In the UAE, a woman moves from living with her family her whole life to moving in with a husband overnight; no phase exists in-between. This transition is often diminished as the "natural course of life."
Being married recently, I discovered the bluntness of transition for which no intelligence, maturity, or extensive reading can prepare a person. All kinds of transitions, if sudden, may stun a person. Being stunned was itself stunning to me.
Humans instinctually revert when introduced into a new environment, growing stiff and refusing to immerse themselves in its unfamiliarity. This reaction forces a person into unintentional self-discovery, allowing you to rethink how your environment has shaped you. For me, it took time and a lot of effort to regain my "consciousness." This experience also awakened a curiosity in me for other women's experiences through this transition. What did they feel? What was the nature of their reactions and emotional journeys through such an important rite of passage?
By interviewing 10 different women from different generations/ages groups, I hope to create an art installation in a form of a "Miksaar."
What's a Miksaar?
Miksaar is an Emirati ceremony that takes place before a wedding where the bride’s family invites guests to view the bride’s dowry. It’s an exhibition of the bride’s status, wealth, and - most importantly, an attempt to bring her into realization with her new life. Everything a bride brings to her new home with her husband is new: new clothes, jewelry, beauty products, etc. She leaves almost all her old things behind at her family’s house, as if "cleansed" from it.
I wondered, what did these women choose to bring with them from their old home into their new home?... What were the things that they didn't want to leave behind?... A book perhaps, a favorite music CD… an heirloom... or maybe something less tactile? What did this/these item(s) mean to them? How do these choices symbolize their journeys and what they have been through? This process is each woman’s own "Miksaar," curated by the bride herself through things that go beyond superficial items and deep into her emotional journey.