Saudi initiative LOUD Art has partenered with Nuqat, a platform for connecting artists in the the Middle East, to put on an exhibition with the title ‘Executing Culture Shock’. Apparently the initiative is “aimed at challenging and examining the experience of cultural change and its effect on artists and designers.” The exhibition will be on until June 7 in Khobar.
Arabnews reports that the project featured a total of 37 collaborating artists. In the past, LOUD art exhibitions have featured artists such as:
- Yusef Al-Ahmed
- Ali Chaaban
- Khalid Zahid
- Tagreed Bagshi
- Mona Kishta
- Mohammad Sharaf
- Amina Al Abbasi
- Yousif AlShafei
- Aymen Zedani
- Zahar AlSayed
The artists showcased work which “reflected their ideas of the concept of culture shock in a wittingly, humorous, satirical, and positive attitude.” I haven’t been able to find a complete list of the artists in this exhibition but apparently some of them are new artists participating for the first time.
I think by now no one needs more commentary about the Gulf and the art boom and the museum boom and the whole “Gulf States of the Art” boom. But I was struck by the first sentence of this passage about LOUD Art from a 2012 exhibition, apparently intended to advertise it:
“As the Middle East is going through turmoil, Saudi Arabia is going through “turmoil” of its own; an immersing art scene. Saudi has deep creative roots that are finally being recognized globally. Saudi artist are now experimenting with new media, textures and concepts. This art show will immerse you in their experiments. This art show is LOUD.”
Here are some snapshots from the 2012 exhibition.
The name of the exhibition itself is a comment on the idea of culture shock, on globalization, on English as the language of Arab elites. But perhaps another way of putting the “culture shock” concept is to recognize that there has never been a pure essense to protect in the Gulf. For example, in 2013, there was this installation:
In the middle of the gallery floor sits a 2-meter by 2-meter installation by the daring duo, 19 year old Dalal Al Shaikh and Ghada Al Osaimi…The artist’s inspiration for this particular installation came after the realization that the beloved game of many GCC families past time was in fact not the product of the GCC, but India. The carrrom board is captioned with “If you don’t have a past you will not have a future” in Arabic, across the “Made in India,” label.