The Cultural Identity Shop – An Installation by Nawar Al Kazemi


Nawar Al Kazemi 12th December 2019 to 9th January 2020

The Cultural Identity Shop Installation, a research-based project.

Nawar N. Al-Kazemi is a designer، a design critic, and the founder of Square One Creative Lab, 2017. She holds Master of Fine Arts in Design Criticism from The School of Visual Arts, Manhattan, NY. Her research focuses on design education and its role in bridging the growing gap between design and cultural identity, specifically in the Arabian Gulf countries. A strong believer in design possibilities, Nawar seeks to emphasize the integral role of design critique, which to her once properly applied, leads to a healthy creative eco-system that would greatly benefit the creative community in Kuwait.

This installation focuses on the notion of cultural identity in the context of the collective memory, and our relationship with our identity. 

With the rise of consumerism worldwide, particularly in Kuwait where this research is based, this project seeks to question how cultural identity is viewed as a commodity, like a brand, lacking deeper understanding of what it means to be “Kuwaiti?” The project started with interviews conducted with people who have ties with Kuwait, both locals and non-locals, asking them to share personal experiences that shape their contribution to cultural identity through visuals, colours, and other elements. Ten recurring responses were selected from the responses along with the various associated narratives, this installation was designed, mimicking a store’s experience, and referencing the increasing intertwine between consumerism and national identity today. The outcome is based on our conversation with people, they further elaborated on their responses of the surveys they completed beforehand. I created objects that represented each of the ten responses, using white gypsum, a material that communicates raw aesthetics, replacing colour with people’s narratives, which gave each object its significance as perceived by people.