01 Dec 2021
Prince Faisal bin Fahd Arts Hall
As our globalization efforts increase and begin to adopt new technologies and infrastructures, resulting in dramatic structural and cultural changes, we continue to learn, grow, and undergo rapid developments. As we move past western orientalist fantasies, the Arab region has morphed into reconstructed urban cities while looking for the balance between cultural homogeny and a holistic reconstruction of identity representation. In this sense, we have not told our full story yet, we are incomplete, ongoing, and the possibilities are endless. Prompting the question, are we still under construction?
The second annual Misk Art Grant theme, Under Construction, derives from the symbolic state of Arab society as emerging cultural hubs concerned with perspective. In particular, how identity is perceived as an emblem of growth, continuity, and endless iterations of cultural representations throughout history. Artists and designers from the Middle East and North Africa are invited to address the theme as a process of displacement, repetition, distortion, and incompleteness in a time of synthesis, understanding, and promise for the future. As we attempt to reconfigure our identity within the Arab world's diverse framework, how can you reconstruct the understanding of your identity to encompass the notion of being ongoing or ‘under construction’?
This year, the 10 grant recipients focused on the notion of Under Construction as a platform for their inventions. Reflecting on their experiences, they constructed their own understanding of the theme, harnessing the innovative and ongoing sense construction through documentary, nostalgic references, and traditional symbols and motifs.