If you live in Jeddah, chances are you’ve come across inflated, larger-than-life posters of Ahlam Alshamsi. The woman behind the blown-up images of the Arab celebrity––scattered across the otherwise vacant land––is Saudi artist Ahaad Alamoudi. “[The installation] is my perception of the dimensionalities of the internet and its virtual realms. A place where information is distributed and fostered, and where many popular celebrities, including Ahlam, reside,” explains the London-based artist, speaking to Vogue Arabia.
The installation “Land of Dreams” was carefully thought out by Alamoudi. The artist—who credits pioneering Saudi Arabian painter Safeya Binzagr, Snoop Dogg’s Instagram feed, and “the guy who performed Tawaf on a hoverboard” as inspirations—began by pin-dropping a location on her personal Instagram account that led unsuspecting bystanders to the “Land of Dreams.” The artist recalls: “I wanted the viewer to come with their own notion and interpretation of their land of dreams—and then be subjected to Ahlam scattered across an empty plot of land.”
When asked why she chose the sharp-witted Emirati popstar as her muse, the graphic design major explains, “Ahlam is one of many central pop figures in Arab culture; she comes with her own connotations and meanings, all obtained through her career as an Arab pop singer.” Alamoudi goes on to admit that she is intrigued by Arab celebrities, particularly the singers. “The transitions these celebrities go through to stay relevant in this current time is very captivating to me, and are all documented and archived online.”
“Ahlam is just here to subject us to the realities we live in today,” says the 25-year-old. Whether or not the singer has seen Alamoudi’s installation or not is uncertain, but the artist reveals she would “love to hear her views on the work.”