Festival of Gratitude _ Hafez al-Assad (2022)
Size: 1080 x 1920 px,
NFT. 3D animation, continuous loop.
Medium: NFT / Video / Loop / Color / Silent
Artist Walid Raad presents a series of (occasionally, but rarely) lovingly crafted birthday cakes for some of the world’s most toxic and/or bigger-than-life leaders: dictators, strongmen and strongwomen, kings and queens, princes and princesses, emirs, sheikhs and sheikhas, sultans, shahs, emperors and empresses, popes, ayatollahs, presidents, prime ministers, CEOs, and GOATs.
Twenty cakes were created in the first batch. For every cake, there is a corresponding collection of cake slices. The number of slices is determined by the age of the ruler in 2022. All the slices from one cake look almost the same, with one key difference: the name of a special ingredient written on the edge of the stand. Half the slices are laced with poisons and the other half are infused with elixirs, making each one unique. Cake-holders will automatically receive ten random slices from their cake. The rest will be made available in a public drop.
Walid Raad is a conceptual artist and professor of art at The Cooper Union. Perhaps best known for his fourteen year project on the contemporary history of Lebanon, The Atlas Group, Raad works across media and disciplines to examine the connections between politics, violence and cultural narratives. His work has been shown around the world, including at the Venice Biennale, Istanbul Biennial, and Documenta, as well as in solo exhibitions at the Louvre, MoMA, Stedelijk Museum, ICA Boston, and Whitechapel Art Gallery.