Living and working in Saudi Arabia, artist Maha Malluh’s work centres upon the impact of globalisation and consumer culture within her nation. “My inspiration for art comes from my country, a land of contrasting images and ideas. Good art… forces you to pause, to contemplate and think harder about your surroundings.” Her sculptures are assemblages of objects found in junk shops and flea markets, their decrepit state speaking volumes of the culture that once valued but has now discarded them. Food for Thought – Al-Muallaqat is composed of aluminium cooking pots used traditionally throughout the Arab world. The title Al- Muallaqat links the installation to pre-Islamic 6th century Suspended Odes or Hanging Poems traditionally hung in Mecca. What poetry then do these pots contain? And of what lives and stories could they sing?
Maha Malluh’s Just Des(s)erts
by Siba Aldabbagh
This week saw the opening of the third contemporary Saudi art event in London this month. Unlike the group exhibitions of #Come Togetherand Made in Makkah, the Selma Feriani Gallery welcomed a large crowd of art aficionados to Maha Malluh’s first solo exhibition on London’s Maddox Street.
Although she has been collaborating with other artists from the collectiveEdge of Arabia since 2008, Malluh in fact began her career more than two decades before EoA’s first exhibition. Before coming to London, Malluh had showcased her work in various Saudi cities such as Jeddah and Riyadh, as well as in the United States and Holland.
An intriguing artist in her own right, Malluh is never afraid to experiment with new techniques and mediums. Moving from drawing to painting and photography, she has since become one of the first Arab artists to use the photogram technique. But 2012 has come as a surprise to her followers. At Art Dubai earlier this year she unveiled her first series of mixed media installations entitled “Food for Thought 7000” and comprised of passé cassette tapes of religious sermons from the 1980s encased in wooden bread-baking trays. Receiving much critical acclaim, the baking trays were bought immediately.
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