When I think of new beginnings, I instantly start to think of endings. For something to have a new beginning, something must end. A place engraved in my memory (and my heart) is the Sharjah fish market area. I spent my childhood growing up at my grandmother’s house. Every Friday morning, I would jump into the car with my grandmother and head to the fish market for our weekly shopping. I still remember very clearly the voices of fishmongers calling out their catch of the day, the buyers haggling and the sellers giving in to their customers’ demands. The ground was damp with both seawater and blood. The smell of the sea filled the air as it mixed with the pungent smell of the fish.
It has been more than 20 years since my last trip to this memorable market. I recently learned that the fish market will be torn down and replaced by the new dhs200m Jubail Market. In fact, the whole area that includes the vegetable market, Al Jubail bus station, and the famous roundabout with the welcoming slogan "Smile You Are In Sharjah" will all cease to exist once the new Jubail intersection project is completed in a few years down the line. I was struck by both sadness and surprise upon hearing the news. My mixed feelings are of course subjective due to my personal memories linked to the place. On one hand, the old market is slowly decaying and concerns of hygiene are rising up, but on the other hand, this building is considered a landmark in the urban landscape of Sharjah and many of us "Sharjonians" will be sad to see it go away. I cannot help but think why the old fish market has to be demolished, and not restored? This prompted an instant urge in me to protect and preserve the memory of the place through my artistic capacity. I have decided to start a new research project that will allow me to look back into the history of modern Sharjah and somehow utilize the information in my artistic practice.