Meshal Al-Obaidallah

Photograph of  Shimagh  series, digital prints on cotton, 135 x 135 cm (5x), 2014–2015

Photograph of Shimagh series, digital prints on cotton, 135 x 135 cm (5x), 2014–2015

Al-Obaidallah’s body of works explore the notion of art through redesign, blurring the lines between the two. This is achieved by basing works on the mundane everyday objects around which Obaidallah is surrounded that add a sense of familiarity and relatability. 

Shimagh Series 3 - Meshal.jpg

In the Shimagh series, he takes the traditional cotton monochromatic headdress and digitally reprints its traditional designs with vivid, polychromatic hues on silk. In doing so, he makes subtle observations about generational change and similarity in diversity and taste while retaining the garment’s traditional structure. This juxtaposition and interstice of difference and transformation creates a subtle commentary on regional stereotypes, gender and socioeconomic inequality, and the political landscape in his home country of Saudi Arabia as well as in the Middle East and its diaspora more broadly. 

At the very essence of every artwork is the topic, ranging from social commentary to cultural references. This is the very beginning of Obaidallah’s creative process and an inseparable part of the artwork itself. This constructs a vessel for the intended idea to materialize in the physical world, inviting the audience to ponder and decipher the work’s origin and nuances.

Meshal Al-Obaidallah is from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His works of conceptual art are ever-growing series. And they have been exhibited across the Arabian Gulf region, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE, as well as outside the region, such as the UK and the US. He is a winner of the 4th International Emerging Artist Award that took place in Dubai in 2016. Recently, his Shimagh series (2014–2015), which currently consists of 5 works, was acquired by Greenbox Museum in Amsterdam, as part of the museum's permanent on-display collection.