︎ back

The Sultan Gallery is proud to present 'Graduation Ceremony', a sixth career solo exhibition by visual artist Aseel AlYaqoub.

From March 7th to April 28th, The Sultan Gallery will be exhibiting a selection of minimal, military-inspired works by Aseel AlYaqoub in their new first-floor gallery space. Marking AlYaqoub's sixth career solo exhibition and the second with The Sultan Gallery, 'Graduation Ceremony' is the latest series presenting the artist's deep dive into Kuwait’s military institution.

AlYaqoub's research-based art practice is concerned with themes of history, colonialism, and nationhood. Her work questions the universal specifications used for nation-building, from the structuring processes of national identity to government programs such as military conscription and visual propaganda. She mines historical material for her pieces, with a particular, personal focus on Kuwait, and uses satire as a thread through most of her conceptual works.

Using Joseph Massad's book "Colonial Effects" (2001) as a lens, the artist delves into Kuwait's military genealogy to uncover whether its symbols and traditions are nationally born or inherited from colonial legacies. AlYaqoub recontextualises her research through a range of witty works in varying mediums and styles, questioning whether Kuwait's national culture–born out of the military–is not so much 'traditional' as it is 'traditionalised'.

For the past five years, AlYaqoub has analysed found footage of military demonstrations and annual graduation ceremonies set in Kuwait and the Arab World. The performances recall a history of theatre-making, often amidst extravagant sets mimicking local architecture. Additionally, the recognisable traditions adopted from colonial cultural products are made apparent, such as British fanfare instruments and music. However, since their inception, the invented traditions have had little to no change, as proven in today's annual military re-enactments. 

Graduation Ceremony examines Kuwait's military spectacle and its constant embodiment of nationalism. The exhibition sheds light on how the independent nation-state reappropriates the same colonial apparatuses that once governed it. The artist's research is brought into the physical realm through drawings, sculptures, video and photography to discern why the creation of national icons and the processes informed by them continue to follow imperial prescriptions.
Graduation Ceremony
March 7 - April 28, 2022     
The Sultan Gallery, Kuwait

Wesbite: www.sultangallery.com
email: sultangallery@sadeer.com
Instagram: @sultangallery

ⓒ Aseel AlYaqoub, 2022