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Where's the frame

Maribelle Bierens

February 21, 2023 12:26 PM


In the works presented at Vitrine Gallery in Fitzrovia, Bahraini artist Zayn Qahtani looks at her own personal journey and explores the themes of destruction, resurrection and rebirth.

In 'Angels In Purgatory', Zayn uses the legend of The Nephilim. These were mysterious beings or people that, in some interpretations and translations, were described as kind of angles that were cast out of paradise for disobedient and immoral behaviour. They were doomed to spend the rest of eternity not in Hell but on Earth. To those who believe they have existed, their offspring is still among us, reproducing human-angel hybrids. 

Zayn Qahtani at her solo exhibition 'Angels In Purgatory'

Some believe these fallen angels are still among us, travelling the Earth, mating with humans and creating a secret population of Nephilim beings who are half human, half angel – their joint ancestral grief being the knot binding their sullen fates. 

This idea of duality can be seen across the body of work in the show. Zayn has envisioned two subjects that depict this tension, the fictitious characters of the  ‘Self’, and ‘Anti-Self’, all in an ambiguous state. The ‘Self' is based on the Nephilim, which makes a pilgrimage through the purgatory of the mind. Its interconnected opposition: the Anti-Self exists alongside the other. The exhibition is an exploration into the inevitable dichotomy of humankind: life and death, light and dark and pain and pleasure - but by putting it harmoniously, she challenges the binary nature of this binary way of thinking. 

Zayn Qahtani, ‘Additect To The Feeling, 2022. 52 x 44 x 2 cm. Crystal pigments, colour pencil, watercolour, soft pastel, gansai, chrome gilt polylactide, abalone, baltic birch.

Creating the ways in a very historical and natural way, using pigments derived from the crystals of Amethyst and Lapis Lazuli, add to the religious experience of seeing the works in real life. You have to visit the show to experience it yourself! 

You can visit the exhibition 'Angels In Purgatory' until the 8th of April, 2023. You can follow the artist on Instagram.

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