Never Never Land | Group Exhibition | Opening Party: Fri 28 Nov, 2014
Abdullah Al Mutairi
Arwa Al Neami
Monira Al Qadiri
Where activism is curtailed, censorship is widespread and overt social critique is frowned upon, the rebellion inherent in humour is particularly valuable and powerful.
Never Never Land features short films, animations, photographs and installations from Abdullah Al Mutairi, Arwa Al Neami, Monira Al Qadiri, Foundland, Hasan Hujairi and Ahmed Mater. The exhibition, curated by Amal Khalaf and Stephen Stapleton, will present a new perspective on the region and takes its title from a work by Arwa Al Neami, shot in a theme park Mahrajan Abha in Abha, Saudi Arabia, which has a restrictive set of rules which forbids screaming and shouting on rides.
The works in the show subvert mass media formats and official communiqués such as music videos, game shows, advertisements, religious public service murals and pedagogical exercises as well as fashion and corporate branding. Here, preconceptions and stereotypes are challenged; and mainstream tropes are re-appropriated with both an irreverence and thoughtfulness.
Never Never Land reflects on a history of political satire in the region, an example being Kuwaiti satirical theatre produced in the decade after the oil boom of 1973, which heralded the beginning of the end of a period of strong Pan-Arab solidarity and political engagement. This ideological reversal was so swift that only humor could express the experience of simultaneous economic abundance and political enfeeblement. Forty years later, how do you stand down ubiquitous surveillance? In the contemporary moment of digital connectivity, with the high volume of images and videos in circulation, it has never been so fast to broadcast a joke (or a critique).
Arwa Al Neami Installation shot
Arwa Al Neami and Monira Al Qadiri Installation shot
Abdullah Al Mutairi Installation shot
Monira Al Qadiri, Foundland Collective and Ahmed Mater Installation shot
Foundland Collective, Hasan Hujairi and Ahmed Mater Installation shot
Hasan Hujairi and Ahmed Mater Installation shot
Outside facade of the gallery featuring window artwork by Monira Al Qadiri and Foundland Collective
Arwa Al Neami, Never Never Land, 2014
Monira Al Qadiri, Muhawwil (Transformer), 2014, 4-channel video installation with wooden structure and screens, 350 x 350 x 260 cm
Ahmed Mater, Yellow Cow Performance, Pigment Print, 140 x 210 cm
Abdullah Al Mutairi, _ic_KWT-YTH.flv [HD], 2013, Digital Video, 04:06
Abdullah Al Mutairi, AD - 4 !!!ربحت معانا, 2012, Digital Video (Still I), 00:33
Arwa Al Neami, Never Never Land II, 2014, Pigment Print, 75 x 112.5 cm
Arwa Al Neami, Never Never Land I, 2014, Pigment Print, 180 x 120 cm
Foundland, Destination Paradise, 2014, Print on Silk Satin, 100 x 100 cm
Foundland, Leaderless Revolt, 2014, Print on Rayon Viole, 100 x 100 cm
Foundland, Stateless Struggle, 2014, Print on Rayon Viole, 100 x 100 cm
Foundland, Unexpected Hero, 2014, Print on Rayon Viole, 100 x 100 cm