Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of The People's Republic of China, 2015
1mx1m canvas with Ink, Acrylic and a large Chinese calligraphy brush.
This work is based on recurrent dreams that the artist had about water and rain in the nights prior and during her visit to China. The Ink drawings were created as a live public performance on canvas in the Beijing rain, which upon drying were later adjusted with white acrylic paint and fixed with varnish.
‘Postlude Vol.1: The Post Oriental Odyssey, The Mine Gallery, Dubai, UAE, 2015
In these studies the artist chooses to portray scenes of God's radiance in sublime heavenly glory with violence. These studies hope to visualize the carnal nature of humanity in religious beliefs.
"The Victory" Bahrain Pavilion in the 55th Venice Biennale 2013 .
The Victory is an 800cmx300cm Charcoal drawing and was commissioned by Shiakha Mai Al Khalifa for her private collection to be exhibited at Bahrain's first participation in the Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale 2013.
It is inspired by Regnault, Henri with his 1868, Automedon With the Horses of Achilles and so the Victory becomes a reinterpretation of a heroic figure with horses. Mariam Haji, in this case, replaces Automendon as the female figure who leads forward barefoot on a donkey. She is embraced by a stampede of confused horses as she rides forward. The artist uses strong symbolism with intentionality to speak about the Female Condition.
In addition to Gender, this large drawing emerged within Mariam relative to Arab identity and associated with the cultural conflicts young artists are facing in the Arabian Gulf as they emerge to become a part of a larger international Contemporary Art movement comparative to European art history.
'The Victory' in it's drawing technique plots to visualise that European art history colonizes the minds of emerging Arab artists, as they aspire to find a voice within their cultural transformations.
First prize winner in the 38th Bahrain Annual Fine Art Award, Bahrain National Museum, Bahrain 2012 and produced in 2010.
The Muse Series consisted of two 2m x 1.5m drawings. It is a reinterpretation of an Islamic tradition practiced in Bahrain called ذبيحة "Thebiha" which is an animal sacrifice symbolic of the laying down of a person's will and ego in return for a blessing from God. In some occasions this act is also referred to as a نذر "Nedther".
'Kill the muse' is the self portrait of sacrifice and 'Freedom from the muse' is the metaphorical cleansing/exorcism of the Artist.
'Premonition', Exhibited at the Bait Bin Mattar House Museum, Muharraq, Bahrain 2012
Consists of two large-scale canvases. The larger painting is of the artist wrestling with a lion, oil on canvas, size 7m wide x 5m high and the second painting is of a lion being struck by light, oil on canvas, size 5m wide x 4m high. Both share qualities akin to the aesthetics of Renaissance art.
The main focus in these paintings is in the symbolism accompanying the lion and a modern Middle Eastern perspective critiquing women in Renaissance Art. Mariam's artworks aim to challenge if not reverse the roles where the female turns from being an object of neither holiness nor desire into a confrontational mortal character.
Premonition embodies the representation of the artists constant struggle with her spirituality and carnality.
Sculptural adaptation of drawing practices. 2011 (Not exhibited)
Takt Artist Residency, Performed in TamTam8 Gallery, Berlin, 2011
When the Audience becomes the Art maker and the Artist becomes the Art Object. Mariam Haji explores ideas on mortality, suffocation and death.
‘Across the Gulf’ Exhibition, Brisbane Arc Biennial, Australia 2009
The Artist performs drawing her own self portrait on her face.
‘Army of Mariam’, Spring of Culture Festival, El Bareh Gallery, Bahrain 2009
"Army of Mariam" is a sculpture installation that forms a representation of the power and will of women. As a female artist, birth can be seen as analogous to creation. This procreation is now "Army of Mariam".
The "army" is an army of women, which is something that essentially doesn't exist, or at least doesn't exist in terms of the pejorative associations we have with an army. The artist holds on to the image of her placenta back in her mother’s uterus only to find the secrets of immortality and armies of women from descendants past.
Mariam's Army is a product of Mariam's psyche and is not employed for destructive power or war. "Army of Mariam" fights another type of war; they're their own psychological entity in battle and are not part of mankind. These characters are portraits of real women from the Artists's family chosen to be part of her army; they extend themselves as women who take control of their will. The strategic use of paper was intentional to replicate the degenerative decay of flesh. Paper also served as a metaphor for emotional vulnerability; an object that does not resist damage.
The production of this army satisfies more than a sense of imagination and making Art; rather, it creates a dialogue between the artist and her personal attachment to her mother's uterus.
‘The Unlovely’, First Site Gallery, Melbourne, Australia 2008
Are a series of drawings that question our preconceptions of human normality by considering images of physical abjection and emotional vulnerability. I endeavor to address issues of "normal societies" reaction towards bodily disfigurement. The works presented are a synthesis of drawn and montage images using as reference late 19th century and early 20th century "Freak show" photographs. The conceptual concerns underlying these works have been referenced by my research and reading of psychoanalyst "Julia kristeva's" writings on the "Abject" and by using my own understanding of her theory addressing "normal societies" reaction towards bodily disfigurement dating from the late 19th century. "The Unlovely" aims to let the abject assume its potential power by reminding us of the precarious nature of our own "stable" normal identities.
Studio Practice (Sculptural Process 2008 - 2010)
Made from paper, medical surgery pipe and stitching materials. These sculptures are internally lit and manually connected with visible electrical copper wiring and miniature bulbs. There have been some instances where the audience gets a mild electric shock from touching these sculptures.