Khalid Mezaina at Elementa

Khalid Mezaina reveals his latest works at Elementa and chats about his plans for the future…

Interview, In the studio

What’s this piece about?
It’s called ‘Music Makes You Lose Control ’. It’s kind of corny, last year I went to see Kylie – she had a lot of screen projections as her backdrop which really inspired me. And she had a line one of her songs that says ‘Music Makes You Lose Control’. So…

Big Kylie fan?
Oh yeah. Big one. But the piece is about how music communicates across cultures, like one language. I put pieces of wallpaper onto the wall and over it stuck smaller illustrations of people dancing. Some of the smaller illustrations are mounted so they pop out of the wall. There was already stuff on the wall, like a fire alarm and pipes, but I’ve incorporated them within the piece and tied the drawings in with the elements on the wall.

The Flying House’s Mohammed Kazam curated this show. How was that?
I’ve worked with him previously on the last Sharjah Biennial but this is the first time that he’s curated my work in a show. He’s been very helpful – he tells us what works, what doesn’t work. I think he’s the first curator that actually communicated with me in person, usually you just send your work into places but he was there in person with suggestions throughout the whole process.

Are we seeing enough Emirati art in UAE galleries?

I think people are noticing Emirati art now, before it was limited but with all the shows that are happening, like the one down in Abu Dhabi at the moment, it’s starting to change. Maybe now galleries should be commissioning specific artists to create works for their shows. Last year Art Dubai had a Pakistani pavilion, maybe they could have something similar that focuses on Emirati artists.

In the course of putting together this show, have you noticed any shared ideas amongst emerging Emirati artists?
A lot of artists in my generation are talking about identity, cultural identity and explain why they do things. For example, for a woman – what does it mean to wear the veil. There are lot of shared ideas in terms of what we want to communicate.

Khalid Mezaina appears at Elementa (04 299 0064) as part of Re-Source. Until March 5

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