Headline October 04, 2016/ ''' *SOPHIA AL-MARIA* : QATARI-AMERICAN ARTIST '''



AT ART SCHOOL IN LONDON a decade or so ago, the Qatari-American artist, writer and filmmaker Sophia- Al-Maria came up with a pithy term-

Gulf Futurism, to describe the warp-speed transformations of Dubai and other oil-rich cities: the rise of hotels, malls and museum's and the incorporation of the area's Bedouin tribes into an international consumer class.

She has been elaborating on this catchphrase ever since, in videos and writings that combine sci-fi fantasies with dystopian musings on the human and environmental costs of hyperdevelopment.

Her 2013 article in  Dazed magazine, for instance, written with musician, Fatima-Al-Qadri, offered a neat summary of Gulf Futurism  -as a phenomenon ''marked by a deranged optimism about the sustainability of both oil reserves and late capitalism''  -

And examples ranging from the  ''alien ship''  Sheraton Hotel in Doha, Qatar, designed by  William Pereira to illuminated motorcycles staring out of ''Tron''.

An even more concise manifesto of an installation is now at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in  ''Black Friday,''  Ms. Al-Maria's first solo exhibition in the  United States. 

Comprising a short, suspenseful video [also titled  ''Black Friday''] set atop a sculptural scattering of small, flickering screens-

On a pile of sand, the exhibition turns the famously opulent malls of Doha into a kind of horror set. It's instantly compelling, but offers just a taste of Ms. Al Maria's talents and range.

As chronicled in her 2012 memoir:
''The Girl Who Fell to Earth.'' Ms. A;-Maria was born in Washington State to an American mother and a Qatari father.

While still a teenager, she left the Pacific Northwest for her grandmother's home in Doha; later she spent her undergraduate  years in Cairo before attending Goldsmiths University in London.

Goldsmiths is known for its freely interdisciplinary approach to art, and Ms. Al-Maria continues to work in multiple mediums: 

In addition to her short and long-term writing and voice art, she is working on  feature-length film, ''Beretta,'' which she describes as  'a thriller about lingerie salesgirl in Cairo who goes on an  all-male  killing rampage.''

She has made other works about  female-identity  in the Muslim world: The Memorable video installation  ''Sister''  incorporated  YouTube and WhatsApp footage of young Arab women who had filmed themselves laughing and dancing in their bedrooms, turning spaces of confinement into public nightclubs.

In title and spirit,  ''Sisters''  seemed to shed light on a subtle feminist rebellion and a  universal adolescent desire for community.

The subject of the  Whitney show,  the shopping mall, is the communal teenage space of decades past.

The mall may be dying in America, but  Ms. Al-Maria has seen it thrive in cities like Doha ,  where  ''Black  Friday''  is set .

The Honour and Serving of the  Operational Research on great artists the world over continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing  forward and see you on the following one:

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