DURING A RECENT VISIT to the Wellcome Collection in London’s Euston Road, I saw some artworks that both captured my imagination and were aesthetically pleasing. It was an exhibit by the Moroccan artist Batoul S’Himi (born 1974). Her work in the Wellcome Collection, THE WORLD UNDER PRESSURE, consists of two gas cylinders like those that are used in kitchens around the world, and a commonly used cooking utensil – a pressure cooker. Each of the three objects is empty, and each of them have bits shaped like the map of the continents of the world carefully cut out of them.
According to the label beside the exhibit:
“Common yet dangerous objects in Moroccan kitchens, these gas cylinders and pressure cooker are carved with a map of the world. Here, global anxiety intrudes into the home. The artist’s use of domestic objects hints at the unequal burden of climate breakdown, hitting vulnerable people hardest, including women and children. But perhaps there is also hope, as families start to recognise their global impact.”
This is what the artist is portraying, but I believe that along with its title, the artwork, which uses containers designed to withstand high pressures, is a great visual metaphor for the myriad of pressures the world faces today. Simple though it is, Ms S’Himi’s work is highly effective and beautifully concise in its messaging.