October 15 - November 12, 2019
Curated by Tania Shammas
Halal Nights by Kuwaiti artist Mohammad Al-Hemd, envisions a scenario emerging from the blend of Middle Eastern culture with Western influences. He creates an inviting illusion coupled with charming objects that intrigue fascination yet stimulate underlying connotations.
Al-Hemd chooses the discotheque as an exaggerated setting, translated into a futuristic void through the process of Arabisation, to highlight ongoing transformations taking place within the local society. Imported goods and ideals adapted to complement the local setting and currently prevalent within the Kuwaiti market, are used and further manipulated to reflect predominant views and symbolic representations of the region.
On the surface, the pieces included in the exhibition have been elevated to an almost iconic status: a mythical representation created by a proposed harmonious collision of cultures. Further reflection presents an outcome where the functionality of both cultures is lost and we’re left with a tale of contemplation.
This juxtaposition, infused with the artists’ playful and calculated interpretation, creates a tension that poses two predominant questions:
To what extent should Western standards influence other societies? How does a nation modernise considering culture, tradition and religion?
Mohammad Al-Hemd is a Kuwaiti artist who earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado and a BA in Graphic Design from the American University of Kuwait. Al-Hemd’s keen interest in art fully manifested in his first solo exhibition entitled Indulgences: Reborn, where he challenged religious notions through installation, performance and visual direction. His work stems from the conceptual, transforming into elegant illusions, as he tackles controversial yet pressing current themes compelling his audience to reflect on contemporary ideas. He continues to push the boundaries of his work, evolving his artistic practice and scope.