Elements from “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” come together to comment on current sociopolitical realities in Sama Alshaibi’s sculptural installation “The Cessation,” at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Alshaibi has worked with themes of conflict, gender, and migration throughout her career. Best known as a photographer, she is chair of the Photography, Video and Imaging program at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her work often includes sculptural or video elements. Her sculptural installation “The Cessation” is included in the State of the Art 2020 exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Curatorial team Lauren Haynes, Alejo Benedetti, and Allison Glenn chose 61 artists to participate in the exhibition, and created four contextual frameworks to consider the contemporary artworks: world-building, sense of place, mapping, and temporality. “The Cessation,” which was originally created at and for the Artpace residency program in San Antonio, Texas, is presented as part of the “sense of place” category, as the project addresses migration, war, and gender in her native country of Iraq.