Everybody was Invited to a Party (2018) by Farah Al Qasimi pulls inspiration from the 1980s Arabic version of Sesame Street (Iftah Ya Simsim), using puppets to present language and letters as malleable objects without fixed meaning. The video uses text from translation books found around London by Al Qasimi while in residency there.
In the video the artist seeks moments where the failure to communicate creates new opportunities for meaning. Throughout the work this failure creates both sensations of melancholy and humour. The puppets are hand-sewn by Al Qasimi, who also performs all of the characters and has composed the music for the work.
Farah Al Qasimi (b.1991, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; lives and works in Brooklyn and Dubai) works in photography, video, and performance. Al Qasimi is on Forbes 2020 list of 30 in Art & Style.
Her work has been featured in exhibitions at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai; the San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco; the CCS Bard Galleries at the Hessel Museum of Art, New York; Helena Anrather, New York; The Third Line, Dubai; The List Visual Arts Center at MIT, Cambridge; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto; and the Houston Center for Photography, Houston.
Al Qasimi received her MFA from the Yale School of Art. She has participated in residencies at the Delfina Foundation, London; the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine; and is a recipient of the New York NADA Artadia Prize and the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; and NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, New York.