Art is a homogenous reflection of every moment in my life. In the fall of 2019, I began researching my latest project – ZeftTime*, only to discover that the whole world has entered into a collective ZeftTime, with the onset of the Covid19 pandemic. The new reality made me reconsider my research when ventilators, masks, and the freedom to breathe, travel, and life became priorities. Then, a chemical explosion shook Beirut, destroying it. And the broken glass was the main cause of death. I see time as a draft, and its reflections are the secret key to access ZeftTime. My artistic challenge expanded multifold, and glass became an integral part of painting with tar. This process added a structural dimension and paired the world of painting with sculpture. Time was no longer an abstract idea or a mere concept in my mind enticing me to perceive it in a three-dimensional way. This is the law of time: every passing moment is a new opportunity for a complete change. I changed the work’s vision by covering the fresh tar, burying it between glass and wood boards, taking my time in the slow process. I then shattered the glass surface and allowed oxygen to penetrate in measured intakes that I controlled through cracking. As the tar was drying up, it gasped more and more oxygen, creating arbitrary colored forms. In practice, I painted Zefttime with Oxygen and time. Pierre Soulages once said: “Whoever looks at my painting is in my painting,” so it is with me, but from a different perspective. The broken glass reflects the space that it contains, creating a mirror image projected from me to others and from others to the world. Zefttime is a mirror of time within time where between its layers Palestine is still suspended in the same state. I sought all my life to learn how to swim and float in water, but I failed. Today, I manage to float in Zeft and even walk on its surface. From Ibn Arabi’s time till today and beyond, the conclusion remains when he said, “The face is but one; only by counting the mirrors it multiplies.” Hani Zurob February 2021, Paris *Zeft in Arabic means Tar in English. And the word Zeft is used in the Arab World in general and Palestine in particular as a contemptuous term to express a wide range of emotions from a discouraged state of mind to one of repulsion. Sometimes it points to bad luck as a way to describe an awful situation.
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