Khalid Albaih: Shahid


Free with museum admission.

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Since 1948, the world has borne witness to the plight of Palestine, to the atrocities committed from the Nakba (the catastrophe) onwards. Today, the prevalence of social media and live streaming renders these events increasingly visible. In Shahid, Arabic for witness, artist Khalid Albaih invites visitors to reflect on their role as witnesses to the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Gaza.

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Shahid, a project space exhibition, is an interactive audiovisual installation composed of four printed digital illustrations displayed on a mirror spanning the width of the wall; these drawings reference poignant moments that have gone viral across social media, resulting in an unprecedented number of witnesses to this ongoing live tragedy.

Visitors' reflections in the mirror, among depictions of the victims, emphasise their role as witnesses. The experience is intensified by an image of Gaza’s destroyed cityscape reflected in the mirror. Furthermore, visitors are encouraged to take part in recording the names and ages of martyrs in the exhibition space.

Through this installation, Albaih stresses the individual’s role as a witness by showing visitors that they represent one more voice added to those speaking out for Palestine against biased global media outlets. This use of reflection – both literal and figurative – highlights the world’s complicity in this tragedy, which has exposed the prejudices and injustice of contemporary politics and international law.

This interactive installation looks at what it means to be a witness to the devastation unfolding in Palestine and encourages the visitor to reflect on the responsibility that comes with that role; It leads us to ask ourselves what we would do if we were one of those depicted and how we would feel if the world stood idle, watching our demise. During the most recent atrocities, Palestine has received substantial attention worldwide, with a flood of international advocacy efforts from the public. People have mobilised through a multitude of avenues, from mass protests and targeted boycotts to running various programs in solidarity with Palestine.

In combining digital drawings, sound elements, and an engaging installation design, Albaih has created an immersive experience that brings his artistic practice into a new direction.