Raised in Kuwait, Al Qadiri has spent the last decade creating sculptures and videos that assume a range of strategies to explain the Persian Gulf region’s stunning urban and economic development over the last decades. Her interpretation of the Gulf’s so-called “petro-culture” is manifested through speculative scenarios that take inspiration from science fiction, Arab soap operas, Gulf War-era pictures of burning Kuwaiti oil fields, traditional melancholic music, pearl diving, and oil drilling machinery. Al Qadiri’s objects extract understandings of the present through the manifold contradictions of consumption and desire. Al Qadiri has looked to the symbolic aspects of oil, creating supernatural works that relish in the magical transcendence of the Gulf landscape – notably, its vast interior deserts and oyster beds that feed the ancient practice of pearl diving in the Persian Gulf – in tandem with the mechanisms that aid oil extraction. OR-BIT 1-8 (2016–2018), a series of 3D-printed sculptures coated with iridescent automotive paint, similarly embodies the unnerving potency of oil drilling. Representing drill heads, these tabletop sculptures magically float with the aid of a commercial magnetic levitation platform, inserted into the base of each of them. ORBITAL (2022) similarly presents rotating sculptures, sized up to a more monumental scale. Spinning in the air, these shining drill heads create an experience of wonder; they become terrifying symbols of environmental devastation.
Commissioned for the 59th International Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia "The Milk of Dreams" 2022