Once a humble coastal town surrounded by a gated wall, Kuwait is now a sprawling metropolis, meandering between oil fields, sea and desert. Ushering its transition towards modernity, a series of acquired Master Plans transformed Kuwait's physical and social environment. The plan called for the demolition of old Kuwait to pave way for a new state capital. Today only five gates remain and have recently been revived as monuments of a recent past. They are considered to be heritage sites albeit being surrounded by highways and infrastructure.
Heritage Wall no. 6 stands freely, at an angle, in the middle of a white box gallery space. The corner is broken off and the interior of the wall and it's construction is exposed. Parts of the wood are stained to reflect on the nationally cheap methods to present affluence and to question the theatrical renovations of the original heritage walls. A handicapped chair leans against the authoritative structure, balancing a 'reserved' plaque on it's lap. It's weathered appearance, physical disfunction and dependence on the structure is a metaphor for social dependency and reconstructions of national collective history.
Propaganda on postage stamps is of a more subdued and discreet nature than that exhibited by other media and it has been given surprisingly little attention. Yet the fact that postage stamp is widely circulated and that it does not have an obvious message enhances its peculiar effectiveness. The stamp itself is ideal propaganda. It goes from hand to hand and town to town; it reaches the farthest corners and provinces of a country and even the farthest countries of the world. It is a symbol of the nation from which the stamp is mailed, a vivid expression of that country's culture and civilization and of its ideas and ideas.
In 'Culture Fair' I collected and hunted for postage stamps in the peak of Kuwait's modernity era. I dissected and reassembled the layers, destroying the national artifact and image with my own narrative. I then redisplayed them as museum or cultural artifacts usually found in culture or world fairs. The magnifying domes expands the collages turning them into meaningful objects.
Sooner or Later
1950’s Magnavox radio, green shelf, authentic orchard ladder, a leaking inflatable pool, 2 blue buckets, water, electrical cord, power, white noise.
In Sooner or Later an inflatable and colorful pool is halfway filled with water, symbolising a 'pessoptimist' nation. It is pierced with a small hole and leaks slowly but gradually creating a meandering puddle around it. Inside the pool are two blue buckets precariously forced down by a handmade, stained ladder. The ladder was based off of handpicking orchard ladders used to pick dates or fruits. The ladder leads to a green shelf that formally reflects the hazardous green ring of the pool below. It supports a 1950's Magnavox radio a metaphor for state power and control. The white noise emitted undulates in tone and volume, creating a subtle but frustrating experience around the piece. It tests the flight or fight mechanism of the viewer and the sense of relief is only experienced when leaving the room. The radio's power is sourced from an outlet in the ceiling that is unreachable. It's electrical presence over water adds a dangerous sensation.
Sooner or Later questions collective cooperation in a nation that strictly infuses patriotism using archaic methods of propaganda. The social hierarchy is proposed both in it's formal figurative appearance and sensual experience. It is a metaphorical representation of the artist's experience of Kuwait's society both in it's seductive and restrictive qualities.
Photographing is prohibited without manager persmission
18" x 12"
Allah Ya Kuwait
Still image (Embargo), black marker, gold leaf frame