Sharif Waked

Acclaimed Palestinian interdisciplinary artist Sharif Waked explores contemporary propaganda, politics, structural violence and prejudice in his engaging video, installation and painted works.

Born in Nazareth in 1964 to a refugee family, Waked creates succinct and intrepid pieces that capture both the spectacle of Arabs and Islam in the media and the reality of injustices on the ground. In his piece “To Be Continued…” Waked re-enacts the typical backdrop of a suicide bomber’s farewell video. Speaking in Arabic, the man, seated with a book and a machine gun before him, evocatively recites stories from A Thousand and One Nights. This compilation of folktales began with Shahrazad, who wed Persian king Shahryar hoping to stop his practice of marrying woman after woman only to murder each one the following morning. Shahrazad halts this gruesome practice by cleverly telling the king an engaging tale each night, but leaving the story’s conclusion for the following evening. This continues for 1001 nights. The man in Waked’s video places himself in a similarly complex scenario – positioning himself as an extremist in order to resist the practise.

Waked’s work has appeared in London’s Tate Modern, the 2009 Sharjah Biennial, and the Seconde Riwaq Biennale in Ramallah, where “To Be Continued…” made its debut.