Rihab Essayh searches to express the sense of wonder through her works. She privileges as core thematic the sentiment of nostalgia felt through the loss or absence of someone or object loved without any guaranty of coming back. Essayh is taking her inspiration from her personal experience and from myths to build ambiguous narratives that are the core of her works. During the making of her pieces, she follows a methodology often following a childlike curiousness observation, contemplation followed by an epiphany. Using various mediums material and digital, Essayh’s build installation where the viewer is invited to interact directly with the medium, promoting an imperfect and intimate atmosphere.
In my previous work, I was researching female representations in Science fiction and artificial female consciousness and alienation. Whilst I am still interested in this subject, I want to further explore the aftermath of alienation. I am researching specifically female figure that in consequence of this reaction have drowned. I am working on this visual of a female slowly dipping into a pond and letting herself drift away into oblivion, exploring the seductive nature of water become an escape or a deathbed. Research about female characters who have died by voluntary drowning has led me to Ophelia’s symbolic death, a character from the play Hamlet by Shakespeare that drowned. I am also looking at the material used to illustrate the scene during this play, such as fabric for any fluid material. Moreover, alienation as the cause of depression for women has prompted further questioning about the border between madness, depression euphoria and ecstasy. The suicide of Virginia Woolf has been another starting point; how her descendants to madness and sudden lucidity was the confirmation of her departure. For this project, I am working with drawing, photography, and video as research tools to make a multimedia and fiber installation.
Rihab Essayh is a Montréal artist, born in 1992, Casablanca, Morocco. She recently graduated with a BFA from Concordia University, Montreal. She was nominated for the Lise-Hélene Larin drawing award in 2014 and is the recipient of the Concordia University Alumni Association in 2017. Essayh’s practice is principally in the mediums of drawing, installation and new media. She often collaborated with Annika Steimle, Montreal based artist, and her work was presented in multiple group show, such as the Montreal Art Souterrain Festival, Art Matters festival, Chromatic Festival and the FOFA Gallery.