Ali Tareen at the Solution

Ali Tareen’s exhibit “Polidicks” at the Solution closes on April 29

Ali Tareen is frustrated by the fact that Czech people are constantly complaining about the politics of their country, however, they do not actually do anything to try and change the current situation. They talk about it over beers, but are quite passive towards attempting to fix the problems. As an artist from London, who has been living in Prague for the past six years, Tareen feels that it is his responsibility to put these complaints into his art.

Essentially, he has gathered commentary from Czechs, and put it into a visual form. He uses mixed mediums including wood, paper, canvas, t-shirts, and installation. A common theme is that all of the top Czech politicians are white males. Tareen, who is half-Pakistani and half-English, says that his work simply questions this aspect of Czech politics, without necessarily giving answers.

The Slovak Andrej Babiš, the second richest man in the Czech Republic, who is also the Finance Minister, leader of the ANO party, and owner of the Czech company Agrofert, is caricatured on a canvas on a mirrored image of the Czech Republic’s flag. It highlights the fact that he is a businessman with a huge ego, and it represents how power hungry he is. He has essentially bought his way into power, which is depicted by him carrying stuffed shopping bags, as if he were “shopping” for power. The bags are ripped, torn to demonstrate his greed, as he is filling up his bags with too much.

Across from this one, visitors should open the door to a closet in the room, where there is a portrait of the former president of the Czech Republic. According to Tareen, there is much gossip about whether he is a homosexual, but since he has never admitted it, he is still “in the closet”. He is also placing a pen into his breast pocket, which was a huge scandal years ago, because he was filmed stealing it at a diplomatic ceremony in Peru. This is juxtaposed with a sign that reads “Beware of pickpockets” which can be seen all over Prague. This is meant to point the finger back at the former president, considering that he “stole” such a very expensive pen.

A small, understated drawing of the playwright, former dissident and former President Vaclav Havel is displayed in a corner of the exhibit. Since Havel passed away, he is depicted in heaven, unclothed, looking down on the Czech Republic with his hand over his chin. The drawing is on two separate pieces of paper, with a break in the middle to represent that he is a broken man. He is unhappy, unsatisfied as a result of what is currently going on politically in the Czech Republic.

Overall, Ali Tareen’s goal for the exhibit was to play on the idea of comedy, egos, death, and sex. He has succeeded, especially in the humor aspect, and in terms of making the viewer think and question why people do not stand up for change, if they want it. Ali Tareen’s exhibit “Polidicks” at the Solution closes on April 29.

The Solution
Krymska 27, Vrsovice (Prague 10)

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