CM: Magda Tammam's Skin belongs to a series of works made of Japanese paper. Unlike her other works in the series, which are representational, the present work is abstract. In the place representation Tammam uses an arabesque, which is mainly symbolic. As the Arab world forbids representation, visual artists invent different ways in which to express their thought. Originating from an Egyptian father and a Greek mother, Magda Tammam slips from the boundaries that separate the Greek and Egyptian culture and deals with the intermediate area between them. Her incentive is the redefinition of the traditional symbols in contemporary art. The arabesques, which the West regards as abstract designs, are important symbols in the Arab world. By the technique of intaglio Tamam prints the popular arabesque of the star with six rays. Having its rays radiating towards all directions, this star symbolizes unity and is therefore related to the skin that connects the different parts of the body.
With Skin Tammam refers to the surface covering the human body as the limit of oneself and of one's body with the world outside it. That is why Tammam believes that the skin plays a crucial role, which separates us from or joins us with the environment and those around us. Tammam uses organic materials both in appearance and texture. The present material is handmade cotton paper and the background is cotton canvas. The composition consists of four pieces of skin in various shapes and arranged in an asymmetrical but balanced manner. Each piece incorporates several layers of skin that are betrayed by the transparency of the paper at particular points. Tammam created the composition in such a way as to reveal different levels of paper, one above the other, as organic strata. The upper left part of the composition is executed with paper pulp. The pulp refers to abrasion of the human skin and is placed into a key position of the composition that balances the work. The arabesque is printed onto all the pieces of skin. And though it is usually acurately geometrical, the arabesque here appears to be worn in order to evoke the human quality of fragility.