My Body is my Homeland

The Outpost is a Libanese magazine, created with the aim to engage readers with topics such as religion and culture to inspire change in the Arabic culture. I read The Possibility of Finding Home (issue 7, 2016) three times cover to cover. It told the story of home and identity, how it is to lose your home and how to make a new one. 

Inspired by this process of adapting to a new society, I created this mask out of strips of the Arabic articles that describe home as a moment suspended in time, a friend who finishes your sentence, a stage from which you fly or your own backpack. It is an homage to adaptation, it takes courage, effort and resilience, and often comes with the price of loss, pain and trauma in exchange for a glimmer of hope and freedom. . .

The Encounter

The few not-quite holidays between Christmas and New Year had the city buzzing with international and Dutch tourists, excited to see Amsterdam go up in flames when 2018 was discarded for a fresh start. Next to the regulars and the expected handful of tourists, de Balie was buzzing with families and groups of friends. Everyone ordered at the same time and demanded excellent service, so I and my colleagues tried to live up to expectations. At five pm, my shift was finally over and I escaped outside to smoke a cigarette and enjoy a beer. People strolled past the terrace, animatedly debating where to go next. A blond girl parked her bike next to me and asked me for a light. She sparked her cigarette, thanked me and cycled off again. I secretly hoped that she would have started an engaging conversation, asked me something unexpected or joined me for the cigarette. However, she seemed the only person on the entire square that had a set destination. 

Only a few minutes later, a middle-aged ma…