Owning and moving

I’ve just thrown away most of my old notebooks. Strange to think that the photos of marginalia are all I have left of them, though not nearly so strange as how I feel about letting them go. I expected to feel so much more – I mean, I’d kept them for years (some for over… Read More Owning and moving

Visual art, Writing

Drawing vs. Writing

Writing is not conscious of letterforms, as long as the words are legible. (I don’t imagine the look of words before writing them down.) Drawing is full of conscious deliberation. Each line must be attended to; also the relationships of parts, the harmony of the whole. (Mentally I mark the page before setting down ink.)… Read More Drawing vs. Writing

Artwork, Multicultural issues, Writing


A few hours after posting about a feeling of resonance I’ve been missing from stories, I realized: I know a term for that! The word is ترحيل (tarhiil), which is Arabic and has dictionary definitions of ‘expulsion’, ‘transference’ and ‘resettlement’. I first came across it in in the context of Middle Eastern music, where it… Read More Transference

Artwork, Visual art


A lot of people have wondered if my ink drawings have been influenced by mehendi. I can’t say it’s ever been deliberate, though perhaps it’s been floating around on an unconscious level since mehendi has always been a regular feature of celebrations in my maternal family. (Though I was never particularly fond of wearing it;… Read More Mehendi

Academic/Museums, Astrolabe research

Present Astrolabes

Some context: For my MA thesis, I wanted to explore the significance of the ancient Egyptian sistrum in the context of a certain museum exhibition. But when I approached my potential adviser about working on “this musical instrument”, he stopped me: “These objects have been silent for centuries; now they are behind glass and people look at them like… Read More Present Astrolabes

Artwork, Visual art

Leto’s Passion

Based on the first book in the Destain series by Ari Lessiers. This drawing doesn’t illustrate a particular scene in the book, but rather portrays my take on the relationship between the two main characters.

Academic/Museums, Astrolabe research

Mathematical Relationships

Al-Biruni (10th/11th century) illustrates diameters and radii, chords and sagittas. The fact that my work on astrolabes emphasises their artistic, symbolic, spiritual and sociopolitical aspects leads some people to assume that I have little regard for the mathematics, astronomy, geography and engineering behind them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even as I am interested in astrolabes as art, to properly explore this requires me… Read More Mathematical Relationships



An experiment with coloured accents in marginalia. I like how it came out here, but colour imposes new factors to think about in the drawing process that impede satisfactory improvisation. But it may make an appearance again in standalone works (where planning is part of the game). Part of my weekly Marginalia series.