Maysaa Mahroum | Sugar

Maysaa Mahroum | Sugar

Curator: Farid Abu Shakra

Maysaa Mahroum (b. 1978 in Nazareth) chooses to use sugar and chocolate, as well as the image of the donkey, in her artistic practice. She invokes kitchen materials and utensils, the sort used to make sweets. Her choices range from sweet to soil and among identity, form, and material. She uses the image of the donkey, a device found mostly in Islamic miniatures, to investigate the realm of the ornamental.

Mahroom uses mouth-watering and conceptually intriguing materials that are put to daily use in her family’s candy shop. In her works, she addresses herself to the delicacy, patience, and endurance of the donkey. This may be her way of relating to the steadfastness of her family—a cohesive family that labors hard at the candy shop. Through her love and appreciation of the donkey and everything it symbolizes, she expresses her love and appreciation of her family.

Although the aristocracy has replaced the donkey with the horse, the donkey, as the sources relate, is the one chosen to carry the Messiah in his future revelation. Thus, even in the era of globalization, machinery, and the atom, the Messiah chooses the donkey and gives it an honor that no other animal will enjoy: The donkey will be king of the beasts.

Mahroum’s works set a trap for their viewers. When people gaze at them, they immediately get a sense of sweetness of taste and sweetness of form, as though staring at heaps of chocolate or a huge cake made of biscuits and chocolate, decorated with colors and shapes. The closer people get, however, the more they discover other, inedible materials that adorn the work and of which they are composed. A piece of art that acts on the saliva glands and the taste buds at first glance reveals the truth when given a closer look. The artist taunts her viewers with much wisdom but also with much clarity and transparency.