“Referendum”, Sculptural and sound installation, 2008
This installation consists of a cardboard tree and grenades made with plaster and metal. The grenades are hung to the branches by their pins like real fruits. A barbed wire wrapped around the tree symbolizes the forbidden and the danger for curious passers-by wishing to pick a grenade. On a more surreal level, it illustrates the probability that the grenades could ripen and fall.
This installation bears a sense of ambiguity and confusion between the sweet juice of the fruit and the explosive content of the metallic objects. A tree with grenades expresses the fear and sense of insecurity created by an imposed war.
To accompany the grenade tree, NAG sets up a sound installation with sound recordings of children playing in a park. In order to make the work more interactive, she places a ballot box under the tree and within the wired perimeter. On the ballot box it reads: “Referendum for peace, vote here”. The notice invites the audience to enter the game and vote for peace. To do this, they must defy the danger, cross the barbed wire and get closer to the grenade tree to access the ballot box.
This work portrays a social discomfort and is a testimony to NAG’s life before immigration, as a child and teenager living the Islamic post-revolution era and in the midst of an imposed war. The tree with grenades is an expression of the fear and the feeling of insecurity of a childhood that involves running and hiding at every bomb alert.