The notion of how structure and growth stem from undirected processes drew me to test microbial colonies at RISD’s Nature Lab. These species expand and grow with the potential ability to communicate and reproduce by the billions from a single a cell instigating a process of colonization seemingly protecting and demarcating. When further magnified, you can see glimpses of a complex cosmos, both stirring and revivifying human imagination. Observing these morphologies of colony growth is an intentional inquiry to understand if such a thesis could link to human territories and divisions. As nature defines it, we are embodiment within embodiments, shuffling in time and space through inherit systems forming clusters that govern our own worlds. Social behaviors are cultivated and institutionalized to subject order in human society and such configuration has resulted in social groupings for survival, protection and valued differences. We have drawn visible and invisible boundaries in sociological spaces constricting our sense of individuality. But how do we navigate our current understanding if even on a micro scale divisions are potentially the inexorable archetype? The question of belonging seems pertinent no matter the scale and emphasizes the need to constantly struggle to understand the myriad of social behaviors, stigmas and human persistence and preservation.
Zahra Jewanjee is a Pakistan-born Dubai-based artist and art educator who graduated from The National College of Arts in 2008. She is a recipient of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Emerging Artists Fellowship, Abu Dhabi. Zahra is currently perusing her MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design.