This isn’t a statue. It’s the world’s tallest hate crime.
But it is telling that Qatar’s idea of great art is a giant statue of a Muslim soccer player headbutting a non-Muslim soccer player.
Qatari citizens have called for Adel Abdessemed’s statue ”Coup de Tete” (Head Butt) to be removed because it is offensive to Islam.
The five-meter statue depicting footballer Zinedine Zidane headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest during the 2006 World Cup has been placed on the Corniche, a symbolic Doha location.
The statue is an invitation to idolatry, and Islam forbids making statues and depicting animals and people, protesters claimed. ”We want a legitimate fatwa from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs against this statue! Because statues are not allowed in Islam and Zidane’s action was unethical”, one commentator wrote on Twitter.
It’s not just offensive to Islam. It’s offensive to the human eye. Five meters is around 16.5 feet.
Still this isn’t even the worst “art” that Adel Abdessemed has made.
An exhibition of works by the French-Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed has been prevented from opening here while a prosecutor ponders whether it is illegal to display video clips showing animals being bludgeoned to death and fighting for sport in an arena.
A year ago the San Francisco Art Institute shut down a solo show by Mr. Abdessemed featuring one of these video clips, “Don’t Trust Me,” a short loop showing six animals being slaughtered for food by a sledgehammer blow to the head on a farm in Mexico. The same video was pulled last spring from the 2008 Glasgow International festival, which also featured other works by Mr. Abdessemed.
The other controversial video in the Turin show, “Usine,” depicting a fight among scorpions, snakes and spiders, as well as roosters and dogs, was also shot in Mexico, where animal fighting is legal
We can be grateful there isn’t a 16 foot tall statue of that somewhere. But wait… it’s worse than that. (Reader warning: You probably don’t want to follow this link.)
We are confronted with three intertwined airplanes in the entry hall. Abdessemed took actual cockpits and attached them to cotton tubes, thus creating three entangled snakes or one giant hydra; two of the “heads” feature the American and Texan flag respectively. But hold on a second, an artist of Arabian descent doing this? With airplanes – two heads got cut off about a decade ago?
Finally the first work to meet the dirty promises (more or less): a film of a red haired woman nursing a piglet. Yes, take it literally. The whore of Babylon with a haram animal, and the image of Western civilisation in the eyes of a Taliban. Next to it the artist placed a cube built from exploded airplane parts. Rather obvious, isn’t it?
Very, very obvious. But for those looking for equal time…
The first room is harmless though: a carpet on the wall carrying the French inscription “Thus spoke Allah“, alluding to Nietzsche’s “Thus spoke Zarathustra” next to a sculpted horse (donkey? It is female, in any case) with blinders kicking out.
Interpret that how you like, it probably won’t be appearing in Doha.