This exhibition inaugurates the 2013 Nour Festival of Arts from the Middle East and North Africa at Leighton House Museum and is the London debut of Mourad Salem, a Tunisian artist based in Paris. Salem has selected eight recent paintings that will be exhibited in the exquisite Drawing room of Leighton House.
Having Tunisian, Turkish and Ottoman roots, Salem questions the Arab world’s leaders of yesteryear, which he often portrays as figures of fun. His funky and kitsch Sultans and Sultanas are painted on canvas surrounded with fake fur, floral accessories or elaborate frames, emphasising their immaturity as figures of power, although they are portrayed with some affection.
History has shown that for the most part, these were leaders who did not lead; men in power who abused power or used religion as a tool for power. Salem’s work hints that old times may be coming back; that there are now leaders who continue to ignore the demands of the public and the requirements of our times.
With Disney characters that pop up in the borders of his paintings, his work is a humorous presentation about the character of tyrants. In his smaller format works, faceless Sultans are surrounded by Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. When there are no facial features, we become the reflection of that face - anyone can become a despot. As Salem says, “Despotism is faceless, death is faceless and so is life, for each of us puts their own face on their life and death.”
Mourad Salem: Sultans Are No Sultans
Rose Issa Projects for the Nour Festival, Leighton House Museum, London W11
2nd- 30th October 2013
For more information please contact
Tel 020 76027700