A pioneer of sculpture in Kuwait, Sami Mohammad takes the human body as a point of departure in order to explore love, freedom and the human condition. Mohammad’s focus on the human body intensified in 1970, after he finished his studies at Cairo’s College of Fine Arts and returned to Kuwait. There, he completed a number of important public monuments, including his 1971 monumental sculpture of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, who ruled Kuwait from 1950 to 1965. During the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, much of Mohammad’s work was destroyed. Not only was Mohammad one of a number of artists exiled in Doha, but he also had to flee from Iraqi soldiers who tried to capture him in order to force him to make a sculpture of Saddam Hussein.
Like much of Mohammad’s largely expressionist oeuvre, Attempt to Escape 3 is a poignant political and social critique. In it, a male figure struggles to break away in what constitutes a provocative reference to the political blindness of many ruling systems in the Arab world. After Mohammad sculpted this original version, Mathaf commissioned a larger-than-life sized version that is now permanently installed in the museum’s Sculpture Garden. Mohammad sees this work — as well as the series of which it is part and his oeuvre as a whole — as optimistic in its suggestion that difficulties can be overcome and that one can move forward despite obstacles, both physical and psychological.