“I always loved art and as soon as I graduated from school I opened my own studio at home. I started to collect things around me and produce art from them,” says Al Saadi, who was born and continues to live in his modest family home in Madha, a small village on the UAE-Oman border.
Just like his diary, which is an indispensable part of the UAE Pavilion catalogue, Al Saadi’s land art is a reflection of his life, and his works are a hint of his personal stories.
For example, the artist says he went through a period of gathering dead insects, which he remembered from his childhood, followed by a decade-long obsession with sweet potato, once a dietary staple in the area, and which his father, a farmer, used to cultivate.
Al Saadi’s most recent exhibition, relives more such memories. It showed a series from 1998 called My Mother’s Letters – a poignant collection of objects that his mother used to leave behind in his studio to let him know she had visited while he was out. Also on display was The Watermelon Series, watercolour impressions of the mountains inspired by his 4-year-old son, who once said that the triangle-shaped watermelon he was eating resembled a hill.