Quarantine Confidential: Hend Al-Mansour
What’s your favorite disaster movie?
The title is “Between Heaven and Earth” a 1960 black and white Arabic movie that took place in a crowded elevator that got stuck in a tall building in Cairo. Here is a link https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3odfo2
Who or what has had the biggest influence on your career/work?
My inspiration comes from my childhood memories of women in my family and my community. My work examines the gender hierarchies in Arab culture where I grew up. I am intrigued by women's domestic spaces and the clandestine communities that thrive there. In addition, moving to the US made me conscious of a new identity. I now belong to a marginalized minority which made me turn back to my heritage. I draw on Islamic art and architecture to portray social practices in my former home.
What are you working on right now? What’s coming up for you on the calendar for the future? Anything you want to plug?
I am studying animation and my plan is to make an animated painting. I have made a 1-minute loop in October 2019 and now I am working on a larger project. It is called Henna Sky it will be animation of an Islamic mythology where women play central role. Welcoming the immigrant, Mohammed, they sang and drummed. The starting image of this animation is my digital print “Medina’s Maidens”
What is your mother’s maiden name?
When I first came to America I was confused between “maiden name” and “surname”. I thought they are different ways to say: “family name” in sophisticated America. As it happened where I grew up there is no such a thing. We are born into a name that is predetermined for us by all our ancestors. Our parents have to come up with only our first name. Therefore, there is more than one middle name, actually the middles names are endless it consists of your father’s and all his paternal ancestors’ first name. You have to have a family name of course and that is the tribe or subtribe name. So my name is: Hend Abdulrahman Mohammed Abdulrahman Mohammed + endless names, Al-Mansour. Well I don’t remember them all (and most of them are repetitious anyway) but I have a family tree somewhere in my files. However, for practical reason the government restrict our names to 4. First name, father’s first name, grandfather’s first name, and family name. So, my mother is the only member of my nuclear family that have a totally different name than us.
Favorite tv show or movie?
Big Mouth. It is a hilarious cartoon. It is about going through puberty. I watch it for 30 minutes a day (while I home exercise). The main characters are 12 and 13 years old but it is good for all ages. It is educational as well. It is all about sex, so if you are squeamish it is not for you.