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Baba & Mami (2015-2019)

Created in 2015, exhibited at Riwaq Gallery, The National Museum of Bahrain & The Venice Biennale in 2019

 

This installation is an extension of my recent work, which surveys the dichotomies of mortality, gender and identity. I mirror my theoretical queries of juxtaposing concepts with aesthetic experimentation into the duality of black and white; night and day; the past and untold future.

 

Bahrain is known as The Pearl of the Gulf.

 

In this piece, Baba & Mami, which means Father & Mother, I pay homage to my family’s heritage and history by taking a page out of the story of my grandfather’s arrival to the shores of Bahrain many decades ago. My grandfather, a pearl merchant, made this country his home. As a reflection of this voyage, I erected two sails, made out of THOBES and ABAYAS collected from members of my family.

 

This piece is truly iconic.

 

The male/white sail has glistening silver triangles that reflect the scales of a fish and is adorned with pearl like beads around the collar and the pockets of the the THOBES. While the female/black sail has glistening gold, half circle flaps that flutter with the wind again echoing a fish.

 

Both sails have multiple eyelets that function as wind vent holes to help reduce wind loading. The eyelets on the female/black sail are hidden behind the golden flaps which makes them flutter with the wind and makes them feel alive and mesmerizing.

 

My sails stand tall on barren land, the land that has been reclaimed and has swallowed the vestiges of the past. By these means, I convey a nostalgic salutation to the past and an idealistic gaze towards the future. Although my metaphorical and invisible vessel has drowned, it will, through the strength of family bonds and pride in our histories, sail onwards to an ordained greatness I romanticize.

at The National Museum of Bahrain
at The Bahrain National Museum
at The Venice Biennale
at The Venice Biennale
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