The word ‘conflagration’ brings to mind images of an inferno – disaster, widespread fire and destruction. Indeed the show presents Wahid’s new body of work which explores the relationship between Britain and Kurdistan through the lens of oil.
The artist often focuses on questions of national identity and diaspora and how these issues manifest in culture. For Conflagration, Wahid uses the motif of of the Baba Gurgur oil well, which until 1948 was considered the largest oil field in the world. Its history, political and symbolic significance are highlighted through the mediums of sculpture, video, sound and text, including recordings of oil drilling rigs, archival material found in the National Archives and the British Petroleum archives and the artist’s own voice.
At the centre of the show, visitors will find a large sculpture Sick Pink Sun (03:00 14.10.1927 – ) which acts as a memorial for the exact moment that the Baba Gurgur well was struck.