Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees

Contrary Life: A Botanical Light Garden Devoted to Trees is an immersive installation specially created for the site of Jameel Arts Centre by Kuwait-based artists Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub. The artists’ proposal was selected by a jury for the first edition of Art Jameel Commissions, which focussed on sculpture and challenged artists to take light as their medium. 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.

All are welcome to visit the rooftop “garden”, day and night; specific Contrary Life events and tours will be announced on these pages.

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

Aseel AlYaqoub’s practice dwells on anecdotal histories by using nostalgia as an instrument for critical thought, rather than the longing for the past. Using the names on her passport as a timeline for research, AlYaqoub jumps between different generations ranging from her great grandfather (late 19th century) to her present. She investigates the (re)invention of heritage, culture and tradition in Kuwait, a relatively new nation-state. AlYaqoub’s work has been exhibited with Edge of Arabia, London; at Boiler Room, New York; Design Terminal, Budapest; and in Kuwait City, at Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary Art Platform, and the Sultan Gallery.

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. She graduated from La Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico, and gained Master’s degrees from the Visual Arts Program at MIT and the Programa d’Estudis Independents at MACBA, Barcelona. Farid curated the Kuwait Pavilion at the 14th Venice Biennial of Architecture. She has completed residencies at, among others, Casa Árabe, Córdoba (with Delfina Foundation); Davidoff Art Initiative, La Romana; the Serpentine Galleries, London; and marra.tein, Beirut. Exhibitions include participation in the São Paulo (2016) and Gwangju (2018) biennials, and solo shows at Galerie Imane Farès, Paris (2017) and NC-arte, Bogota (2018).