“Iklhass” constitutes a cluster of knitted objects hung from the ceiling, suspended in mid-air. Their shapes aspire toward abstraction and autonomy, yet they are doomed to the associative definitions that we, as viewers, enforce on them. The biggest object in the cluster, hanging in its midst, has the organic curves that could evoke a maritime creature or plant, even though it does not apply to any tight definition. The work is titled “Iklhass,” an Arabic word whose meaning varies according the context in which it appears. Most notably it is in the title of chapter 122 in the Quran, Sūrat al-Ikhlāṣ, where it translates as “purity of faith” and addresses the believer’s duty to worship Allah. It could also mean devotion in any number of contexts, whether towards others in the sense of a lengthy and difficult task that requires dedication and perseverance.
The dedication required by knitting is always accompanied by joy and excitement, arising with every loop added to the yarn which develops constantly, accruing as the work progresses. Hattab’s knitting does not follow a pre-existing plan but rather progresses intuitively, until the knitted object is complete. He works mainly with circular techniques, patterns that recall the cyclicality in nature in its many guises – conception and death, the succession of seasons and the many spiraled formations found in natural organisms. Knitting is a labor-intensive work which takes patience and perseverance, qualities that the artist practices on a daily basis, incorporating them into his daily routine.