Tag Archives: Salem
Art After War
Kuwait’s National Works at the 55th Venice Biennale
Author Noura Alsager and Thanks N.Hamad for sharing with us.
Under the patronage of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, Kuwait’s first pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale features the work of two acclaimed Kuwaiti artists: sculptor Sami Mohammed and visual artist and professor Tarek Al-Ghoussein. Through its focus on structures of grandeur, National Works examines the development of art and nation in Kuwait post-independence. Curated by Ala Younis, the pavilion also raises critical questions: how do buildings or sculptures convey grandeur? Is it about size or subject? And how do these structures interact with individuals?
Despite depictions of construction, much of National Works exposes the destruction of Kuwait. The Iraqi occupation of 1990 emerges as the second most important event in Kuwait’s history after independence in 1961. The Gulf War transformed such “symbols of grandeur” into symbols of resistance. Although formerly associated with newfound wealth and development, these structures have since borne the marks of lost power and aggression. From 1991 forward, “national” took on a new meaning.
On display for the first time outside of private grounds are Mohammed’s most notable works-the bronze sculptures of Kuwaiti emirs Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah (1972) and his brother Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah (1989) commissioned by local newspaper Al-Rai Al-Aam. In addition to the two sculptures, Al-Ghoussein debuts several photographs of Kuwaiti landmarks from his series, K Files, an ongoing project that merges family photographs and documents with a new set of works shot specifically for the 55th Venice Biennale.
At this pavilion, Mohammed’s works are displayed in parts. But though the sculptures are segmented, their unity remains in the pictures and stories that show their progression-from idea, blueprint, gypsum, and finally to bronze.
The shimmering figures are Kuwait’s first two emirs after its independence from Great Britain in 1961. Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem established the first constitution and decreed the first National Assembly. During the reign of Sheikh Sabah Al Salem, Kuwait instituted its first university and nationalised its oil sector. Miraculously, the sculptures survived the violence and looting of the Gulf War; but as the story goes, Iraqi forces hounded their maker to cast a statue of Saddam Hussein. For the seven months, he lived in hiding and grew a beard.
Al-Ghoussein’s photographs also self-portraits, taken at locations of significant national value. We see the artist amidst the shattered Salam Palace, beneath the curves of the National Assembly, at Abdullah Al Salem High School, hanging on a pier at the manmade island of Um Al Gaz, at the Nasr Sporting Club, sitting in the lower level of the Stock Exchange, and finally, at the Al-Rai Al-Aam headquarters where Mohammed’s statues for decades stood.
Most of these buildings were constructed during the 1960s and 1980s, and represent the country’s modern urban landscape. Many would also recognise them as iconic; for instance, Kuwait’s National Assembly signifies both political independence and an artistic vision. Overlooking the Gulf, its prominent curves give the impression of a tent-like structure. On the other hand, Salam Palace-the former residence of state guests-appears as a mansion of ghosts. Iraqi forces occupied the palace during the invasion, and after the war, left it completely defaced.
The photographs portray more than just grand twentieth century construction, however. With the presence of the artist in every frame, we notice the relationship between structure to individual. In the picture taken at Al Nasr Sporting Club for instance, Al-Ghoussein appears as a black speck, only visible in comparison to the vast rows of dull, empty bleachers.
The photographs also make us question the meaning behind the selection of structures. Why Al Nasr Sporting Club and not any other stadium? Where are the iconic, Aga Khan Award-winning Kuwait Towers? Are they too cliché? Do they lack the macabre quality of the broken Salam Palace?
On a micro level, National Works focuses on two disparate interpretations of what constitutes art, of what can pass as “national,” and of what we see as ‘grandeur’. The works exhibited belong to a time when structure was art, and when art was valued-articulating the schism between Kuwait post-independence and Kuwait post-war. After 1990, nationalism became the antithesis of invasion, liberation overshadowed independence, and the collective consciousness transformed into one that was marked by the effects of war and survival. Not only that, but Kuwait lost its place as an artistic hub in the Gulf. Salam Palace and Abdullah Al Salem High School symbolise more than grandeur, they also depict the way Kuwait has stood still since 1990.
Though the structures exhibited at the pavilion symbolise independence, modernity and progress, they more importantly illustrate a country’s reclaim to power. As survivors of war, they represent the struggle for liberation, a second independence, and a reinterpretation of “national.” In the end, National Works presents audiences with Kuwait’s national narrative from the start of its modernity and up to the present, all the while trying to contend with the aftermath of a two-decade-old war.
Kuwait Upto Date @ SmashBurger , Salmiya Branch.
Photographer : Usman Choudhry
Instagram : @usman_choudhry
Salem AlMubarak Street, Salmiya always have been favorite place of me due to lot of cafes and restaurant, plus every year Hala February event attaché the new unforgettable moments with same street.
Last week KUWAIT UPTO DATE was invited by SMASHBURGER (By Kayan Restaurant) on its opening of new branch on same road. So by this way I got one more reason to have walked of my favorite street. It is situated in corner of same building of SUBWAY, beside Block-2, Salem Al Mubarak Street, Salmiya, Kuwait.
I really have liked their tables setting under the awesome lights arrangement, 40 sets of tables are outside and almost 14 sets inside, due to its location there are two entries to keep the discipline in flow of customers.
Well my purpose was only to fulfill my promise to visit their branch but as I hold the MENU, It changed my mind and decided to place order J, The most interesting thing is what that their every branch all over the world has its own menu as per country, state, city and taste of people.
Hereby I would like to say thanks to Marketing Manager Jillian D.Marshall and C.E.O Mr. Khalid Hajjar for their time with me and they nicely explained that why should you come to SmashBurger
“The uniqueness of a Smashburger starts even before we get to the smashing, when we shape fresh 100% Certified Halal Angus Beef into plump meatballs.
When you place your order, we spring into action. We paint the grill with real butter and perfectly place the meatball. And when the moment is right – smash! (Point of interest: we invented the smashing tool ourselves and it’s so fresh it doesn’t even have a name yet. We just call it the smashing tool.)
We then add a dash of our secret spice blend while the smash caramelizes the beef, creating a sear that locks in the juices as no other cooking method can. The result is a burger that’s more tender and flavorful than anybody else’s.
Add the freshest toppings, flavorful sauces and a butter-toasted artisan bun, and the Smashburger is now a work of smashed-to-order perfection. That’s true whether you choose one of our signature creations or invent your very own, right on the spot.
Now that you know what goes into a Smashburger, you’ll understand why we need a couple minutes to bring it out. And why we say Smashburger is smashed fresh, served delicious!”
While interviewing with them, In next moment my food was in front of me, same time I finished the interview and attacked on my food
One group of Kuwaiti youth are planning to make a big human flag of Kuwait by wearing different colours (Red, Green, White and Black) and standing according to the pattern of flag.
So for this p
urpose they are looking for 5000 volunteers to build this flag. If you are interested to be a part of this flag, plz contact them on following numbers 55855950 / 55110897.
It will be held in Sabah Al Salem Stadium in Al-Mansouriah on 8th November 2012.