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Michele Antenorcruz (MA): How did this happen? Marwa Abdul-Rahman (MAR): I was always an artistically geared child who didn’t realize art could be a career. Whenever I had free time, I made sculptures and painted. Alone, and inside my head a lot, I would communicate through making things out of hangers, rocks, paint, all kinds of things. I’d wait for my parents to finish their can of coffee so I could repurpose the tin, or find abandoned objects on the ground and incorporate them in my sculptures, which now that I think about it, I still do. Whatever I made was just to make it. Nothing was ever precious, and eventually it would be forgotten again, and probably thrown away. I kind of still have that attitude. My work now always stems from a curiosity. I find it’s easier for me to take risks doing things that seem odd or unconventional. If I tell myself the work is experimental or temporal in nature, and if it doesn’t finally work out in my studio, (it) could just be reworked or abandoned. MA: From abandonment to resurrection to abandonment. What was the last thing you picked up? MAR: A big umbrella like the fruit sellers’ umbrellas around town, those colorful ones, was heaped on the side of the 210 West and my kids said, “Don’t get out of the car to get it; it’s too dangerous,” so we passed it up, day after day on our commute. I looked for it each time we passed, hoping no one had scooped it up. One late night when there were no cars, we turned around and I got it. Now it’s in the piece in my studio. We walk into the studio. I immediately delight upon seeing the incongruence of the piece. The reworked umbrella, its colors flapping, at once both a deflated and bloated mass with an intricate grid painstakingly painted across like the grid of a city. I wonder about the life of the umbrella and its current fate. I gawk at its renaissance. MAR: Even on the side of the road, it was so beautiful, this colorful formless mass, and it wasn’t obvious what it was, but I suspected I knew. That’s how I see art: it’s beautiful, not in a glossy, finished way, but more like the umbrella on this highway, with its stripes of yellow, red, lavender heaped on the concrete with the green hills around it. It was a beautiful contrast to its surroundings that made you


Fabrik - Issue 31  

This issue coincides with Fabrik’s Photo Independent Art Fair, and the Month of Photography LA. The photography theme crops up in our covera...