Abdulnasser Gharem, 'The Path (Siraat)'

Abdulnasser Gharem, 'The Path (Siraat)'

Abdulnasser Gharem
Born Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia, 1973. Lives Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
'The Path (Siraat)'
2009
Inkjet print on aluminium
British Museum: 2009, 6033.1
Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography at the V&A and the British Museum

Abdulnasser Gharem works across a variety of media to explore local Saudi issues. Amongst his best-known works are 'stamp paintings', made from industrial paint on rubber stamps, a technique devised to negotiate and comment on censorship. He combines service in the Saudi armed forces (he is currently Lieutenant Colonel) with his activities as an artist.

The subject of this photograph is a bridge in southern Saudi Arabia that was severely damaged in the early 1980s when villagers attempted to take shelter on it during a flash flood. Instead of providing a safe high ground above the floodwaters the bridge collapsed, resulting in the loss of many lives. Gharem spray-painted the word siraat repeatedly on the bridge. The word means path, and in the Qur'an it refers to 'the path to God'.