2021 9-color woodcut hand-carved from 16 Baltic birch woodblock plates and hand-printed on Awagami kozo paper, 2021
Cloud: Sacrifice of Zulaikha and Primavera: Hajar and the Angels in the Wilderness belong to a series of works produced between 2017 and 2021 titled Dream. Dream is an allegorical tale, a sort of roman à clef about displacement and my faith in the orthodoxy of visual image. The visible constitutes a poetic language evocative of mystery, affording the thematic iconography to maintain its presence in the opposition between reality and illusion. Via Dream, I seek to expand the boundaries of storytelling and visualization to allow for the new context to emerge. Cloud: Sacrifice of Zulaikha explores the tale of Potiphar’s wife Zulaikha, as told in the Torah, the Old Testament, and the Quran, in which some scriptural commentators regard Zulaikha as a sinner. Departing from this tradition, I reflect, albeit metaphorically, on the epic love story of Zulaikha applying the Sufi mystic-poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī’s proposition that Zulaikha’s obsession with Yusuf is a symptom and manifestation of the soul’s deep longing for divine spirituality, a true yearning of one person’s love for another. This sensation, manifested in my image as an eclipsed Shunga cloud, is intended as a Sufi metaphor for celestial union, the triumph of spiritual over carnal love.