Jawad Sajjad

Art Manifesto

 

El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz, more popularly known as Malcolm X, once said, “If you stick a knife in my back 9 inches and pull it out 6 inches, that's not progress. If you pull it all the way out, that's not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. They haven't pulled the knife out; they won't even admit that it's there.".

Healing and granting people the dignity, liberty and justice that they deserve, cannot happen until our “war on terror”, and current and past interferences with other countries for our benefit in the West, are not properly acknowledged and challenged. These are the beliefs and ideas that underpin my work.

In a previous artefact I made entitled “Blind 2 Palestine”, I was surprised by how much others who watched it didn’t know what was going on in Palestine, and the awful treatment of the Palestinian people. This made me want to make this artefact for this assignment entitled, “It’s an Elementary Matter”. A large fire usually starts as a much smaller fire, and in that vein, my intention is for this piece of work to be informative and to get people thinking, what they can do, whether it be in big or small ways, to help make the world a better place, and to realise that knowing about atrocities that have and still are happening in the world today, is not enough to make a change. Posting black squares and hashtags online are easy, and one can certainly fall into performative allyship as a result, but even talking and sharing your knowledge of these events with just one person, can be enough to set off a positive ripple.

 

While I prefer making more light-hearted content, I feel as if the world has pushed me into being more serious and creating more serious content. I would rather not spend my time, viewing videos and images of injured and dead children and grieving relatives, but their stories and experiences deserve more attention, even if only a small number of people watch and learn something from my work. I really do want to be part of a positive change in the world, in my own very small way.

 

Due to COVID restrictions along with my own health issues, this piece of work is not representative of how I would have ideally liked to showcase the variety of things that I’ve shown in this work, but due to the aforementioned, I have had to make this artefact in a short amount of time. I hope to make something bigger and better in a similar vein to this artefact, in the future.