Alia Farid & Aseel Alyaqoub

Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees

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Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub, Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees, 2018, Plastic, metal, light bulbs and electrical wire. Art Jameel Collection: Art Jameel Commission 2018. Photo by Mohamed Somji.

Artwork Details


Alia Farid & Aseel Alyaqoub


Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees




Plastic, metal, light bulbs and electrical wire



Credit Line

Art Jameel Collection

Work Description

Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees is an immersive installation created for the site of Jameel Arts Centre by Kuwait-based artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub. The botanical garden of artificial trees is comprised of six islands, named after the urban enclaves where the trees are found: Sharjah, Guangzhou, Zhonshan, Shuwaikh, Zabeel and Ahmadi. The installation encourages thinking about artificiality, debating whether it is something that is concerning and worrying for future generations, or can be accepted and adapted to. It also reflects upon the rising temperatures of the environment; one where even native desert plants struggle to survive. 

The site-specific installation riffs on our relationship with the natural world and acts as a community botanical garden, albeit one made up of artificial, hybrid trees and flora.

Artist Biography

Alia Farid (b. 1985) lives and works in Kuwait City, Kuwait and San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

Alia Farid works at the intersection of art, architecture and urban anthropology, exploring the correlations between the shaping of environment and perception She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from la Escuela de Arts Plasticas de Puerto Rico (San Juan), a Master of Science in Visual Studies from the Visual Arts Program at MIT (Cambridge, MA), and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies and Critical Theory from the Programa d’Estudis Independents at MACBA (Barcelona). Farid curated the Kuwait Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia (2014), and more recently participated in Sharjah Biennial 14 (2019). 

Aseel AlYaqoub (b. 1986) lives and works in Kuwait City, Kuwait. 

Aseel AlYaqoub is a research-based artist reflecting on the formation and construction of nation-states as well as concepts of national identity. By demonstrating the ever-present lingering of a contradictory world, she reflects on the closely related subjects of archive, memory and documentation. This often results in an examination of both the human need for conclusive stories and whether anecdotes fictionalise history. By using an ever-growing archive of found documents, she creates artworks that expose forgotten or hidden historical time-markers in order to question our national discourse. By parodying mass media and tradition, she exaggerates certain formal aspects inbuilt within our contemporary society. 


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