What does it mean to be an artist in the digital age?

Ping Pong, a one channel video and sound installation. © Adel Abidin 2009

Adel Abidin, 2011 – 2015

In my capacity as a Production Manager working with the Iraqi-Finnish Artist Adel Abidin, exploring the production of memory in the context of a globalized world

In my exploration of contemporary art practices, I sought to understand what art production meant in the context of the Middle East in the twenty-first century. Noticing the dominant trends in the market which reference ethnic and national markers as a unifying identity for a homogenous ‘Middle-Eastern Art’, I questioned why certain representations of Arab Culture were deemed more legitimate than others? What does it mean to be an artist with roots from the Middle East? And how can artists produce works that are true to their personal experience and which can speak to a global audience?

Memorial, a three channel video installation. © Adel Abidin 2009

Working closely with Adel Abidin, whose work delved into such themes of identity and memory, allowed me to gain a different vantage point from which to address these questions. The opportunity to manage the production of his work and communications offered me insight into his creative process, and a deeper appreciation of how art from the Middle East could be positioned within a global context. Through our working relationship- also interacting with museum directors, curators, and academics- I gained a greater understanding of curatorial practices and dynamics of the international art scene. Abidin’s work is universal in its expression and emotional in its content and aesthetic, attributes I aspire for my personal work to achieve and my reach to traverse.

Symphony, a mixed media installation. © Adel Abidin 2012