My land, 2, 2009
Duration: 2 mins 52 secs
Courtesy the artist
Anas Al-Shaikh's two-channel work My land, 2 consists of a close-up video of Bahrain's red-and-white flag and another presenting the artist's naked torso with his back to the viewer. As the flag begins to fly and music starts to play, the artist beats time on his face with a series of rhythmic, sharp slaps.
The song 'Al-Efjiri' hails from the time of pearl-diving in the Gulf region. It expresses shared sorrow, pain and suffering but also love and endurance – encouraging divers to work as one and overcome hardships together.
To Al-Shaikh, 'Al-Efjiri' recalls the shared heritage, culture and history of the people of Bahrain at a time when sectarian divisions run deep, and dominate public discourse. This work harnesses collective folk memory in an appeal for unity and resistance to political violence.
Anas Al-Shaikh (b. 1968) lives and works in Bahrain. He studied architecture in Jordan and works as a photographer, video and installation artist, graphic designer and freelance curator.
Recent exhibitions include MinD/Body, Body art and performance in the Gulf area, DUCTAC, Gallery of Light, Dubai, UAE (2013); The Changing Room: Arab Reflections on Praxis and Times, Metroquadro Arte Gallery, Torino, Italy (2011). Mapping Worlds…Understanding Worlds, The 8th International Photo-Triennial Esslingen, Germany (2010); Still life: Art, Ecology & the Politics of Change, Sharjah Biennial 8, Sharjah, UAE (2007); Zones of Contact, Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (2006).