Maha Malluh

Whatever comes after

Maha Malluh

 

One in her ‘Food for Thought' series, I passed Amma Baad, which seems to translate as ‘Whatever comes after’ on a wall in the Arsenale. I had seen several smaller versions of similar work, but thought the colors in this one to be better composed with the collected audio cassettes at hand. The title refers to an expression that follows and shortens the ritual praise of Allah and announces the content that is to come. One can read the work here then as a question or as a declaration. Need these extremist tapes, because that is what they are, follow the praise of Allah and what will now, in this day and age, follow from these extremists tapes. I understand that such cassettes were abundantly recorded, not by the government, but mostly by private collectors of sermons and were often hostile towards women while lecturing them. What physically the group of visitors admiring the work in the Arsenale is looking at are disused bread baking trays filled with these old audio cassettes full of intolerance. Malluh uses the trays and sometimes other abandoned kitchenware of a bygone age as a metaphor for ideas and social customs that Saudi society should not fear either to abandon. Even Saudi society does not bake bread on wooden trays anymore, why not then reinterpret or leave elegantly behind some of the other rules and habits of behavior

 

A.H.

May 20, 2017