Ghada Amer’s work explores notions of femininity, gender and sexuality and defies a strict separation between fine arts and craft. Amer’s social and political engagement as a feminist and an artist reflects her experiences growing up in Egypt and France. Informed by a wide range of sources, from popular magazines and pornography to historical texts and canonical artworks, she is best known for embroidered works on canvas that challenge stereotyped and objectifying representations of women and their bodies. Her text-based and at times erotic works respond to taboos and to the limitations imposed on the human body in her home country, as well as elsewhere.
100 Words of Love is a delicately intertwined sculpture in which one hundred Arabic synonyms for the word “love” form a monumental skull. Installed on the floor, the interlaced shapes of illuminated letters project into the space and form a bond with the viewer. The openings and the spaces between words and letters create a lace-like structure that is at once tenuous and robust. In this work, Amer tackles subjects that span the globe, such as pre-determined domestic roles and the fixed perceptions of the Western media, which depicts the Arab world as engulfed in war, aggression and violence. Luminous and large, 100 Words of Love attends to what may be neglected, creating a sculpture that is at once sensual and delicate, hollow and confrontational, and that encourages the birth of new perspectives and languages.