Aseel AlYaqoub

Aseel AlYaqoub (b. 1986, Kuwait) is an artist who works across the disciplines of history, architecture and cultural identity theory. Her practice is concerned with themes of nationhood, state apparatuses and collective nostalgia to discern why some historical elements fit well within the national narrative whilst others are deliberately forgotten. Using an ever-growing collection of found objects, documents and media, her work explores the construct of new nations such as Kuwait. Through video, drawing, installation and printmaking, she documents the nation’s processes of self-identification and state-making – that happened within pressure-cooker conditions – post-imperial dissolution and re-attachment.






A Hundred Soldiers Somersaulting, 2018

45 min video


This film attempts to draw a messy and complex narrative into focus using existing archival footage, and in doing so bring forth some questions on whether a consistently threatened nation should focus on peaceful diplomatic efforts, strengthen its military, or both.



Screening at Contemporary Art Platform, Kuwait

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Culture Fair, 2018


'Culture Fair' focuses on a dialogue with the nation's use of imagery and events during the Golden Era (circa 1940-1980). In the process of collecting Kuwaiti postage stamps, the artist probes at the visually subdued and discreet nature of the propaganda exhibited. The narratives of old stamps are reconfigured by dissecting and reassembling the layers, destroying the national artefact and image with an alternative narrative, displayed as cultural relics usually found in world fairs.


Exhibition at Sultan Gallery, Kuwait

Images courtesy of Mohamad Chehimi

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Desperate Measures, 2017

8 min video, DIY gas mask



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During the Gulf War, Kuwaitis witnessed Iraqi soldiers in gas masks, which ignited rumours of a potential chemical attack. In a desperate response, the Kuwaiti ‘Underground Resistance’ (al-moqawama) distributed formulas for DIY gas masks through leaflets and word of mouth. In the 8-minute video performance ‘Semiotics of War in the Kitchen’, the artist attempts to recreate a gas mask–in the same kitchen her family used to fabricate the DIY versions during the war–using her mother’s instructions.




Popular Games, 2015


‘Traditions’ which appear or claim to be old are often quite recent in origin and

sometimes invented – Eric Hobsbawm.



This exhibition is an inspection of Kuwait’s past and how it emerges into the present, and uses nostalgia as an instrument for critical thought rather than the longing for the past. Historical narratives are reconfigured through the destruction and reassembling of national artifacts to highlight a nation’s dependency in the form of new products.






Exhibition at Pratt Gallery, Brooklyn, New York

Images courtesy of Jean Paul Gomez





Born in Kuwait, 1986


2015 Pratt Institute, New York, USA
Masters of Fine Arts (Dist)

2009 Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK
Bachelor of Arts, Interior and Spatial Design (Hons)

2007 AA School of Architecture, London, UK
Foundation, Architecture


2020 The 17th International Architecture Biennale, Venice Italy
Curator: “Space Wars” - The Kuwait National Pavilion
(In collaboration with Yousef Awaad, Saphiya Abu Al-Maati, Asaiel Al Saeed)

2019 Royal Commission of AlUla, Small Lodging Competition, Saudi Arabia
Shortlisted: “Khat” - in collaboration with Studio Toggle

2018 Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, UAE
Winner of Art Jameel Commission: “Contrary Life | A botanical light garden devoted to trees” (in collaboration with Alia Farid)

2020 The Contemporary Art Platform, Kuwait
A Hundred Soldiers Somersaulting

2018 The Sultan Gallery, Kuwait
Culture Fair | Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

2015 DeKalb Gallery, Brooklyn, New York
Popular Games


2020 The Media Majlis, From Visionaries to Vloggers, Northwestern University, Qatar
The Chicken Nugget Alliance (curated by Hadeel AlTayeb)

2018 The Museum of Humor and Satire, Gabrovo, Bulgaria
24th Biennial of Humor and Satire

2017 The Hub, Kuwait
Women of War Exhibition
Desperate Measures
(curated by Amira Behbehani)

2017 The French Institute, Kuwait

2015 Boiler Room/Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn, New York
Signs of Life: in and out of time and space
The Bank of Collective Memory
(curated by Sarah Reisman)

2013 Edge of Arabia, London, UK
Out of Kuwait: Kissin’ Cousins (curated by David Rayson)

2013 Design Terminal, Budapest, Hungary
Kursi/A Tribute to a chair: Class of Chairs (curated by Abed AlKadiri)

2012 Museum of Modern Art, Kuwait
Landscapes Expanded: The Chicken Nugget Alliance

2018-2019 Cité Internationale des Arts
Paris, France

2016 Open Set - Kookmin University
Seoul, South Korea

2013 Out of Kuwait led by RCA Head of Painting David Rayson
Contemporary Art Platform, Kuwait

2012 Landscapes Expanded led by the National Council of Arts & Letters and The British Council
Museum of Modern Art, Kuwait


2020 “Outside the Box”, National Museum of Qatar, Doha, Qatar
2017 “GCC Narratives: National Nostalgia – The Construction of Kuwaiti Identity” Abu Dhabi Art, UAE 2016 “Arab Women Artists Now” (film screening and talk) Richmix, London, UK
2015 “Copy + Paste Syndrome”, Nuqat Conference Amricani Cultural Centre, Kuwait


+ “Mimic Men”, Nature Edition, Pfeil Magazine, Montez Press
+ “Curators Announced for “Space Wars”, the Kuwait Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2020 By Christele Harrouk, Archdaily
+ “The Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values & Peace - Woman Leaders: Aseel AlYaqoub” By May Rihani
+ “Art Jameel Names Winners of Inaugural Artist Commission” By John Chiaverina, ARTNEWS
+ “Female Role Models: The Kuwaiti Artist Challenging Perceptions through Art” By Alex Aubry, HPA + “Aseel AlYaqoub: Culure Fair” By Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Jadaliyya
+ “Top 70 2016”, Shortlisted for Blooom Award by Warsteiner
+ “Arab women artists and their long road to expression” By Rhodri Davies, AlJazeera
+ “Art of Destruction – Culture and Heritage: An Interview with Aseel AlYaqoub” by Taiba AlBisher, Kalimat Magazine


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