The Chicken Nugget Alliance
Museum of Modern Art, Kuwait
Out of Kuwait Residency in collaboration with The British Council, The Contemporary Art Platform and The National Council of Arts & Letters (organized by artist Alia Farid)
The term 'Chicken Nugget' in Kuwait references a specific demographic that has received a Western education both in their lower and higher degree in local private schools and universities abroad. It is a derogatory term used by a majority to mock the groups' proficient use of the English language over their native tongue. The Chicken Nugget is a 'Western' construct mainly associated with the McDonald's food chain, hence its appropriation by the non-bilingual society to deride a contrasting minority.
Kuwait is a semi-democracy consisting of a government that is intrinsic to the ruling monarchy, and a parliament that is representing the people. The parliament chairs are dedicated to 11 districts that define the sectarian demography of Kuwait, from the Sunni/Shi'a to the Bedouin/Hathar population. With the parliamentary elections around the corner at the time, an online political campaign was initiated to perform on behalf of the unrepresented 'Chicken Nuggets'. The campaign used multiple social media outlets, however Facebook was the most successful due to its open forum interface and exclusive invitations. To join the 'Chicken Nugget Alliance' members were requested to fill out a basic questionnaire in order to examine their language skills and educational progress. Proposed policy reforms were aired on the wall feeds, advocating a westernized change.
By using the artist as the signifier for change, the project transformed into a satirical campaign pushing people to vote for her at the upcoming elections. In the performance video the artist proposes superficial adjustments, such as a national dance every Tuesday, and criticizes juvenile issues, i.e littering and excessive make-up on women. A series of campaign posters illustrates the artist in 'Chicken Nugget' scenarios, such as over-ordering at an obscure Thai restaurant in the city. Each poster carries a tag-line in Arabized English, a language that 'Chicken Nuggets' use when texting or chatting. During the exhibition, over 100 stickers of the alliance's logo was distributed to attendees, many of whom still have carry the emblem on their car or laptops. Unfortunately, the artist was underage at the time and couldn't run for the upcoming elections. The accepted age is 31 years old.