Gold & Silver

A Senegalese colleague shared the following metaphor with me: “All Muslims are Arabic but not all Arabs are Muslim.” Although this entire statement can stir controversy for some due to its intrinsic inaccuracy in part due to the former portion of this statement, I believe its intention serves as a unifying attribute among a population comprised of different ethnicities. My work entitled Gold & Silver endeavors ‘identity matching’ by means of utilizing and merging two distinct metallic colours in various instillations which are common to my Libyan history and identity.

Gold & Silver ‘Situation’: Out of the Libyan population of 6 million people, approximately 10% are Libyan Amazigh. Despite their culture and traditions still being intact, many who identify themselves as Libyan Amazigh have been influenced by regional historical-cultural changes and have come to live as an Arabized society. My own heritage, having grown up in Canada, was shared between Arabic and Amazigh culture as well as the French and English languages. This cultural dualism gave birth to tremendous confusion, particularly in social circles. In addition, Arabic was the language my parents would first teach their children, as it is a mother tongue necessary to encourage and develop an important faith practice. As a result, I have often questioned the place and parity of difference while at once celebrating its diversity.

 Gold & Silver ‘Meaning’: The traditional Libyan-Amazigh dress for women on certain occasions consists of silver jewelry braided into the hair and covering the chest. The traditional Libyan-Arab dress for certain occasions is similar in a headdress that covers to the chest, with the exception that it consists of gold and not silver. The following image on the left is a photograph of my mother who is dressed in the tradition of ‘Libis Al Arbi’ (Traditional Arabic dress—all gold). The photograph on the right is of the tradition of ‘Libis Al Jbali’ (Untraditional Amazigh dress—silver mixed with gold).


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 Gold & Silver ‘Instinct vs Knowledge’; When you look at my mother dressed for celebration in these images in both Arabic & Amazigh dress as an Amazigh woman herself,  do you see how she mixed Gold & Silver in the Amazigh dress? An open question to the viewers who choose to read this image and understand all the meanings on how native persons walk on their respective lands until this current day head held high or just head held? As an Arabic speaker with Amazigh blood do I have my own blood on my hands? Please look into debating this because I am not a debater – I just know 5 Surahs by heart and they are recited every night before I close my eyes so I can die momentarily and have Allah show me surahs (images).