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A WHITE ASYLUM - NAJEEBAH AL-GHADBAN

October 26, 2014

Najeebah Al Ghadban‘s first solo show A White Asylum, featuring a body of collage and assemblage works that developed from the artist’s continuous exploration of the human psyche. This series of portraits depicts the vulnerability of human emotions, in sculptural and photographic detail, utilizing shadows and industrial tools to emphasize the discordance between expressions of heart and entrapment of mind.

The ‘white’ of the asylum, measures the space of existence: the white light of the hereafter, or the white walls of the now. The ‘asylum’ holds the faces, the bodies, the hands, the scenes: the loveless lovers, the modern mythic battles, the liars and the cheats, the violent, but most significantly, the alone. Whether the nameless of the asylum are confined to the id of one mind, or whether they are united simply by the archetype of their disfunction, is for the viewer to decide.


The series began in February 2013 and all of the original collages were fleeting -with no glue – just scissors, x-acto blades and an iPhone camera. The resulting images were immediately published exclusively on Instagram, in order to engage with the public. The series now includes over 200 portraits. Starting in March 2014, the portraits have been preserved in their physical state within white shadow boxes. In addition, the first volume of the A White Asylum artist book was released in December 2013, and included 13 portraits and accompanying prose. Its 240 pages revealed intimate insights into each character’s mind through both text and design. Going forward, A White Asylum will extend to include sculptural forms, performance art, motion graphics and video.

THE ARTIST

Najeebah Al-Ghadban is a designer and collage-artist from Kuwait, currently residing in New York City. She received an MFA and BFA degree in Design from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Currently she is a designer for the Special Projects department at the New York Times Magazine.( Previously a full-time designer at Abrams working on covers and interior layouts for a back-list of fashion, art, cooking, craft, and design books, among many others.)

Najeebah’s design clients have included  HarperCollins, Little Brown, Broadway Books, Penguin Random House, Atlantic Records, The American Academy of Poets, Sagmeister and Walsh, StudioWorks, Mary Review, and Abrams Kids.

Select work has been published and featured in Typographic Universe by Steven Heller and Gail Andersen, Process by Richard and Judith Wilde, and The Education of a Graphic Designer by Steven Heller.

She has also been featured in the following trade publications including: Kolaj magazine (print),Design Envy (online), and Print (online, 123).

Her work has been recognized by the Type Director’s Club, Graphis (123), Adobe, andAIGA (vimeo). 

As a collage illustrator, Najeebah explores mixed media in a range of art-series. “A White Asylum” explores the human psyche utilizing photography, shadow-play, and industrial objects. In October 2014, a 50-piece installation featuring collages from A White Asylum was exhibited at the Contemporary Art Platform in Kuwait with several pieces sold. One piece from the collection was also on exhibit at the Art-Expo New York in 2015. “Songes” is a second collage series that interplays between body and redaction through ink. Several pieces are for sale at potatomike.com. Najeebah also has a collection of collage-explorations with paper, string, and animation, that include a slow but wistful introduction of color. Please contact her (below) for inquiries regarding commissions. 

Her collage work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Book Review, Sunday Review, The Baffler, Mary Review, and Lenny Letter, amongs others.