Eiman Elgibreen, Alice in Wonderland, 2017, reclaimed wood, Scandinavian wood, and transfer paper, 66x45 cm. Photographs: curtesy of the Royal Geographical Society, Picture Library.
Alice in Wonderland
During her art career, the artist has been questioning the purpose of looking, exploring, and researching things in a time where stereotypes and preconceptions heavily affects our perception of the world. This journey of questioning the dominance of the mind over the eye sprung from a moment of doubt; when the artist was trying to provide visual evidence of certain historical moments and discovered that most people can only see what they already believe in. She realized that one image can mean different things to different people, even if it had captured a moment they all have experienced leading her to wonder: what is the point of looking? What is the point of taking pictures that fail to transmit one's intention to capture a certain feeling about it?
Thus, the archive became the artist's playground. She often chooses pictures and objects based on a research that evokes certain meanings to her while wondering about what they meant to those who made them. Then, she enjoys observing the ideas and emotions these juxtaposed images evoke in the audience. "Alice in Wonder Land", shows 3 images from the time Princess Alice Countess of Athlone's visit to Saudi Arabia -courtesy to the Royal Geographical Society in London. It was the first official British visit to the country after being recognized internationally as an independent country. Therefore, both parties -British and Saudis- did not know what to expect. The trip started from the city of Ta'if, which happens to be the artist's place of birth, and used to be an important ground for many political events throughout history. However, it lost its significance since the 1990s which intrigued the artist to observe: how the Saudis audience remember this city? And how the British audience will react to the images of the Princess and her family in traditional Saudi costume? What sort of feelings this may stir after all the crazy events of the modern world?
The images are surrounded with an original 119-year-old window shutter from the same region with an Arabic inscription adding an extra dimension to the role of translation in changing the meaning of things forcing another question over the value of language in transmitting the real intention behind the written text.