MAHMOUD OBAIDI: THE REPLACEMENT
11 March – 1 May 2014
The Meem Gallery will present Mahmoud Obaidi’s first solo exhibition in the United Arab Emirates, The Replacement, which explores the subject of political propaganda through different modes of communication and imagery. The exhibition presents over thirty works that span a range of media including sculpture, silkscreen prints and video art.
From the information provided by the gallery: “In 2003, a storage container was discovered in an unknown location in the Middle East. Stored inside were numerous boxes that held the political campaign material (believed to date from 1979 to 1983) of a now unknown man. The contents caught the eye of an art collector based in North America, who purchased the collection in an agreement that prevented him from displaying the items publicly until 2014. Last year, through a mutual friend, the collector contacted Mahmoud Obaidi so they could collaborate on an exhibition project that would recreate many of the items uncovered in 2003. The Replacement is the result of this collaboration.
With his head held high, the seemingly indomitable figure of this political ‘leader’ is repeatedly reproduced by Obaidi in campaign posters, postage stamps, banknotes and press coverage. In one work, his head is presented in a roundel, reminiscent of the ancient Roman tradition, under which foliage and a bright sun shines over a modern city. Here, he takes on an almost god-like status, reigning over and protecting his people and nation. Through this imagery, Obaidi reflects on the way in which visual material can be used to manipulate the masses in an individual’s quest for power and authority. With regard to his artistic practice, Obaidi notes that ‘Information is bigger and more important than the object and the intellectual product is the whole process.’
Mahmoud Obaidi, born in 1966 in Baghdad, is an Iraqi-Canadian contemporary artist. After leaving Iraq in 1991, he obtained his Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Guelph in Canada, and completed diplomas in New Media and Film in Toronto and Los Angeles. Since his first international solo exhibition in 1995, his work has been exhibited in a number of museums and galleries around the world, including the Musée de l’Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Musée d’Art Contemporain, De Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec; Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Texas; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Islamic Art, Doha; Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman; and National Museum of Bahrain, Manama, among others. His work is part of the permanent collection of a number of significant museums, foundations and private collections.”
Chairman – Sultan bin Sooud Al Qassemi
Partner – Mishal Hamed Kanoo