drawing of small swirling white marks on black ground

Mary Ann Peters, "slipstream (by the light of the moon)," 2017; gouache and India ink on black clayboard; 4 x 10 ft

Mary Ann Peters

Artist Statement

My current work responds to Levantine diaspora histories, with a focus on the parallels between contemporary movements and those out of Greater Syria at the turn of the 20th century. Coupling research from photographic and historical archives in Lebanon, France, and Mexico with web-based observations, I find threads particular to cultures in a state of flux. I look for the minutiae in unauthorized pedestrian voices that can offset sanctioned accounts and daylight dismissed or degraded details that inform larger displacement topics. I use my perspective as a second generation Lebanese American, a vantage point that is at once personal and distanced, to visually interpret the information into drawings, paintings, and installations.


While at Headlands

I will be using my Headlands residency to reconsider a backlog of unused research notes that can inform my installation series titled “impossible monuments.” I identify “impossible monuments” as homages to undermined occurrences in migration records that deserve reverence but would not be elevated to the status of a monument. My hope is to glean the elements for a piece that would focus on the Syrian silk industry and a little known female-driven labor movement that occurred at the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Drawing is integral to how I build the conceptual framework for both 2D and 3D pieces and I would continue that approach while in residence. I’m imagining a benevolent mess that can coalesce into a usable, relevant narrative unfamiliar in most discussions of Arab history.