Anthropecene’s Toll A Planet Asphyxiated: Zahrah Al-Ghamdi’s Exploration of Cultural Identity | Savoir Flair
Anthropecene’s Toll A Planet Asphyxiated: Zahrah Al-Ghamdi’s Exploration of Cultural Identity
by Assele Kahwaji 3-minute read February 27, 2024

Zahrah Al-Ghamdi's unique exploration of identity and memory unfolds at the prestigious Richard Mille Art Prize

Located in between a cluster of walls at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabian visual and land artist Zahrah Al-Ghamdi’s Anthropocene’s Toll: A Planet Asphyxiated is a profound exploration of the layers of cultural identity. As one of the eight finalists in the esteemed Richard Mille Art Prize 2023, Al-Ghamdi employs traditional architecture but utilizes a unique blend of mediums and assemblage techniques to unveil the intricacies of cultural identity, memory, and loss.

Responding to this year’s theme of ‘Transparencies,’ Anthropocene’s Toll: A Planet Asphyxiated offers a visual translation of the cultural essence embedded within architectural structures. Departing from conventional sculpting techniques, Al-Ghamdi uses a diverse array of materials, including soil, clay, rocks, leather, and water. Each element is carefully assembled to create a captivating visual narrative that invites viewers to contemplate the intricate layers of cultural identity and history.

Al-Ghamdi's career in the arts has been marked by a dedication to exploring memory and tradition through site-specific installations. Her work demonstrates an arduous and meticulous process, bringing together elements of the earth to convey the diverse aspects of cultural identity. As a curator and practicing artist, Al-Ghamdi's deep understanding of the arts informs her interdisciplinary approach, blending tradition with contemporary applications to create sensorially invested pieces.


Anthropocene’s Toll: A Planet Asphyxiated is a poignant homage to the traditional architecture of Al-Ghamdi's hometown in the Southwestern region of Saudi Arabia. As she delves into the memory and history embedded within these structures, the installation captures the essence of heritage. Through this, Al-Ghamdi invites viewers to contemplate the impact of the Anthropocene era, which started in 1950 when industrialization prompted the Great Acceleration – a dramatic increase in human activity. Here, her thought-provoking art vividly portrays the consequences this level of human activity took on the planet.

As visitors engage with the sculpture, they are encouraged to consider the intricate layers of identity and history embedded within each element. The installation is a glimpse into the past while simultaneously engaging with the pressing issues of the present, prompting viewers to reflect on the intricate web of connections that define our collective human experience.

Visit the captivating ‘Transparencies’ Art Prize exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi, open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 8:30pm until March 31st, 2024.

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