Curatorial Statement by Najlaa El-Ageli:
Combo’s North African cultural roots mix with a European consciousness, giving him an unusual perspective that is reflected in his artwork. With this particular installation, he tackles the social and political environment, taking the observer into a space of familiar and unfamiliar iconography that reference the duality of diasporic culture. With this work, also, he is exploring the issue of contemporary identity, that is driven by hyper consumerism and materialism.
Influenced by a fun pop art sense of humour with glimmers of cynicism, Combo acts as a public commentator who is rejoicing in his hybrid identity. In particular, he likes to manipulate globally recognised consumerist objects that we can all relate to and share; and, then, allowing them to encompass a critical interplay between Western and non-Western culture. He then playfully pushes forward the maghrebisation of the Western brands to at once critique Western superiority, yet
presenting their new added value when they are adopted by the local Arab market.
The interactive installation works by recreating the intimate domestic space of a sitting room and how it may be fantasised by the Orientalist gaze, thus inviting the participant to discuss and investigate the evolution of the relationship between two complex cultural entities, using art as a space of a new narrative and perspective.
About the artist:
Combo, aka Combo Culture Kidnapper, is a French street artist born to a Lebanese-Christian father and a Moroccan-Muslim mother. His North African cultural roots blend with a European consciousness, giving him an unusual perspective that is reflected in his work. In this exhibition "Our home / دارنا " - his first one in London - he tackles the cultural, social and political environment, bringing the observer into a space of familiar iconography that refers to the duality of his culture.
With a pop-art sense of humour tinted with hints of cynicism, Combo acts as a public commentator who enjoys his hybrid identity. In particular, he likes manipulating consumerist objects and globally recognised icons that we can all relate to, by adding Arabic details to them. He also presents in a playful way the mixture of his two cultures, denouncing the superiority of one culture over another and bringing a new perspective to them.
For this exhibition, he invites us into his home, into his living room. The interactive
installation recreates the intimate domestic space of a Moroccan living room fantasised by the orientalist gaze, thus inviting the participant to reflect upon the evolution of the relationships between Western and non-Western cultures, using art as a vector for dialogue and openness to others.