I have begun to think of America as the world’s mirror. It is beyond a doubt the most diverse country on the planet. In many ways we are a country full of other countries, with various cultures and customs. Now over the years these cultures have fused and changed irreversibly. We took pizza from Italy and changed it. We stole the name football and created a new sport. And now in the same way we have been affected by the cultures of other countries, they are being affected by us. We are reflecting the whole world back onto itself.
Artist Mounir Fatmi, born in Tangiers, Morocco tends to comment on some of the ways America has influenced his culture and world. He is what can most accurately be described as, a multi-media installation artist. He tends to be commenting on world issues and how his own culture ties into them.
I came across his work through the piece entitled Maximum Sensation #1. Here we can see a series of skateboards, associated with America and western culture, and they are covered with various Arabic textile patterns, associated with his own Moroccan culture. Now maybe I have watched Aladdin too many times, but this causes me to make a connection to the mythical magic carpets and how that might be what a skateboard represents to today’s youth. It is a way to escape, a magical way to get to a new place. Or perhaps it is more of a religious reference. Morocco is a Muslim country, and at various times of the day, they kneel to their carpet in prayer and face Mecca. Maybe he is saying that today’s youth is kneeling to a different carpet. And the fact that these skateboards are all facing different directions, perhaps is commenting further on the disillusionment and confusion that many youths feel.
This is the only piece I saw in person, but I included some other pictures of his work to get a more well rounded view of him as an artist.