- Tareek Alshoub - Les Déstinées des Nations -
The Ways of the Nations
Having graciously been invited to represent Finland along with the painter Ville Löppönen and the sculptor Jennifer Rung in the exhibition Fusion des Cultures in the Musée de Marrakech in Morocco, I started the work process by contemplating the different cultures, countries, religions and worldviews that would be represented by the artists in this groundbreaking exhibition. So I started to think about the different flags of the nations that represented all these things and the participating countries. And quite obviously, special honour would need to be given to the host country, Morocco! That is why I early on decided to place its flag in the middle, a flag that I mostly painted upside down, as it is one of my ways of tapping into the subconscious treasure trove of hidden collective and individual meanings. Having finished this panel, I specifically showed it here in Finland to a number of Arabs to make sure I had not painted something disrespectful. In fact, it turned out that this panel was a huge success in Morocco!
Just by itself, the form of a pentatych created itself for the entire work, the many-part form suggesting a story and/or a (time)sequence. Thus, quite effortlessly and without much conscious thought, the three monotheistic world religions had suggested themselves into the painting. And, the exhibition being in an Arabic country, it was quite natural to make the story advance from right to left, just like the Arabic script. In the beginning, there was Abraham and Judaism, from whom and which sprang both Ishmael and Islam and Yeshua/Jesus and Christianity. - As a Finn, it was of course quite a particular joy to paint the Finnish flag representing Christianity and Finland/the West on the Finnish Independence Day...
Apart from a historical sequence, the panels also depict a prophecy that I have harboured for quite some time: the rise of Islam to world prominence, and especially so in the West. That is why the central panel is larger than the rest. The next panel, that of Western naturalistic materialsm, is powerless to stop this - it only portrays the dark fairytale of the Kingdom of Eternal Shopping that the contemporary West has become. However, the last panel, the most ominous and enigmatic of all, shows the feared Evil Eye and through supernatural intervention that you can read about under the photograph of the painting, the ultimate destiny of Islam.
In the work, it is also quite obvious that the light is first transforming itself, then decreasing, until we are in total Darkness. By the sheer breadth and size of the work (it has to be seen live, of course) and its placement in the exhibition, it is in practice impossible to take in the work all at once - that is, one is forced to jump into one or at a maximum two of the panels and 'live' in them. This is just as it is in Reality; we cannot truly embrace a number of worldviews nor can we be everywhere in a time sequence. However, we can still gain an overview of what is happening in our world and culture.
As a whole, the work generated much positive attention and I was even interviewed on the Moroccan National Television 2M-TV.
in the Palazzo Covero on 29th December, 2009, on the Day of Remembrance of the 14,000 child victims of Bethlehem of king Herod.