Monira Al Qadiri and curator Amin Alsaden discuss her 2018 video Diver and their common interests in the global impact of extractive capitalism, from rapid modernization and armed conflict, to the engagement with and representations of oil-producing countries in the Arab world. The talk underlines the manner in which Al Qadiri’s artistic practice reveals complex intersections between our insatiable dependence on fossil fuels, the destruction of the environment and traditional ways of life, and the formation of modern individual and community identities.
Monira Al Qadiri is a Kuwaiti visual artist born in Senegal and educated in Japan. In 2010, she received a Ph.D. in inter-media art from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research was focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle-East stemming from poetry, music, art and religious practices. Her work explores unconventional gender identities, petro-cultures and their possible futures, as well as the legacies of corruption. She is currently based in Berlin.
She has held solo exhibitions at Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020), Kunstverein Gottingen, Gottingen (2019), The CIRCL Pavilion, Amsterdam (2018), Sursock Museum, Beirut (2017), Gasworks, London (2017), Stroom Den Haag, the Hague (2017), and Sultan Gallery, Kuwait (2014). Her participation in collective exhibitions includes: “Our World is Burning” Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2020), “Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars” MoMA PS1, New York (2019-20), Future Generation Art Prize, Kiev (2019), “Antikino” Berlinale Forum Expanded, Berlin (2019), Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane (2018), Lulea Biennial, Sweden (2018), Athens Biennial, Athens (2018), “Crude” Jameel Arts Center, Dubai (2018), among others.
Amin Alsaden is a curator, scholar, and educator whose work focuses on transnational exchanges of ideas and expertise across cultural boundaries. Currently the Nancy McCain and Bill Morneau Curatorial Fellow at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, his curatorial practice is committed to disseminating inclusive narratives that challenge existing canons and hegemonic epistemological and power structures. He is particularly interested in how artists and architects ponder collective experiences in the public realm, level political and institutional critique, and envision novel spatial responses to questions of belonging, displacement, and exile. His research — exemplified by a recently completed doctoral dissertation on post-WWII Baghdad, which investigates a crucible moment when the city became a locus of unprecedented encounters, contributing to the profound transformation of art and architecture globally while engendering unique local movements — explores modern and contemporary art and architecture in the Global South. His work often involves documenting endangered heritage and examining how precarious archives and scarce resources shape lopsided global narratives. Alsaden holds a PhD and an MA from Harvard University, an MArch from Princeton University, and a BArch from the American University of Sharjah. He has practiced as a designer at various international firms, such as OMA and MVRDV in the Netherlands, and has published and lectured widely.