Updates from A.i.R Dubai 2014

The Morals of Eating - Maryam Al Qassimi

Maryam Al Qassimi has been exploring material and imagery from a diverse array of sources she found in the UAE – packages, shop signs and educational signage. Her fascination with repetition of certain cultural iconography and with portrayal of ‘vernacular’ and ‘culture’, motivated her to document and collect these materials over several years. Various inconsistencies in aesthetics and design as well as language errors she kept noticing in these images, moved the artist towards a long-term research project. Presented in the Open Studios, The Morals of Eating is part of this larger project. Through an ensemble of wallpaper and objects, Maryam investigates instructional narratives on behavior and etiquette in pedagogical tools, which covered the walls of her classroom as a child. The artist’s study of behavioral representation focuses on the act of eating during A.i.R Dubai.

Maryam de-contextualizes a figure – a child sipping water from a glass, from its original source, which is an educational sign. She then manipulates this found image and multiplies it to cover one walls of her studio. The intense pattern of the wallpaper invokes an exploration of image as text, in reference to the instructional tone of the work’s title. The Morals of Eating may slightly disturb viewers upon approaching the work, as the gaze of the figure is directed towards the onlooker. It also invites visitors to participate in the installation or perform a subtly instructed-act of sitting at the table. The table and two chairs that are placed in front of the wall paper thus act as mediators. Maryam’s objective is not to tell the viewers what to think or feel but let them reflect on visual politics in their own ways.