63. Al Baik


2015 CE
1436 AH
Collected after dinner, 2015

Fried chicken and chips! What could be better after a long day of prayer and fasting? They queue for miles to taste our oily delights, from Jeddah to Mecca.

Our Mecca site is the largest, with the mass of pilgrims making their way towards us like a wave of white. Sometimes they wait two days to get their chops around our deep-fried chicken legs. Never do they ask, even after their days of purification, where all this meat comes from. Never do they seem to realise how ungodly our farms are, how ugly and unfair the lives of the creatures they eat with such relish. But I shouldn’t really be saying this, I know. After all, why should I care, if it lines my ample pockets?

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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