They Cannot Represent Themselves; They Must Be Represented
- Layla Zubi, M.F.A. in Creative Visual Arts 2022
HometownPontoon Beach, IL
Titled of the work itself and the exhibition, They Cannot Represent Themselves; They Must Be Represented displayed various sized obelisks that connects both the historical and geographical events and comparisons together, reflecting on the notion of a monolith, American identity and its relationship to place, and the dominant culture that is linked to the physical objects that are part of the sculptural installation. The large scale obelisk references the erected ancient Egyptian obelisk in New York City's Central Park known as "Cleopatra's Needle" and the select items buried beneath the obelisk in a time capsule that are common to access and mass produced include a Bible, dictionary, and the writings of Shakespeare. Treating the group of medium and small obelisks as a map references the artist's home region of Southern Illinois which bears the name known as "Little Egypt" with each obelisk symbolizing as a marker of cities that adopted the same names of cities found in Egypt and Sudan (Cairo, Thebes, Karnak, and Dongola) as well as some countries in the Levantine Arab region (Lebanon and Palestine).