The Craft is the first UK solo exhibition by Amsterdam-based artist Monira Al Qadiri. The exhibition includes a short, semi-autobiographical science fiction film, sculptures and photographs in which international diplomacy is envisaged as an alien conspiracy. Under this umbrella, embassies, conferences, cultural exchange and political activism are represented as elaborately staged ways to conceal diplomats’ true dealings with the third kind. Poking fun at collapsing postcolonial empires, these works also explore how the current rise of nationalism and political populism trivialises formerly common ways of being international in the world, depicting the era of diplomatic rituals, national grandeur and political grandstanding as a nostalgic and lovable ‘other world’ beyond reach.
Monira Al Qadiri is a Kuwaiti visual artist born in Senegal and educated in Japan. In 2010, she received a Ph.D. in inter-media art from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research was focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle-East stemming from poetry, music, art and religious practices. Her work explores unconventional gender identities, petro-cultures and their possible futures, as well as the legacies of corruption. She is also part of the artist collective GCC.