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papermaking water & light
Quietude. Silence. Stillness.
Sunshine. Snow.
Paper is a language in itself. My mind explores languages while focusing on nuances when switching from Arabic, my mother tongue, to others. The process of making paper helps me inscribe something more than a single literal meaning into being. Watermarked imagery becomes the nuance, or what exists between the words.
constructed silence
watermarked washi paper
145 x 75 cm paper size
single editions of 1/1
© Carla Salem

In 2005, I realized that one of the most violent responses to tragedy lies in a calm state of mind and in the soothing effect one brings to their environment. I had found myself transported from a screaming demonstration to complete stillness. Following the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafic Hariri, I left Beirut, my hometown, amid its chaos for Japan. Among rice fields, I spent the next seven years in utter quietude, learning a new language while making paper. In 2007, the Chuetsu-oki earthquake hit Niigata: the area where I lived. I was working the land; planting, harvesting, and peeling the bark of trees used for creating this artwork. Following seasonal changes, methodical rhythms are used to make editions of paper. I studied how to make paper of archival quality called washi. On many levels it was not just about the papermaking process itself as much as it was about living in a new culture while learning a new language. In a meditative process I found expressions that are present within this paper.