Art & Culture

Christie's: Dream Big II

Abdulnasser Gharem's, The Capitol Dome, to be offered in an online selling exhibition of sculpture from around the world
Abdulnasser Gharem’s, The Capitol Dome

An ambitious selling exhibition of large-scale sculpture will be held online across the summer by Christie’s Private Sales team. A highlight is Abdulnasser Gharem’s, The Capitol Dome, being offered as part of The Future is Unwritten Healing Arts initiative to support a global COVID-19 response through the arts.

Dream Big II includes artists from the Middle East, the Americas, as well as throughout Europe and India, spanning over a century of sculpture making. Included are to date the American artists Jeff Koons and Roy Lichtenstein, Switzerland by Ugo Rondinone, Italy by Giacomo Manzu, from the United Kingdom Marc Quinn, Barbara Hepworth, Barry Flanagan, the Saudi artist Abdulnasser Gharem, France is represented with works by Aristide Maillol, Gaston Lachaise, Fernand Léger, and Niki de Saint Phalle, India by Anish Kapoor and Spain through a sculpture by Salvador Dali.

Abdulnasser Gharem’s, The Capitol Dome, is being offered as part of The Future is Unwritten Healing Arts initiative to support a global COVID-19 response through the arts. As part of the World Health Organization’s solidarity series of events, Christie’s Healing Arts Auctions have been running over the course of these past two years, with works offered in a number of sales across a wide range of categories. The initiative was launched in 2020 by CULTURUNNERS in partnership with the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations and WHO Foundation and the Blessed Foundation, as part of the United Nations' 75th anniversary initiative, UN75.

Both a practicing artist and a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Saudi Army, Abdulnasser Gharem is one of the forefront contemporary artists in the Arab World, known for his intellectual courage and innovative use of materials. Gharem’s paintings, performances and installations have transformed not only the Middle Eastern, but also Western art scene by challenging people to question our global socio-political relationships and cultural perspectives.

As one of the founders of the contemporary Saudi Arabian art platform Edge of Arabia, Gharem first presented this monumental work of 400 x 400 x 500cm, as the sculptural centrepiece of the group's London exhibition #COMETOGETHER in 2012. The piece offers a continuing dialogue with Gharem's earlier Message/Messenger, sold with Christie's in 2011 for a world auction record price.

The Capitol Dome constitutes a 13-foot scaled-down replica of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., propped up by a miniature version of Thomas Crawford's nineteenth-century statue of the armed goddess Freedom. The under-side of Gharem's dome is decorated with intricate Islamic decorative motifs, hand-crafted in Morocco, which resemble a mosque interior. It offers an arranged marriage of Western Neo-Classical design and Islamic geometry. Within this juxtaposition, Gharem merely underlines the tension as a way to spark fresh conversation about democracy across West and East.