Architecture of Memory

Artist statement

On the Demolition of Al Sawaber

This work was the first of my series of digital artworks that illustrate modern architectural heritage, and the systemic demolition of historical buildings in Kuwait. Here, viewers can observe the shock and disappointment of activists as they watch the demolition of the Al Sawaber Complex right in front of their eyes, despite their efforts to prevent such a cruel fate. However, the positive result of this occurrence is that it noticeably increased society’s awareness about the need to preserve historical buildings and modern heritage. The Al Sawaber Complex was built in 1981, and was designed by architect Arthur Ericson. It is considered to have been the first multi-story form of public housing in the country.

In keeping with the miniature style, the perspective is flat. Viewers will notice the contrast between the pale color of the reddened asphalt and the rich green color of the embellished frame. In addition, the emerging dust from the demolition of the complex is reminiscent of smoke clouds that appear as a result of an explosion,  which emphasizes the level of shock that was experienced by the activists after the sudden event, especially after they left no stone unturned to save the building. They resorted to the courts and to the media to no avail. Also in this work is the Imam Al Sadiq Mosque (in the top right of the artwork), which witnessed bombings in 2015. It incorporated it in this work to memorialise those who passed away, as well as a symbol of coexistence and appreciation of history.

  • Dana Al Rashid
  • 2020
  • Digital art

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