Malallah’s work “Illuminated Ruins” is a calico canvas that has been folded and sewn into multiple rows. All over the canvas, one will find burn marks, some lightly singed, others blackened by fire. The canvas is turned into ashes and destroyed; marked by cotton threads that create interwoven connections. The folding technique creates pouches within the canvas. When burnt, they reveal themselves filled with ash. Towards the bottom, slightly off-centered, Malallah places an electric strip light. While the light may seem to serve a very direct message of hope, one could also read it as the mystical glow of those who are in search of true knowledge against a backdrop of un enlightenment. Despite all the desecration and damage embodied in the artwork, it is illuminated. Through the light, the piece of art reveals itself as a didactic work. What are the lessons to be learned through the process of destruction? What can one infer of damage? Does this work of art stand as a euphemism of life? In life, we are constantly balancing opposites. The inevitability of death in life, without darkness there is no light, from good comes bad and from bad comes good. “Illuminated Ruins” is a work of art that parallels and emphasizes the balance of opposites: there is darkness yet light, there is destruction yet creation. The theme of balance is a leitmotif of Malallah’s work. Creation gives rise to destruction and in the case of Malallah, destruction gives rise to creation. Technically, Malallah is not destroying anything, but rather creating a new space, creating a new method of art, ruination, that is able to translate into a language she knows and understands deeply.
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