Aseel AlYaqoub (b.1986) was born and raised in Kuwait. She studied at the AA School of Architecture (London) and graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design with a BA in Interior and Spatial Design (London, 2009). After 4-years in the architecture industry, AlYaqoub pursued a Master in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute, specialising in sculpture (New York, 2015).
Her work is an inspection of the past and how it emerges into the present. Being born before the Gulf War and having experienced the Iraqi invasion as a child, AlYaqoub became fascinated with the rhetoric of a better time, specifically Kuwaits 'Golden Era' (circa 1950-1980) and pre-oil Kuwait. She uses nostalgia as an instrument for critical thought rather than the longing for the past that, in turn, allows her to investigate the invention and reinvention of heritage and tradition. After witnessing the deconstruction of the past's more liberal ideology and modern era, AlYaqoub became fascinated with Kuwait's chronicle as a nation-state. She uses her national identity as a case study for universal national structures in order to understand how and why national narratives transform. Using the names on her passport as a timeline for research, AlYaqoub jumps between different generations ranging from her great-grandfather (late 19th century) to her present.
The improvisational lines that make Kuwait's borders today ensued the rapid commencement of nation-building. Having a very short history as a nation-state, the hegemonic forces began to quickly infuse national and patriotic discourses into its narrative. Through rigorous investigation, AlYaqoub is gradually aligning her nation's historical markers and current pillars to present the propagated narratives that dramatise and fictionalise national identities.