Sunday, 16 September 2007

Ramadan Kareem

As well as being a time of spiritual and physical renewal, Ramadan also seems to be a time of domestic renewal! I have noticed a lot more furniture and other household items appearing in the trash over the past couple of days. This has already worked to my benefit and I am now the proud owner of a TV / DVD stand which looks as good as new after a serious wash and a bit of paint. Also found a large polystyrene container which is now washed and covered with a piece of fabric to make a rather funky looking table/bench. Given the financial constraints of still being a visa-less and unemployed trailing spouse on a charity budget, our apartment remains pretty empty. However, it may be possible to seriously remedy this for free by the end of the month! Kareem indeed.

I lived in Japan at the height of the boom period in the late 80s and many people really did throw out stuff that was still perfectly usable just because they could afford to. As a consequence, the only things in my Tokyo apartment that were not from the trash were bedding and utensils, so keeping an eye on the trash doesn't seem like an odd thing to do. The quality of the trash in Bur Dubai obviously cannot match the absurd standards of Tokyo in the 80s but that's OK. I have the electronic basics and am not too fussy about the furniture as long as it does the job.

Interestingly, there seem to be lots of those thin foam mattresses in the trash of the poorer apartment blocks around here which makes me wonder if employers become more beneficent about the comfort of their employees during Ramadan too.

Last week, at the XVA Gallery, someone told me the Creek Art Fair this year will have an environmental theme so getting down and dirty with the trash has given me a few ideas for Dubai specific artworks. Given that I started off as an artist by painting on trash, I suppose this is all just part of a cheapskate continuum really...

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