Batool Mohammed, Egypt (lives in United Arab Emirates)

Residency Period: 1 October 2013 - 1 April 2014


Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Batool grew up in Kuwait and currently lives in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where she works at the Sharjah Art Foundation. She completed a four year BFA at the College of Fine Art and Design at the University of Sharjah and graduated in 2012.

On-hiatus Proposal Summary

Batool is not on Hiatus by choice, in fact, making art has proven a frustrating challenge after she graduated from university. However being officially on Hiatus, she hopes, will take the pressure of needing to make art off of her shoulders, allowing her to resume making it after the period of this residency is over. 

Also given the fact that she works at the Sharjah Art Foundation, she often finds herself sarcastically nitpicking at artist statements, biographies and the general wording of art texts; what has been called International Art English (IAE). She also spends lots of time doing conceptual research for upcoming events, which surprisingly results in similar sarcastic deconstruction of texts by established philosophers that she would usually be fascinated by.

For the duration of this residency she proposes to compile all her notes on readings and texts as a series of scans and word documents or other means of entering text on the web page. She will also document her daily life on hiatus which would include the process of furnishing her flat, getting a drivers license, going to art events in Sharjah and Dubai and hopefully not making any art secretly.

Final Report

One day before the start of March Meeting 2014, I met Farid (Rakun) at the office to say hi and get some formalities out of the way. During the few minutes we spoke I manage to condense my experience on RFAOH to one sentence that I paraphrase as accurately as I can; I can be okay with not making anything and still call myself an artist. 

This is not to be confused with laziness (please). The anxiety of feeling obliged to make work was enough to drive me away from it, not unlike a stubborn child, but also, the art world’s [implied] obsession of producing a spectacle – even if not visual – factored into the equation. It blew my mind, and perhaps naively so, that there still needs to be a final entity to fund/produce/document/archive/perform/record/etc. 

This remains an open question to me, and perhaps the closest of an answer to this issue, is the one reached by the organizers behind RFAOH when they decided to start the residency. I took the time at RFAOH to focus on none of that, hoping that by not searching for it, I’ll notice it sitting outside the doorstep. I can’t say I’ve succeeded too finitely (how ironic) but I have at least, identified my preferred way to work, of having many disconnected things simultaneously going until they all condense into ‘a practice’. Accordingly, going to class, work and anything else I do will factor into said practice; and parallel to that, I’m starting to work on a text-based project similar to my initial proposal for RFAOH which I did not carry out during the residency because it felt too much like… work. Also I was afraid of starting it within RFAOH then not being able to extrapolate from it after the end of the residency since nothing on RFAOH is to be considered art/work. However, I don’t intent to embark on this research with the same smirk on the face of the initial proposal to RFAOH, but rather with a genuine questioning approach that may or may not culminate into a resolute end.

I am also considering documenting said research on my own – now dormant – blog that I started some time back for this very reason, but never got to really take it on. It was also due to being at RFAOH that I came to be more comfortable with the idea- that of virtual space and internet content. 




recent comments

Update on life on Hiatus

Before I post any more snippets of my notes and pictures I thought it appropriate to first give a general update on the status of my life on hiatus. Right now I’m in Kuwait, spending the Eid holidays with my parents and little sisters.

I’m half way into my driving classes (I’ve delayed this for four years out of procrastination), and my test is scheduled for the 27th of this month, my admission test for University is scheduled for the 7th of November, and the TOEFL test for the 24th of November (I’m applying for a part-time MBA at the American University of Sharjah). Motives behind and intentions of this cannot really be articulated at the moment, but it would be safe to say that its part of my life-long self-enrichment research project. Do feel free to insert a snigger here.

Part of my Hiatus plan was to move away from the obligation of making art, to churn out objects in order to feel relevant. The alternative to that, I’ve found, is to only pursue things that I find will add value to my life. Some of which are related to my practice and research, two of which are mentioned above, and the rest are mostly things like getting a drivers license, furnishing my place, and other self indulgent activities. Soon to come is a life map with all the things I feel like doing, whether or not I’ll end up doing them, and whether I will during the time of the Residency is something I don’t know and am not particular about. 

Leave a Comment (4)

Batool wrote on Nov 4:

Well the art world kind of does that, BFAs and MFAs are like filters of importance. a lot of very interesting people get dismissed for not having and "art background" or "formal training" or wtvr, there is a degree of professionalism for sure.

shinobu wrote on Oct 31:

In my time, it was more like, 5 or 10 years for the TOEFL result to expire so I had sneaked into many places with my one-time certificate. And now, this passport business!? -- Amazing. We should set up TOIAE (Test of International Art Language) or TOAMP (Test of Art as a Main Profession) and make artists take it when they apply for anything art-related and make a killing!

Batool wrote on Oct 30:

I'm very flattered. But about the TOEFL... I've taken it twice before, and it expires every two years. they don't care if English is your first language or not, as long as you passport is from an non-English-speaking country you have to do it. They do make a lot of money of course, it costs about $210 dollars every time you take the test.

shinobu wrote on Oct 29:

a snigger? I'm all ears and actually inspired.. (in fact, I'm more stunned to know that the TOEFL shit still goes on for even someone like you)