LONDON: An upcoming artist from Saudi Arabia has revealed the results of his collaboration with a British counterpart, launching digital artwork that “seeks to recalibrate viewers’ perception of ‘the other’ culture.”
Riyadh-based Meshal Al-Obaidallah worked with artist Carolin Schnurrer to produce the work, called “FAREWELL ARABIA: A Bold New Vision,” as part of the Connect ME Digital Residency program run by the Arab British Centre.
The initiative pairs young artists from the Gulf with British counterparts to foster artistic collaboration, and to consider how digital tools can encourage connectivity across borders despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the program, the young artists received mentorship from prominent Saudi artist Manal Al-Dowayan.
The work by Al-Obaidallah and Schnurrer explores Saudi Arabia’s rapid development during the 20th century and how it changed society, as well as looking ahead at what the future might hold for the Kingdom.
“Through our exchange, we collected found footage, sound bites, quotes, symbols and other fragments,” said Al-Obaidallah.
“These re-appropriated fragments were processed, destroyed, accelerated, decelerated and rearranged,” he added, describing it as a “mishmash of fact and fiction.”
Eilidh Kennedy McLean, British Council country director for Saud Arabia, congratulated Al-Obaidallah on representing the Kingdom in the residency, saying: “It is an incredible, interesting time for artists to explore different mediums of collaborations to create and innovate despite the physical restrictions during COVID.”
Also selected to participate in the Connect ME program were Emirati artist Dina Khatib and British artist Ollie Cameron.
They collaborated to create a work that explores “how visualizing the unseen space between them could become a means for connection and exchange.”
All four artists and their mentor Al-Dowayan will host an online talk on March 3 to discuss the program and their creations in-depth.