Nada Abu Taleb

Artist Protection Fund Fellow
December 22, 2023–March 22, 2024
Artist, Sanaa, Yemen
Project title
“I See Them, My Little One”
Project description

In the last thirteen years, I have witnessed major conflicts that shattered my world. If I had one word to describe what it felt like, I would choose Apocalypse! Except that I didn’t feel like a legend! I’ve been frightened, confused, and broken.

In those dark times, literally and metaphorically, I looked for light to feel safe, to help me walk through what felt like a cramped, pitch-black tunnel, and to see myself again. One night, I picked pencil and paper and I painted. That’s when the light lit for the first time, and that’s when I realized that I wasn’t alone and that narrowness that’s been scraping my skin were huge shadowlike creatures that I had squeezed my little body through for all that time. I realized they had been there my whole life. It took me a while to wake up and see them.

“But if we are able to see our own shadow and can bear knowing about it, then a small part of the problem has already been solved…. The shadow is a living part of the personality and therefore wants to live with it in some form. It cannot be argued out of existence or rationalized into harmlessness.”

Inspired by Carl Jung’s archetype of the shadow, my residency at the American Academy in Rome will be an extension of my journey of self-exploring through revisiting past wounds and reconnecting with my inner child who had created the first shadow. This journey will be reflected through a series of multiple paintings titled “I See Them, My Little One.”