muhawwil (transformer) by monira al qadiri

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I’ve always liked Monira Al Qadiri. Not solely for her talent but because she is humble and obsessive and laughs when she talks about her work. I didn’t know what to expect when I visited the Sultan Gallery last night to see Monira’s Muhawwil. And I’m so glad I didn’t, because I think the impact was so much stronger for it. So in a way, for those of you who do plan to go and see it, this might be a bit of a spoiler. The exhibition is on for two more nights at the Sultan Gallery from 6-9 pm.

This is the sort of exhibition that you have to spend a bit of time with. I was with this transformer last night and just sort of soaked it in. Only this morning as I looked through my photos did I realize that I have fallen in love with this Muhawwil. The figures and motifs on this power station are no longer static but infused with life and movement-albeit rudimental and a tad jerky. But that adds to the innocence of these murals. A naivete laced with sinister undertones. At least that’s how I see it. The exhibition itself is like walking into an eerie, urban Kuwaiti dream. There is something both haunting and mesmerizing about the moving images (don’t miss the reflections of these images on the gallery walls), superimposed with what I can only describe as an Islamic version of Gregorian chanting.

A big, fat hug to you, Monira, for allowing us to take an alternative look at an urban structure we’ve chosen to grow blind to. I am really going to enjoy looking out for these transformers now! And stop being so terrified of their message of impending doom.

from left to right: my brother tareq, monira and her mother veteran kuwaiti artist thuraya al baqsami

from left to right: my brother tareq, monira and her mother veteran kuwaiti artist thuraya al baqsami

as naive as these drawings are, there is something almost lewd about them. to stay true to the artwork reflected on these transformer shells, Monira hand-painted them keeping a keen eye on their anatomical/physical faults. some she even humorously described as wahabi cubism

as naive as these drawings are, there is something almost lewd about them. to stay true to the artwork reflected on these electric power stations, Monira hand-painted them keeping a keen eye on their anatomical/physical faults. some she even humorously described as wahabi cubism

qiyam il-lail. this is a mid-night prayer held at mosques in ramadan. you get tons and tons of points for performing this prayer, even if it means shirking your responsibilities the day after because you've been up all night. although i'm very cynical about these messages, monira partially created this piece as a whimsical homage to these suburban murals

on the transformer is written ‘qiyam il-lail’. this is a midnight prayer held at mosques in ramadan. you get tons and tons of points for performing this prayer, even if it means shirking your responsibilities the day after because you’ve been up all night praying. although i’m very cynical about these messages, monira partially created this piece as a whimsical homage to these suburban murals with a moral

The Sultan Gallery is located in South Sabhan, Block 8, Street 105, Building 168, tel: 2471-4325/26 ext. 111

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