His Royal Highness


Plaster, paint, rusted metal, found objects, rigid foam, antique washing board, toys

55" x 45" x 22"

Using the moniker of monarchy tongue-in-cheek, His Royal Highness conveys dictatorship as a technology with moving gears and transmitting parts. At center, a nest of gilded media alternately resembles a royal throne or a wall of blaring speakers (carrying sound waves through brass rods at bottom). Meanwhile, the surrounding structures and foliage are shrouded by gray drab. Walls are fragmented or broken, pushed against and through each other like so many tectonic plates. Above, a hovering plane installed on the wall heightens a sense of dreaded spectacle. What Hafez renders spectacular here is the space-making and space-dictating power of the throne -- the only structure remaining architecturally intact.

His Royal Highness

A digital program, with student curated research materials, for the exhibition Critical Refuge: Sculptures by Mohamad Hafez on view at the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, August 30 - December 20, 2017.

This project is generously sponsored by the YALE Digital Humanities Laboratory, the Council on Middle East Studies, the Public Humanities Program and the Whitney Humanities Center.