Gallery 874 is pleased to announce a preview of the controversial sculpture created by Mousa. Mousa introduces Paradise Built on the Bones of the Slaughtered – a monumental sculpture for the ArtPrize competition – based on the Syrian-American experience; welded towers display religious texts burned to ashes.
Mousa was selected to display this complex sculpture at the ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids Michigan in September. However, the sculpture was pulled from the competition 10 days before the commencement of the show and he was unable to find another venue at the show to display his work. Here is a sampling of the articles and interviews with Mousa about the ArtPrize competition.
For more information on Mousa go to nabilmousa.com
Paradise built on the bones of the slaughtered
Mixed Media Sculpture
Metal, Wood, Burned Bible, Koran, and Torah
As a Syrian citizen, Mousa was influenced by three religions in perpetual inter-conflict: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. This mixed-media sculpture made of the burned remains of the Bible, Koran, and Torah illustrates Mousa’s disenfranchisement with religion. While those three religions all share the same God, and profess to preach tolerance and mutual respect, they’re more notable today for their mutual antagonism, ill will, and violent acts. The burning tomes enact a kind of cleansing ritual, in which self-reflection about faith and mutual responsibility is the hopeful end-result.
Mousa (Nabil Mousa), b. 1966 in Syria. Lives and works in Atlanta, GA.
Born in Syria and raised in the United States, Mousa incorporates the cultural tensions of both countries into his practice, combining them with his own personal convictions. While earlier examples of his work strictly appropriate Middle Eastern and Mediterranean design motifs, more recent examples relax them, allowing for looser representations that symbolize his new life in the United States. Politics is omnipresent in Mousa’s work.
This is not to say, however, that personal struggle is in any way diminished for Mousa. Mousa’s vested interest in all aspects of life has been the common thread in all of his works. Raised in a conservative Christian household, Mousa is always pitting socio-religious oppression with self-realization, from his earliest works examining the Muslim niqab to his more recent series inviting Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike to come together in creative reflection over 9/11.
Using color in unexpected ways, Mousa lets intuition and affect guide his oeuvre. His work is always framed by hope for greater equality, no matter how naïve or impossible that might seem in the face of ever-challenging political and religious difference.