Josh Kline’s Artwork Graces the Cover of Fatima Al Qadiri’s Next Record

They share a passion for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The cover of Fatima Al Qadiri's forthcoming record, Brute.
The cover of Fatima Al Qadiri's forthcoming record, Brute.

Musician and artist Fatima Al Qadiri has tapped artist Josh Kline and art director Babak Radboy to design the cover of her new release, Brute, due out in March from the label Hyperdub. Their shared interests made Kline a fitting choice; both he and Al Qadiri were inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement’s indictment of police brutality, Kline told artnet News by phone.

The cover displays the face of a Teletubby behind the mask of a SWAT officer, an image familiar to those who saw Kline’s imposing work Freedom at last year’s New Museum Triennial.

In the installation, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street encampment, life-size, doll-faced SWAT team members stood in a room featuring a video showing a fantasy version of an Obama State of the Union address. Al Qadiri composed the soundtrack, which was, as Kline describes it, a tragic and melancholy adaptation of the Star-Spangled Banner. Writing for artnet News, critic Paddy Johnson deemed Freedom one of the best examples in a strong show.

Al Qadiri’s Brute “explores the theme of authority, the relationship between police, citizens and protest worldwide, particularly of her adopted home in the United States,” according to Hyperdub. Kuwaiti-born Al Qadiri is also a member of the artist collaborative GCC, and participated in Rhizome’s 2013 Seven on Seven conference, where she collaborated with technologist Dalton Caldwell.

Radboy’s contribution, Kline pointed out, was to lend greater animation to the Teletubby’s face and give the eyes more emotion. The art director was a principal member of artist collective Shanzhai Biennial and is creative director at Bidoun magazine, and his clients include Hugo Boss and Kanye West.

Besides having known Al Qadiri for more than a decade, Kline said, he’s a big admirer of her music. Her previous release, Asiatisch (2014), explored the West’s exploitation of Asian stereotypes; Pitchfork deemed its “immaculate emptiness” a masterstroke, saying that it serves as a sonic analogue for the hollowing effect of endless cultural appropriation.


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