Azza Zein

PhD Economics
MFA Fine Arts  


I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which I work, and live, the Boonwurung, and Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. I pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Fractured Hairline (2020)

Video published in “Against Social Distancing” Newsletter, Institute of Postcolonial Studies, Melbourne, 2020

Fractured Hairline is part of Azza Zein’s continued research into ways to revalue invisible labour and care through the materiality of domestic space. Zein’s practice locates the displaced or migrant entity – be it human or non-human – as a by-product of economic conditions. The intimate presence of hair all around her apartment during the lockdown drew her attention to the material. Hair, in all its forms, resembled the invisible condition of a mother and a migrant.

The video constructs a ficto-narrative around hair as residue of domestic work. The recited text draws on literary approaches to hair and residue. Dissolving the dichotomy between the ‘material’ and the ‘symbolic’, the writing draws on Franz Kafka’s The Cares of a Family Man and Salman Rushdie’s The Prophet’s Hair. While inspired by the Arabic storytelling tradition and miniature painting aesthetics, the fast cuts and reading echo the interrupted tempo of contemporary parenting and multitasking against the slow temporality of care.