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Photographed in the desert around Fayoum, Anachrony (2010) is a series of mixed media images that depict anonymous human forms cocooned inside long, flowing drapes of fabric in a surrealist-inspired landscape of desert and mountains. Anachrony is a collaborative work, born out of a collective performance by artist Karima Mansour and Hammam’s teenage daughter, directed and photographed by Hammam herself. Draped in flowing fabric, the two dancers performed free and UN-choreographed moves in the Fayoum landscape. Nature itself dictates this performance. There is a sense of abandon and submission as the wind catches the fabric and creates the different shapes seen in the images. This is a ritual invocation of the feminine side of nature, that softer, nurturing dimension from which healing derives. For Hammam, art comes from the unexpected outcomes of human interactions: “Collaboration is the answer; it is all that stands between us and the void.”
The result is dream-like figures, or suspended states of being, caught inside the tightly wound skeins of cloth. At the beginning of the series, these figures are barely recognizable. But as the work progresses, and the nightmare recedes, the figures take on increasingly human forms. They sit in quiet desperation and yet they are not still. They crouch and strain, reaching out in the iconographic poses of prayer and supplication, pulling against the rocks that hold them back. The resulting forms suggest, at once, the protectiveness and claustrophobia of the cocoon. The figures are trapped at the point of asphyxiation. With almost no space between them and the fabric there is agonized movement inside a tightly confined space. It is a paradox: claustrophobia in a heavenly space. Beyond this veil of fabric there is the truth, but for now the fabric is suffocating and blinding.
In the silent world of Anachrony there is no struggle, no finality and no absolutes, only the timelessness of quietude and a sense of waiting.  A palette of pink and grey hues infuse the work, bathing the barren landscape and evoking that strange mixture of horror and relief that a dreamer might experience upon waking from a nightmare to the soft rays of dawn.
Anachrony is the artist’s response to an earlier series of photographic works, Metanoia, created in 2010.

 
 
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