Day 143

Teddy meets the real men...

I'm a huge fan of Sami Mohammed, a local Kuwaiti artist that was renowned for his sculptures such as the Call for Help series. He was also a painter, but his bronze sculptures were my favourite. I stumbled upon most of his work in the Modern Museum of Art here in Kuwait, but I have been looking for two special pieces for a very long time. 
     It was only recently that a friend of mine told me where they are located and I was ecstatic. I had also asked some friends from the Al-Sabah family, and even they didn't know where they were. These two pieces were none other than Sami's bronze sculptures of our 11th ruler Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, and the 12th ruler Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah.
     You're probably wondering why these two pieces have been my mission for the past couple of months. A little history is in order:

Sheikh Abdullah officially ended the British protectorate status of Kuwait. He was very pro-Arab, and felt that his country should be an independent Arab nation with no third party, ruling entity. Kudos to Sheikh Abdullah for that. As for Sheikh Sabah, who was Abdullah's half brother, he was honoured with a KCMG (Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George). This high honour is given to individuals who have developed important services to foreign nations. It is an honour of chivalry, so kudos to Sheikh Sabah (the third) too. 

Now back to the sculptures, that were breath taking at sight. They have been hidden for years in Al-Nahtha's deserted building (not far from the Al Watan building) probably because it's religiously taboo to have statues of people no matter how important they are. I think the wave of extremists denied these beautiful pieces from the public, which is why they're enclosed, hidden, and abandoned. 
     It's not hard to go in, there's a guard at the door and all you need to tell him is that you want to see the statues. For some reason he laughed when I said that, maybe because he couldn't see what the big fuss was about but what does he know. You guys should check them out in person because my photographs did not do them justice.

On Sabah's statue (far right) there was a message:

إن هذا الوطن أمانة في اعناقنا وأني ادعوكم إلى أن تحافظوا على وطننا الكويت رمز العزة ومصدر الخير... صباح السالم الصباح 

This country is an oath around our neck, and I am asking you to take care of our country Kuwait, which is a symbol of pride, and the root of benevolence... Sabah Al-Salim Al Sabah 

I ask you all to please go. They are a part of our culture, history and will be a motivation to whatever faith we have left to regain our pride and commitment to this country. We need more waves of patriotism.

Check out more photos of Sami in action on these statues and more by clicking on this [Link]...


Confashion | January 19, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Great post..
I love Sami's work ever since I saw it at the modern museum:
I wish we could see more from him.. he's a local talent and it's a shame to see his work goes unappreciated

BruTus | January 19, 2010 at 9:09 PM

Wallah 7araam ga66eeenhom ehny !!!
I think they mean it :/

KheironQ | January 19, 2010 at 10:31 PM

Wow...ignorant American "in the house". British protectorate status of Kuwait - had no idea. Boy, the British got around, didn't they??

Thanks for posting about your travels. I'm learning valuable things. ;)

A. Benghaith | January 20, 2010 at 3:20 AM

Oh what a great sculptures! They shouldn't be hidden because of some stupid extremes who have nothing to discuss and care about these poor sculptures. One of them reminds me of a sculpture that i saw it in Washington D.C for Abraham Lincoln.

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