I serve, I expand, I merge, I chant (2022)This table is an invitation to look into the history of those who came before me and a “welcome” to the home I have created within myself. The legs of this table have been handed down to me by my parents. The six legs act as pillars, raising me into my current being. These legs are unchanged. They are traditional. They have a history. The tray is me. It is my language. It is my expression. It is who I am at this moment. It is something completely different from the legs it stands on. Its odd form, organic illustrations, and intense color appear otherworldly against the geometric wood carvings. The four angles of my birth chart form this table. Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces, and Gemini. Virgo is my identity, Sagittarius is my home, Pisces is my mirror, and Gemini is my highest form. Astrology is a language that guides me. It lives within me and everything else on this planet. Between every angle, Arabic etchings connect the signs. Starting at Virgo and ending in Gemini they say: “I serve, I expand, I merge, I chant.” The use of Arabic was essential to this piece. Arabic is the language spoken by my family. It is everywhere in my home. On the walls, within the bookshelves, in my ears, on my tongue. Within the center of this table is a cloud of chaos. Limbs stick out from all angles. A conflict is occurring. This central conflict is a reference to the etymology of my name and the mythology that inspires my work. In Arabic, Laila means “night” or “darkness.” In Greek mythology, Nyx is the Goddess of the night who is born from Chaos. Stars and spirals shoot out from the clouds, referencing rebirth, spirituality, hope, and the beginning of something new.