25. Ka’aki Cola


c. 1950 CE
c. 1369 AH
Donated by the Ka’aki family, 2014

I am a bottle of Cola. Look closely and you’ll see that I’m a copy of the real Coca-Cola – a sham, a proxy you could say, selected by our King and the Ka’aki dynasty. But I’m just as good, and home-grown, bottled and sold. And believe me, I’m better than Zam Zam.

Just like Coca-Cola, I am an elixir, an alchemical preparation once believed to cure and calm the nerves. You carry me in your hands as you go to stone the devil. Amongst the crowds, you can spot me. I am a red flag to a future. I am smarter than those on the big billboards all around you, for you cannot see the devil when it’s hiding in your hand. As you throw rocks hard against the wall, you take sips from me, shaped to fit inside your fists as you walk in one direction, around and around.

Like a virus, you carry me into the belly of your holy sanctuary. Like a dart, capitalism heads straight for your heart.

This work transcends the objects. Ultimately, what I’m working with isn’t only the artefacts themselves, but the stories attached to them. For me, each tale is the manifestation of the object, and each object is a tangible materialisation of an underlying narrative. The work finds its equilibrium somewhere between the stories and chronology they’re chaptered into, the objects becoming knots or points along the timeline, woven into stories as part of the language of this artwork. Each story draws out a tale that intends to trigger imagination and memory, mixing fact with fiction, with the ultimate aim of straddling, conflating and confusing fixed notions of history to open up the unofficial histories that shape the character of place and memory.
Ahmed Mater
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