Never Never Land
Never Never Land
Where censorship is widespread, satire, parody, and political humor are often the best or only means available to air opinions, voice dissent, or challenge government institutions or officials. Mockery can destroy mystique, break tensions, and disarm seemingly omnipotent, oppressive powers. In countries like Saudi Arabia, where public protest is forbidden and political activism is curtailed, there is a fount of material which artists are tapping into with great success.
This project uses the quality of humour to test the potential of art as a critical instrument for the analysis of social, political and cultural issues. A response to an outburst of creative dissent in recent years, the project features a wealth of short films, animations, posters, installations and works that are at times witty, wry and sometimes hold dark observations on everyday life, while simultaneously offering insightful commentary on the absurdities of human relationships.
"Every Joke is a Tiny Revolution" - George Orwell
The Color Red is surprising
In all aspects of life on the passage of time and generations, whether for a man or women
The color red is power and tyranny
A symbol of love and romance & eroticism
The flash of anger and destruction
The video discusses the imbalance of Hijab culture. Sometimes the hidden and covered is attractive, sexy even. To cover your body from head to toe makes wanting to know what is under all of it exciting.
If you cover something, it becomes more sexy. If you cover just one finger and show the rest of the body naked, you want to try to see what’s on that one finger.
Sound Of Cardamom
Sound Of Cardamom
SOUND OF CARDAMOM - Sound installation 2016
From where did this sound come to wake me up?
I cannot distinguish or describe it?
Is it the sound of a worried night bird?
If the sound were coming from beneath me I would wonder if it was an insect. But it’s penetrating my ears from above, emerging out of the center of darkness. There is also a smell, which is no stranger to me, but the strength of it worries me.
Everyone else in the village is sleeping.
I'm not far from the source of this sound; is it the sound of the dark? Does darkness have a sound? Or is it the sound of the Jinn from the unseen world?
I'm trying to sleep, looking up at the stars; I’ve never seen them so close, completely encircling me.
Someone is hitting a door and yelling, “stop the musical instruments; prayer time is coming and this house is in sin”. The sound is still a buzzing or whistling …
I thought of singing along, but I'm afraid of the Jinn; been told that the Jinn likes to sing, but this sound that penetrates my head is less familiar than that.
Do I move my bed amongst the cattle? Perhaps their company would comfort me, and their voices give my ears relief from this beautiful, awful sound.
Morning prayer time is approaching; the Mosque Imam has stopped hitting the door, given up; not long after, the sound suddenly stops, and the severe smell spreads, filling out every space.
Since then, every night I wake up to hear that same sound, pushing away the voice of the night; then silence, and the resilient aromatic scent arrives again.
Years passed and the villagers became dependent on that daybreak sound, and the aroma became a symbol of this village. One day I woke up as usual but the sound was unexpectedly weak, yet the perfumed smell remained as strong as ever.
This mood lasted for nine days and then on the tenth day, I woke up in a panic; there was no sound and no smell. We knocked on the door of the unknown home but as usual, no one answered; this time we needed that sound, we wanted that smell.
Everyone in the village had become addicted to the recurring presence of the sound and smell, which resonated, from that place; for the first time breaking the door down was not to stop the sound, but to ask for more.
On breaking down the door, there we found the old, deaf women that used to sell basil; she had passed away with a handful of cardamom, which she crushed with a copper Mortar to flavor her coffee every dawn.
Piece of Paradise
Piece of Paradise
I visited al-Masjid an-Nabawi in the end of 2013 and have visited Al Rawdah many times since then, and I was attracted by the beauty of the place. I stood observing this holy place and I challenged myself to find domes that had identical. I enjoyed every detail of the artwork, so much so it was as if I was experiencing the emotional state of the artist as he drew them.
The architects preserved the decoration of the inside of the domes with landscape drawings of trees and flowers. The mosque had a unique, artistic decoration designed by very famous Islamic calligraphers – one of whom was the calligrapher Abdullah Zuhdi Afandi who spent three years ornamenting the roof, walls, and columns with elegant Thuluth calligraphy of Qur’anic verses and Islamic prayers.
Earlier in 2014, I started my photography project in order to capture all the domes and their paintings. I was lucky that no one else had attempted this before. I called my project “Rawdah min Riyad-ul-Jannah” (Piece of Paradise).
While executing my project, I started to discover the secrets behind the domes and how they preserved their beautiful colors that did not fade and were not affected by time. After in-depth research, I found out that these domes were painted once a year by a group of workers who worked like bees. I will continue this project by documenting the social life and multi-cultural artistic backgrounds of these people and the strategies behind their performance.
In recent days, the use of the title “Battle of the Camels” has become quite a common occurrence in mainstream media. It brought me to reminisce the link between the camels and the religious strife in that battle in Islamic history. It took place in the era of Uthman ibn Affan, the third Rashidun Caliph after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This battle was seen as the first Islamic civil war, also called the First Conflict between Sunnites and Shiites – one that prevails to this day.
The camel is considered the symbol of tourism in the Arab world, but today this symbol has become a controversial one of the Arab Spring. When I was watching the news channel one day, I was shocked to see revolutionaries riding raging camels and looking like barbarians as they brandished primitive weapons and shed blood.
I recalled the camels seen in touristic places – especially in Egypt – and how they were used to entertain the tourists and add some fun to the Arab ambience. It was then strange and ironic how camels were now being ridden in another context-by barbarians in Tahrir Square that violently forced the protestors to leave the area. One day during the days when the Egyptian revolution was being referred to as the “Battle of the Camels”, I was on my way to Makkah where I saw camels standing next to spring flowers in Ar-Rahmah Mountain at the edge of Mount Arafat (where pilgrims performing Hajj must spend an afternoon in the state of Ihram). I remembered when the Islamic conquests began with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), how he completely turned around people’s perception of the Islamic religion, and how these conquests were symbolized in the divine books with the camels.
When I saw these camels, I thought of the events taking place today in the political and social Arab landscape – what is called the Arab Spring and I was compelled to capture the symbolism through photography. Flowers symbolized the beginning of this Arab revolution that started in 2011. The call for democracy means the demand for freedom of thought as an essential ingredient to scientific and creative research, which is impossible to attain if there is no political understanding of its importance.
“We dreamed before of changing the world and now the world is changing us.”
The art works which are commenting on the situation and representation of women in Saudi’s official and religious society. In the work ‘Ya Tayba’ - Tayba another name for the holy city of Medina filmed tacky, automated children’s dolls, madein China, depicting westernized young females, yet customized for the Saudi market through added reciting of looped verses inciting listeners to visit Tayba in celebration of the Quran. Camp and critique at the same time.