Universes in Universe

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Monira Al Qadiri

Kuwaiti artist, born in Senegal, educated in Japan. Lives in Berlin, Germany.


Aluminium, iridescent automotive paint
450 x 470 x 490 cm

© Monira Al Qadiri 2021. Commissioned by Expo 2020 Dubai.
Expo 2020 Dubai Collection


This gigantic iridescent sculpture by Monira Al Qadiri is based on the shape of an oil drill. Because of its large size and reflective colour, it almost seems like a futuristic creature from outer space. Before the discovery of oil, for hundreds of years the economy of the Gulf coastline had been based on pearl diving. With pearl diving, pearl trading and the music of pearl divers, entire cultures were created around this precious object.

The title Chimera refers to a mythical or fictional being composed of parts taken from various other animals. Through this sculpture, the artist attempts to merge the pre- and post-oil eras into one body. She creates aesthetic connections between pearls and oil, through their colour, materiality, symbolism, ecology and economy, as a way of re-imagining the past, present and future of the wider Gulf region.

From information by Expo 2020 Dubai Public Art Programme.

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