100 Million (2022) refers to the approximate global consumption of 100 million barrels of oil each day. A harsh green light at the centre pulses at super speed in order to match this colossal number. Its severity is intentional, representing the catastrophic damage to the planet. Faced as we are with looming environmental debacle, epidemics and economic turmoil, the artist raises the question of whether it is reasonable to focus our attention anywhere else.
Yet this damage is largely illegible to the public, obscured by profit-driven consumer culture. This is illustrated by a dense fence of industrial materials in front of the pulsing light. In hiding such things, the artist conveys a message: “We withhold from ourselves the opportunity to change for the better, in the hope that the world will reform itself.”
Within the fence, however, are layers built out of palm fronds and leaves: natural, environmentally friendly construction materials traditionally used by local craftsmen. As part of Alshashai’s material-led practice, these mediums are consciously used, highlighting the possibility of moving forwards by returning to the past, to “a brighter future where we as humans, alongside the palms, could survive.”