Kul كل I and II (2013: UV digital print) - Saudi Artist NASSER AL SALEM

In arabic, Kul كل holds several meanings around everything/all/whole and in accordance with the artist’s occasional depiction of Islamic texts within a contemporary artistic context, here too Nasser tries to depict the wholesome of God “الله” by conceptualizing it through art. The beauty in Nasser’s portrayal of Kul lies within the limitless and unbound inclusion of different characteristics/names of God’s existence within Islamic teachings. Not only are they visually appealing, but they also harbour a dense amount of reflection based on the repetitions and rippling effects seen. For example, three of Allah’s 99 names in Islam are “The First الأول”, “The Last الأخر”, and “The All Encompassing الواسع” and these can be clearly seen within Nasser Al Salem’s depiction. But concurrently and upon further reflection, names and characteristics like “The Compeller الجبار” and “The Expander الباسط” start to become more evident physically/visually, as well as conceptually. This portrayal of course is never easy, and requires a massive amount of sensitivity and care with such religious texts as Nasser explained in an Interview with the “Arabnews”: 

It’s sometimes just a bit difficult translating classic religious texts and messages into contemporary forms of art. I have to represent the meanings very well, without having the contemporary elements of the work overpowering the idea. They have to complement each other very well. I have to continually go back to references, do a lot of research. It’s a responsibility but I’m very proud of it. It allows me to introduce new concepts — religious and social.

Kul I and II were the pieces that Nasser participated with in Victoria and Albert Museum 2013 Jameel Prize, which he lost to Turkish fashion designer Dice Kayek but made him the first Saudi to ever participate in this Prize.