Restricted Frequency #168
The Ultimate Art, Immigrant Blues, and Correcting White History
1. In Search of The Ultimate Art
The need to devise a fictitious festival in the world of THE SOLAR GRID lead to the necessity of constructing a fictitious religion that this festival would be associated with. And that lead me down a rabbit hole of religious/mythological/historical research and contemplation that, although very pragmatic at its onset, lead me down (or up?) passageways that I’d never anticipated, some of which I explored in a blog post. Here’s an excerpt:
Looking at what we call “Abrahamic Religions” (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), it seems quite clear to me that all three rose out of massive social movements (whether the origin stories are based on historical fact or fiction is not the point, the point is what the stories themselves embody); Moses lead a slave rebellion, Jesus undermined the Roman Empire and disrupted a major income-generating event in Jerusalem, and Muhammad threw a wrench in Mecca's economy by renouncing their multi-deity belief system (and the idols they produced and traded in). It seems to me that there's a strong correlation between the economic disruption of the ruling class through massive social upheaval and the birth of new faiths. Typically, very much based on the ethos surrounding that particular upheaval or as a necessary tendency to break away from the dominant faith of the time that came before said upheaval.
France certainly experienced serious (and even violent) de-Christianization during the French Revolution, giving rise one might say to the “Faith of Reason”. Following the Russian Revolution, the Soviet Union sought to stomp out all religious practice and instead establish what it called “Scientific Atheism”, but one could say the actual new faith that took hold (at least for a time) was that of Communism, with Marx and Lenin held as its saintly prophets.
2. ArteEast Legacy Trilogy
Over at Artsy, ArteEast has staged an online exhibition of over 50 artists from the Middle East, North Africa and diasporas, where the piece above (Immigrant Blues #3: Molokheya) is being shown. Although I am not the biggest fan of artists being appointed national, regional, or racial distinctions, I’d be lying if I didn’t say the exhibition is hella impressive and it is certainly some very fine company to be in. Check it out for yourself.
3. Immigrant Blues #4 and #5
Coincidentally, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan commissioned two new Immigrant Blues pieces for their permeant collection, and I came up with the two pictured above.
Immigrant Blues #4: Hakeem - Spend enough time with the piece (especially up close and personal) and you should be able to make out that the primary text in the background reads “By 2020, tweeting had become the chief theatre of debate in America about healthcare.” The single Arabic word in the dialogue balloon reads “the wiseman”, with the footnote at the bottom saying “*or wisewoman”.
Immigrant Blues #5: Woshoosh - The dialogue balloon in this one roughly reads: “I swear I’ve forgotten what people’s faces look like.” Pretty self-explanatory. Hopefully though my immigrant feels will be taking a turn for the better pretty soon, because my first dose is a-comin’, baby!! 🤞
All Immigrant Blues works are Mixed Media on Paper, about 22”x30” (56 x 76 cm). Possibly my only “diaristic” art series. One that I’d like to continue to do about 1-3 every year, I think.
4. The Tanta Museum of White History
Once in office, the new president spearheaded the formation of an alliance of Western states committed to climate change denial. Climate change believers were imprisoned, while environmentalist organizations and think tanks were accused of performing the “devil’s work” and closed down.
The pace of climate change accelerated, and huge swathes of Europe and the Americas were affected by rising sea levels. The state of Louisiana was submerged in its entirety, and melting ice at the North Pole flooded most of Denmark and Sweden and rendered Northern Europe largely uninhabitable.
Then the pandemic struck. Although scientists showed that the virus had been trapped under permafrost and released by rising temperatures, the US evangelical pope chose to call it the “African virus,” a designation quickly adopted across much of the West.
In collaboration with China and other Asian and African countries, Muslim Arab nations worked furiously to develop a vaccine for the virus and halt climate change—efforts in which Western nations refused to participate. Led by renowned Indian scholar Dr. Roy Sontag, a team of scientists soon succeeded in developing an effective vaccine.
The vaccine was found to have an unforeseen side effect for white people: it led to an increase in skin pigmentation, which made white-skinned individuals turn brown or black.
Read on, because this darkly hilarious vision of the future by Ahmed Naji (illustrated by moi), is a masterclass in social commentary doused in wonderful sarcasm.
5. Thirty Nine
In celebration of my crossing the 39 year-old threshold of Earthly existence, and before I enter the realm of 40 and after where my bodily functions begin to fail, I am bestowing an encapsulation of my current visage onto anyone who orders anything from the Garage during the first 10 days of April.
Is this some kind of joke?
Absolutely. It is, however, a practical one, so you still get a signed photo, haha.
Hope you’ve been well, and that things are looking up for you with the arrival of Spring, which has always been my favorite time of year (well duh, Spring baby obviously).
All my best,