yardstick the longer the length of the shoreline. Therefore, mathematically speaking, shorelines are infinite. It is only through our personal perception of them that they seem finite.

We perceive objects and spaces around us from subjective standpoints: our memories, movement, senses, personal experiences and preferences. Perceiving space is a different experience from opposite ends of the gender spectrum. Those who find themselves in the middle of this spectrum – androgynous, transgender, and transsexual – occupy more than a single consistent solid body, and are able to perceive the world through a multiplicity of yardsticks.

These pieces aim to emulate the perception of the world from the standpoint of subjects who are in-between.

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