An outstretched hand reached for my child's cheek. It was gloved. Her face and body hidden behind a black abaya and veil. As the sun caught her face, I could see her smiling eyes. She was speaking to my 5 month old in Arabic, touching his fat cheeks and pudgy hands. Amongst the words, I noticed one phrase she repeated;
We began to talk (in English) and I asked her what it meant. She explained that every time she gave my baby a compliment, she warded off the evil eye by saying Masha'Allah. She said it was the verbal version of this, as she reached down to her handbag, revealing a small evil eye amulet dangling from the strap.
This was my first day on my own in Saudi Arabia. This was my first talk with a local person. This was one of my most special memories of living here. Even though our aesthetics were so different, me in shorts and T-shirt (in a compound) and her completely hidden, she was a mum , just like me, out for a walk, and enjoying some quiet time while her kids were at school.
I loved the sentiment behind Masha'Allah, the verbal version of an Evil Eye talisman or amulet and I adopted it quickly into my cultural collection. But being a new mum, I wasn't wearing jewelry because I'd accidentally scratch my baby, or it would break easily. but I'm keen to keep bad juju away and I'm all for collective good vibes, so I created this artwork!
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Love and Palm Trees,