Tahar – مرح

Tahar – 25 years old – chose the word مرح (pronounced “Marah” and meaning “joy” in Arabic).

Whatever problems he might face in life, the joy that his family and friends bring to him makes his life beautiful.
Here in the slum everyone knows each-other, people go round to other people’s houses all the time for tea and long chats in the shade.
The wooden shacks and sandy ground paved with plastic bags and all sorts of rubbish give a sad impression at first sight. But you quickly realise how joyful and alive this place is with all the social interaction going in.

Maryam – بارة

Maryam – 15 years old – chose the word بارة (pronounced « barah »).

There isn’t a word for it in English, but it means « gratefulness towards one’s parents ». Despite harsh living conditions in the slum, her parents have always done their best for her. Maryam wants to be a good daughter in return.

I painted the word in the squared kufic script, and chose not to paint the entire background. I love the look of these wooden barracks built with pallet wood, so I though I’d use them as a background.