Mariam Zorba

Object: Tile fragments. Material: Faience. Found in Amarna (ancient Akhetaten), Egypt. Manchester Museum inv. 9367 (left) and 9103 (right). The tiles were excavated at Amarna and once were part of the royal palace of the king Akhenaten (ca. 1,350 BC). Now broken, they are still rich in colour and patterns, showing designs of plants and flowers. (Note: the two images do not show the objects to scale). Photography by Julia Thorne / Tetisheri.

My work explores the original purpose of the objects and contrasts this with how they are displayed within the museum. First, I used the tiles as inspiration to portray my vision of their original use. The excessive use of colours and patterns portrays the idea that it is unclear where they may have been placed, which inspired the idea of having all the walls with the same pattern, as they could have been placed anywhere. As for the two smaller canvases, I’ve explored the original patterns to imagine and create new patterns and ideas. Altogether the artwork implies that, once, objects had a purpose, a life, and displayed their beauty as a whole, whereas now they are trapped in glass boxes, lacking in purpose, yet still radiating beauty through the remaining pieces. This links to how we, as immigrants, left our home country, where we were meant to feel safe, to a place where we are safer but is not home.
Mariam Zorba

“Home” by Mariam Zorba
Photography by Julia Thorne / Tetisheri