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Art in Kuwait highlighted by The Economist

I was just checking the blog ArtKuwait when I found out that there was an article on Art in Kuwait yesterday in The Economist. Turns out there is an artist who currently has his work exhibited on four billboards in Hawalli (who would have thought) and they’re going to be up there until the end of the month (check pic above). Here are some excerpts from the article:

ABOVE a busy roundabout in Hawalli, a suburb of Kuwait, loom four giant but subtle photographs about Arab identity and placelessness by Tarek Al-Ghoussein. A Palestinian photographer originally from Kuwait, Mr Al-Ghoussein has exhibited widely, but this is the first time his work has been seen in the country of his birth. Kuwaitis and Palestinians have a chequered past. Decades of relative harmony between the two peoples were soured when Yasser Arafat, as head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, applauded Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Since then, the Palestinian population in Kuwait has dwindled from nearly half a million to around 40,000.

Mr Al-Ghoussein’s billboards will be on view in Kuwait until the end of April. They are the second instalment in a series of four art projects by Palestinians that includes Khalil Rabah, Jack Persekian and Tarek Atoui. Instigated and underwritten by Rana Sadik, a collector and philanthropist of Palestinian descent, the series is arranged to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Kuwait’s independence and the 20th anniversary of its liberation from Iraq.

“The billboards are a way to remind people on both sides of the positive historical relationship between Palestinians and Kuwaitis,” said Abdulaziz Al-Mulla, a board member of the Kuwait Graduates Society, an organisation of some 5,000 members. Interestingly, the artist’s father was Ambassador to America in the 1960s and instrumental in getting Kuwait into the United Nations. So it is apposite that Mr Al-Ghoussein’s photographs have been given such a cordial diplomatic role.

You can read the full article on The Economist [Here]

via ArtKuwait

15 replies on “Art in Kuwait highlighted by The Economist”

His father came from Palestine and was given a Kuwaiti citizenship for services to the state, they got it backwards

Agree with u J. It took me almost 30 seconds to recognize it. And probably would never recognize it if I was in Hawalli.

Thank you Mark for sharing!

When I saw this article early morning my first impulse was to go immediately in Hawalli to see it from real, but due the weather…

I think it is a best choice for the place because creates incredible contrast with the images on the billboard that give you feeling of open space, some kind of dream (check also the color of the sky: real and billboard) and when you see below, it’s just another world. In other place would be impossible or very difficult to reach this effect.

I drive in that roundabout every day and never noticed them up there! I will look in the morning when i go to work.

This is the second part of a four part series of art in public spaces in Kuwait. This has not been done before. Scratch the surface alittle and you will make the connection that prior to 1990, Hawalli was predominately populated by Palestinians. So it makes sense that this would be shown in that location. Careful thought was put into the images that were selected from Tarek’s portfolio. All the self-portraits have the subject holding a construction material. I think that Sarah Thorton’s description is correct, Tarek is a Palestinian from Kuwait, but now lives in Sharjah. This is also raised in the images: the question of identity. Its not everyday that The Economist covers arts and culture from Kuwait, clearly on an editorial level, they believe there is a real story to tell here. (Part one of the four exhibitions, titled Sa’fari, was Khalil Rabah’s United States of Palestine Airlines which showed from March 29-April 1, at the Kuwait Travel Fair, Mishref fair Grounds.)

Nabeel, can I update my post with your comment ? And how I can contact you ? I need some information about this project, for the first time I hear about the exhibition on 29th of March. Could you send me a message from the contact form on my blog, please. Thank you.

I think most Kuwaitis don’t like Palestinians bc of what happened during the invasion. It really left a sour note in their relations.

He is a great prof in the American University of Sharjah. He gives a lot of work but the students adore him because usually its creative and fun work. Ya7laila walla I actually saw the photo and immediatly realized his work! He’s had many exhibitions in the UAE. Never knew hes father was an Ambassador though, that is interesting.

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