The installation Paradise Has Many Gates by artist Ajlan Gharem is an impressive 10 x 30 m cage transformed into the shape of a mosque and installed in the desert outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The mosque is a conduit for the symbolic power wielded by all those above the unwitting individual, from elder brother to father, neighbourly imam and, eventually, the state. The mosque is the public square reincarnate but with attendance mandatory, at least socially.
Ajlan Gharem will exhibit Paradise Has Many Gates (2015), a video documenting the installation, at Asia House Gallery in London from 12 to 18 October 2015. This exhibition will be showcasing the latest developments in contemporary art from Saudi Arabia. Videos of performances that took place in the mosque, influenced by the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, will also form part of Gharem’s presentation.
Born in 1985 in Khamis Mushayt in the South of Saudi Arabia, Ajlan Gharem moved to Abha to pursue an undergraduate degree in Mathematics at King Khalid University. Now a maths teacher in Alsahabah Public School in Riyadh, Ajlan is a co-founder of Gharem Studio, which supports artists from the Middle East.
Photos courtesy of the artist