Adel Abidin wants you to see past the obvious. The 45-year-old contemporary artist creates visual installations that tackle the media we see on a daily basis – his work forces viewers to dig deeper and understand the images we are exposed to, questioning why they are there in the first place. Here’s what you need to know about the artist and his work. Background Abidin deals with universal controversial topics, but he is not a journalist or politician; he is a satirical artist born in dictatorial Iraq in the midst of Saddam Hussein’s so-called ‘personality cult’. Raised in a propaganda-driven regime that saw political media permeating people’s daily lives in the form of posters, television emissions and more, his tongue-in-cheek work is a deep-dive into the visuals and concepts we are all exposed to on a daily basis, many of which we accept implicitly and are never truly forced to question. Childhood in Iraq Abidin’s childhood in Baghdad was characterised by mixed messages. Like many Iraqis, he was exposed to conflicting narratives from his parents, his peers and the media – to him, nothing made sense. As he grew older, Abidin explains that everyone under Hussein’s rule learned to use “sarcasm, satire and double meaning to avoid punishment” in order to navigate this conflicting landscape – the same techniques he now uses as an artist to deconstruct the things we think we know. Though he is now based between Amman, Jordan and Helsinki, Finland, Abidin’s work is still a response to his childhood in Iraq. He works with multimedia installations that dismantle famous images, controversial concepts and iconic pop culture references – often with tongue-in-cheek metaphors for our preconceived notions, which he aims to destroy. The Iraqi Artist Exposing the Absurdity of Propaganda He's kind of interesting.