Mohammed Al-Kouh

Mohammed Al-Kouh
Kuwait
Born in 1984, Mohammed Al Kouh lives and works in Kuwait.

Bio

Al-Kouh is a self-taught artist who has explored different aspects of art since childhood. After graduating from Kuwait University with a BA in Business Administration and Marketing, Al-Kouh took his passion to a new level. As a child he was captivated with the idea of “Stealing Souls and Keeping Them in Negatives”. He began to photograph everything he wished not to lose, and photography became his way to steal his favourite moments in life and keep them in his closet. Growing up facing difficulties to adapt with reality he developed a great nostalgia for an era he never lived in, an era where everything was romantic and beautiful. With his sensitive photographic techniques he reinterprets his subconscious in staged realities that create a contrast between past and present, which result in “what looks like a dream that allows him to be here and there…”

Portfolio

Invasion / Qasr AlSalam

A reinterpretation of childhood memories as an adult.

Mohammed Alkouh was born in Kuwait in 1984. When the Iraqi invasion happened in 1990 his family moved to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia where they stayed until the war finished and they were able to return to Kuwait. The artist has vivid childhood memories of Kuwait in the 80s, which he describes as “so calm and peaceful, beautiful with an aging glamour with so many potentials. The streets, houses, public spaces, gardens and buildings were more colourful, giving me a feeling of abundance of everything. There was so much love from the people to each other and what they created around them”.

As a child, Alkouh did not understand the concept of war, yet he witnessed the events unfold and their impact on Kuwait. He started to research that war through memories, what he remembered and by asking his family and associates what they remembered about the same events. He travelled to Saudi to visit his old school and the modest apartment that housed his family of seven, and the surrounding buildings in this area of Riyadh.

The project is about Alkouh’s formative experiences before, during and after the invasion and conflict with Iraq. As Kuwait changed dramatically after the war, the severely damaged Qasr AlSalam became a powerful symbol and visual representation of the consequences of war, and the impact it had on the lives of Kuwaiti people. Prior to the palace’s restoration and re-opening in October 2019, he photographed its near derelict interiors and painstakingly hand-coloured the prints to illuminate details of the architecture and symbolically bring the building back to life. In doing so, the artist has re-awakened both his personal memory and the collective memory of Kuwaiti people who lived through the invasion and its aftermath.