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Mind The Gap: Architect Eman Hussein’s Analogy of Humanity

Looking back at the state of the world during lockdown, the exhibit explores human individuality and collective existence by representing Earth’s shifting continents with puzzle pieces.

Architect Eman Hussein delves into the arts to reflect on the 2020 pandemic in her new exhibit, ‘Mind the Gap’, ongoing until May 24th at Zamalek’s Ubuntu Art Gallery. Looking back at the state of the world during lockdown, the exhibit explores human individuality and collective existence by representing Earth’s shifting continents. Hussein invites the audience to form their own narratives around connection and separation, touching on how everyone perceives life from their own vantage point while maintaining the fact that reality is both individual and collective.

“It’s an abstract dialogue between Earth and the individual,” Hussein tells #SceneHome. Recalling the pause in everyday life and how our routines were reconstructed, the architect found analogies between humanity and our planet. “The concept attempts to convey how I felt grounded, only to realise that the ground itself is dynamic, which highlights how we need to move along with it. We’re technically drifting on giant puzzle pieces.”

“The fragmented pieces go through processes of repulsion, attraction, harmony and collision,” she adds. Abstracted from the shape of the Earth 200 million years ago, you’d find continental shapes in broken pieces that look like a puzzle and were handled by the architect separately and then assembled at random – taking after the randomness of life. Even colours were spilled sporadically until Hussein felt that they were ready. “I didn’t plan for a piece to have a certain colour, some had combinations and others were contrasting.”

Hussein used her time in lockdown to write her thoughts down and complement them with sketches which she then contributed to an online platform. At the time, the architect was working in parallel on maps, trying to grasp their ever changing movement. This allowed Hussein to explore Earth as a living body, diving into its energy chakras and channels, and creating this cycle of manifestation and fragmentation that is dubbed Mind The Gap.

“Individuality is only a temporary state and we are bound to oneness,” Hussein says. The idea is reiterated in an animated painting with the actual echoing sound of Earth playing, further elaborating on the pieces’ movements, pulling them apart and then bringing them together to make the map of the present day and into the future, from Pangea to Pangea Proxima. In the end, it’s all about making sense of a world as it undergoes seismic shifts again and again. “It’s a journey of understanding boundaries and their nature,” Hussein adds. “Challenging labels and identities by breaking the self into pieces that eventually interlock together.”

Hussein is already planning on her next exhibition, which will play with the concept of the void. Until then, we’re invited to keep our feet on solid ground - or at least, to contemplate what solid ground entails in the first place.