Sultan Gallery, Kuwait City, Kuwait, 2011
Arab Seasons, Institut du monde arabe, Paris, France 2012
In the Sufi poem by Farid Ud-Din Attar, The Conference of the Birds, hundreds of birds embark on a perilous journey across seven treacherous valleys in search of a king who can right the wrongs of their world.
The troubles that inspired their flight: ”Discontent, poverty, desperate fights over territory, water, food, poisoned air, unhappiness” are all too familiar in our world. Several nations in the Arab region have taken flight, while others remain under barbed wire. Throughout the region’s upheavals, a central cry rings out: “ The people want the downfall of the regime.” Out with the old… but in with what?
Two maps side by side; each of the Arab World, each with a different message.
The map of the Arab Fall interweaves imported jeans as a backdrop for the sad reality of an Arab world where imported fads and fast foods have replaced the timeless traditions and native delicacies. Iconic imagery, such as the flying elephant, serves as a reminder of all the inane slogans that have been forced upon generations of an incredulous citizenry across the region.
The map of the Arab Spring uses an antique rug for its foundation, representing the core values of the Arab culture that should be the bases of any new beginning. Like discarded political ideals, the rug is in a dilapidated state and in need of resurrection, yet the designers have embedded a sense of optimism and rejuvenation through a variety of visual icons, including a woman riding a horse on the path to a new and unknown world.
We capture the essence of this question in this exhibition. From the whimsical to the political, the intimate studies delineate the designers’ own flight through the Arab seasons and explore dimensions of an Arab identity.