Natalia Ossef

Natalia Ossef

St Lucas School of Arts Antwerp

The mixed media collages ‘Wildflower’ by Natalia Ossef deal with the subjects of memory, the search for identity and its cultural background. The artist herself draws her ideas from her own and her families past, characterized by two cultural identities.

Originally from Syria, Ossef poses the question of past moments and their influence on the personal present, in addition to the development of identity. Her collages show portraits of her parents, which have been digitally edited and supplemented by various layers. In support of the title, which is derived from a short story from the Indian author Amrita Pritam, floral elements are embedded. For example an orchid, which as an originally wild plant, is now used in a domestic context and has thus been torn from its original environment. The works are complemented by textile hangings, which seem to reveal a curtain-like view of the personal photographs. Another addition; a clothing stamp added by the artist as an objet trouvé, refers to a time in the past, the process of finding it and the current contextual embedment. Thus, the dualism of past and present, which distinctly influences the artist’s work, is taken up again. Before she dealt with collages, she dedicated herself to painting. Ossef regards this process as a personal development in her artistic work as well as in her approach to the theme of identity. Through reflections, partly on the past, partly on the present, moments of the past are absorbed, reflecting in her oeuvre. She states: “As soon as one’s environment changes, the identity changes as well.”

© Lara Müller