The ‘Class of Chairs’ is a satirical commentary on the stereotypical characters found within school life. The school culture in Kuwait is relatable to Hollywood’s pop-cultural representation of the high school hierarchy and social groups found in playgrounds and classrooms.
The collection of chairs is a literal adaptation of the different student typecasts found in international and public schools fin Kuwait. Each chair represents an individual high school persona, where the character’s attributes are translated in the design aspect of its material and functional use.
The template of each chair was based on the classical 1950’s European school chair in which different manufacturing processes were used to materialistically translate the different student characteristics. The Class of Chairs attempts to evoke nostalgic scenes of past high school memories to create a relatable experience for the viewer.
اللبيب من الاشارة يفهم
<Al-Labeeb min ilishara yafhamu>
An Arab proverb meaning : ‘He who is smart understands hand gestures’
Hand gestures are a world phenomenon and is the common basis of communication in a lot of languages around the globe. The Italians are famous for their hand gesture expressions, Kuwaiti hand gestures is as diverse and funny as the Italians.
Living in a globalized market with all its generic influences Kuwaiti culture is fading away quickly. Reviving it from its unspoken language in a funny and witty way through simple diagrams and imagery makes it possible for anyone to learn and express themselves in Kuwaiti. These gestures are usually common phrases, mockery teases, vicious threats and hair-raising curses used on a daily basis between the Kuwaiti people.
Reproducing these diagrams and images with simplified explanations of the hand gestures on t-shirts was a start. This was done in collaboration with a Kuwaiti brand ‘Local Tees’. Hopefully once all gestures are catalogued a comprehensive dictionary for the unspoken Kuwaiti language will come to fruition.
Ramadan is the most spiritual time of the year for any Muslim. Islamic societies from different stretches of the world celebrate it differently, be it before its arrival, during and after its departure. Its a whole festive season revolving and concentrating on the celebration of food and life with a focus on being content and thankful to Allah. The exciting thing about it is that there are certain customs and recipes that are only exclusive to this holy month. Another factor is that Ramadan doesn’t follow the solar Christian year which is seasonal but is based upon the lunar year giving a different layer to the variety of fruits, vegetables and foods available. Turning this into a whole educational experience via food, ceramics and history into a story telling exhibition of how it is celebrated around the world, would tie the common grounds between different cultures and societies.
Here in Kuwait, Ramadan is certainly celebrated with grand style, in 6 different methods;
Qureesh – Exclusive to the GCC countries, is a celebration of the coming of Ramadan, where friends and family members gather and feast before the ʻfoodlessʼ 30 days.
*Fitar – The breaking of fast, and the biggest feast of all. This is the main practice for all Muslims around the world during Ramadan. The whole meaning behind fasting from sunrise to sunset is to be ever grateful for all the good in life and be compassionate and charitable to the poor. (different from country to country)
*Suhoor – The ʻtasbeeraʼ (crave-stopper) to keep you functional for the whole day while fasting. (different from country to country)
Ghabga – Also exclusive to the GCC countries, this takes place as a buffer feast between Fitar and the Suhoor. Its more occurrent in female gatherings than to male gatherings, where certain members rotate on who will be responsible to attain and prepare the food.
Gergaian – ʻTrick or treatʼ for kids, usually on the 13th, 14th and 15th night of Ramadan. Sweets and coins are given out as a treat to the small ones. (celebrated differently from country to country). The kids dress in folkloric attire and perform singing different songs to gain extra scoops of goodies.
*Eid Alfitr – The closure of the holiest 30 days of the lunar year, is celebrated with charity by the obligatory Zakat which is 2.5% of your total wealth or for whoever canʼt provide that, food would be donated to the responsible organizations. Breakfast or Lunch becomes the big feast coining the departure of Ramadan.
In our modern day globalized world, re-interpreting, documenting and cross-referencing the ceramics, recipes, rituals, and utensils used in this certain time of year would unfold all the layers that are hidden between them and connect the similar threads that will be exposed when the whole picture is laid out. This then could transform and mould a newer meaning to how we can celebrate and embrace Ramadan.
There is a booming market for film posters today. These posters are famed for their dramatic use of iconic imagery and typologies created specifically for them, pulling reference from the film itself that made it popular.
Film memorabilia began with such things as scrap-books, autographs, photographs, and industry magazines, but quickly expanded in the post-World War II era and collectors began seeking out original advertising material, and the classic “one sheet” [27 inches by 40 inches (686x1020mm), portrait format film poster] became the pinnacle object to own for any given film.* With time, what was originally intended for the sole purpose of boosting movie ticket sales became an object of interest in and of themselves. In other words, the means by which one art was promoted gradually became an art in its own right.Recently, a newer generation of re-imagined movie posters have surfaced. They are referred to as “remixed” posters where the content of the original is altered to convey political or comedic messages. As these posters represent imagery and references that have been ingrained in the public psyche, artists have found an outlet by which to reach both the art connoisseur and members of the general public for which the original film poster was intended. As a result, the artist gains a much louder voice and delivers a message easily digested by a very wide audience utilizing the standard dimension of the classic “one sheet.”.
This adaptation of past and present pop culture icons within the Arab World has taken on many forms. Icons of Arabia such as Om Kulthoum, Feyrouz, and Abdel Haleem Hafeth have been repeatedly used as the icon celebrity or the motif in this new art trend. Furthermore, as comparisons between Arab pop icons and their international Western counterparts have always existed, merging the two was a natural extension of remixing iconic movie posters. For instance Arabian screen vixen Hind Rostom can easily be seen in a classic Marilyn Monroe pose. In other instances it is a visual interpretation of some conspiracy theories behind famed rumors or distinct similarities between the movie actor’s names, features, attributes and title of the movie.
Whatever form these remixed posters take, whether the message is political, social commentary, or simply comedic in nature, there is no denying its far reach and great
This work is an installation depicting the tales of Kuwaiti mythological characters, first through a modernized mechanical puppet box (diorama) and second by an interpretational poetic storyline in Arabic and English.
This work is a personal perspective of these myths, which are part of Kuwait’s oral history. The story of one character, “Um is-sa’af willeaf,” is told through the puppet’s movements, recreating a short scene exemplifying the character’s dark comedic roles as ever present in local, household drama.
*This will be developed into a series of diorama’s and pop-up printed story-books derived from the abundant wealth of mythological characters present in Kuwaiti culture.
MiMa’s focus is experimental, its first attempt in “عتيج الصوف ولا يديد البريسم؟” touches upon the popular and traditional Kuwaiti vocabulary. Kuwaiti culture is heavily armed with vocal caliber and bold phonetics, the aim is to expose and portray its quirky, funny and dark side. Moreover, Arabic already has a heavy focus on expressions; from poetry (shi’er) to proses (nather ) and the Holy Qur’an, the vocalization of the words is visualized through the masterful strokes of calligraphy.Calligraphy for the Arabic word has usually been tasteful visually, depicting love, beauty or religious banners. After a long history of limiting specified words that hold the integrity to be stroked into an art piece, breaking the rule makes it interesting. Juxtaposing the rigor and dry rules of Arabic calligraphy to embody often used words from daily informal conversations produces a new relationship to what calligraphy is usually understood by. Some of the words and proverbs chosen in the exhibition are sugar-coated, yet have hidden insults or aggressive connotations.
Reproducing Arabic calligraphy digitally lessens from the whole aspect of its labor-intensive quality usually associated with the process, which compliments the content of the words being used in the exhibition. Modernizing the layout and composition of the letters and words relationship to each other by collage, imitations of silk-screening (layering), repetitions and transparencies provides a richer base to showcase the word. A literal translation from word to image was imperative in order to illustrate an amusing side of Kuwaiti conversation.
*Working on to expand on other words used in different cultures within the region.