by Wafaa Abu Saadah
Bn3eed Nafsana is a project I started in 2013 during the peak of the so-called “Arab Spring.” I noticed how contemporary news titles were identical to those I found while flipping through a stack of my father’s vintage magazines from the 80s and 90s.
Throughout these years, it never became less shocking—whenever a major event happened in the world—to find a similar, and sometimes indistinguishable, news already documented in those magazines.
The purpose of the project is to document the repetition of events we live and witness, and to invite people to understand and analyze how history affects our life today. As George Santayana writes, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Bn3eed Nafsana recalls the old, unlearned lessons from history to emphasize the necessity of, first, pausing and recognizing those lessons and, second, to change our approach in order to get new outcomes. Moreover, it strips bare the fact that repetition of the same actions brings the same results. Seeing the same set of solutions causing more of the same issues over and over again calls us to let go of our compulsion, break the vicious cycle, and come up with new solutions using an unconventional mindset.
What makes it interesting visually, regardless of having different dates, names, and images, is that at first glance those news titles have the power to fiercely freeze time and throw you into an era where both times, the present and the past, seem to merge as one. Only a few seconds later can you get back to the sense of time where you are reliving the news and raising the same questions.
Wafaa Abu Saadah is a visual artist and designer originating from Jaffa, Palestine. Born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1992, she holds a BA in Graphic Design from Dar Alhekma University. Her work is driven by history and the desire to find new methods of visual expression and to fulfill her curiosity of learning distinctive practices. With endless possibilities to explore different topics and techniques, she keeps her process fluid far from all definitions and restrictions.