November 20, 2020 - December 31, 2019


Cemetery of Banned Books: The Anniversary


While Kuwait was once seen as a regional enclave of intellectual freedom, it now struggles to be seen as such due to the unprecedented increase in book banning. On August 2018, the government acknowledged that it had banned more than 4,300 books since 2013.

Inspired by this recent literary massacre and as a sign of opposition to the banning of writings and the persecution of their authors, the Cemetery of Banned Books was a symbolic piece of protest and public art intervention. It was conceptualized and installed by Kuwaiti designer Mohammad Sharaf on the sidelines of Kuwait’s Annual Book Fair. This powerful installation includes more than 200 headstones inscribed with the names of some of the books that were banned by the government in recent years. These books vary from children’s books to encyclopedias, novels, political and religious books written by local and international authors.

The Cemetery of Banned Books was installed on Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 9am. It remained for three hours before it was removed by authorities.

This exhibition is a partial reconstruction of the original installation.

All proceeds from this exhibition will go towards charities dedicated to education.

Mohammad Sharaf is a Kuwaiti designer with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Graphic Design and an MFA in Design. The foundation of his work stems from principles in graphic design; where elements such as colour, composition, attention to detail and underlying messages, are brought together to create captivating and effective visual representations of his ideas. After working with various practices of design, Sharaf has come to specialize in creating visual identity systems and editorial design. In 2011 he started Visual Reactions, a series of works used to communicate his thoughts and initiate conversations on the rising issues in the Middle East. Another prominent work was a public art intervention in response to a list of banned books in Kuwait entitled Cemetery of Banned Books. Sharaf continues to expand in his use of mediums, creating elegant, powerful and thought-provoking visuals alongside themes that reflect on current society.

©2020 by Contemporary Art Platform.