Shedding; is a life sized cast made of felted sheep wool resulting from the artists’ exploration of funerary rituals as an act of re-birth. The work takes the form of an effigy, capturing the likeness of the artist, a form of self portraiture.

The cast is created through a participatory process in which the wool is laid and assembled directly onto the body, consequently wetted and felted by the hands of others. Felt is an ancient task entailing the compression and entangling of animal fibers through friction, moisture, and heat—it is considered the oldest form of textile making. Through this communal ritual, intimate association transpires between bodies, both human and other-than-human, as the biomass of the sheep becomes formed into an impression of a human body, raveling and unraveling conceptions of self and other, life and death, hinting at Derrida’s discourse on the auto-biographical animal,  ‘The Animal That I Therefore Am’.

Having worked with fibrous materials to create momentous tapestries, this particular intervention extends to a personal act of self actualization. The white wool envelopes the human body in the form of a cocoon which consequently sheds; mimicking nature’s performativity of transformation. The body’s emergence from this process of assimilation with the sheep creating lasting impressions on all bodies.

The cast is finally displayed alongside a divergent archeology of mundane and natural artifacts from plastic bags to snake skins coined ‘sheddings’, collected by the artist during his stay in KSA, suggesting their dialectical interrelations. The found objects are juxtaposed as things in themselves and in relation to each other, becoming animate/empowered agents within a larger narrative, no longer passive or lacking purpose.

Text by Tara Al Dugaither

During Intermix, an art residency for the Saudi Ministry of Culture, the Visual Arts Commission and the Fashion Commission

© 2023