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 Adel Abidin  (1973 - )

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Lived/Active: Iraq      Known for: Installation sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Sotheby's Doha:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Adel Abidin's works are inspired by his personal life experiences.  With his distinctly imaginative style he addresses a variety of issues, such as the diaspora’s sense of belonging, feelings of alienation in a foreign land, an emigrant's adaptation to new social surroundings, and the classification of Iraqi identity.  Abidin also explores topics such as fundamentalism, nationalism and religion.

He works across a variety of mediums, primarily focusing on video installations and short films.  The artist aims to discuss and expunge social prejudices and stereotypes adopting an ironic narrative throughout his artworks when doing so.

I’m Sorry
is a three-dimensional installation which has been fashioned to look like an illuminated sign.  The sign has been produced in the same three colors as the American flag, it is framed by flashing light bulbs further accentuating the ironic sentiment, "I'm sorry".  This was the repeated response Abidin received when asked his ethnic origin during a recent trip to America.  Abidin encountered various people from diverse social backgrounds, yet whenever he mentioned his Iraqi nationality people would offer their condolences.

The shift and dialogue between audience and artist is a constant theme present in his work.  The response, "I'm sorry" becomes a double entendre- are people apologizing for the artist’s ill fate of being born in such a war-torn country, or apologizing from guilt; from the infringements imposed by America on Iraq during the war.  Eventually, the artist felt he should just respond "I'm sorry" every time he was asked, as if it was required from him to be sorry for his ethnic origins, as if country itself was an apology, named "I'm sorry".              

Abidin’s witty criticism addresses both the injustice of the American invasion of Iraq whilst condemning Iraqi fundamentalists actions which serve as a pretext to justify popular foreign abhorrence.  Abidin scrutinizes cultural friction and political tension in a global society.  His unique powers of observation coupled with his consummate sense of humor results in exceptional pieces of contemporary art tackling current issues.

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