The town of Al-Awamia, situated in the eastern Saudi province of Al-Qatif, is under a dire blockade, enforced by the Saudi army since last month. The province of Al-Qatif is home to a large Shiite population, and, following the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr along with 46 prisoners last year, tensions in the region still remain quite dense. The province of Al-Qatif, contrary to other regions of the peninsula, is opponent to the Saudi regime, where intense demonstrations against the regime is not a rare occurrence. This strategically key region, which has one of the most important ports of the country that opens to the Persian Gulf, has been subject to violent repressions. The repression of Shiite population in Al-Qatif is not a new occurrence, as the residents of the province have experienced, since 1913, multiple forms of violence, which intensified further after 1970s. When Al-Qatif was occupied by the Wahhabite Emirate of Ryad, the predominantly Shite population of the region started to experience some repressions that worsened as the time passed. The arbitrary detention and often unlawful persecution of the population by the Saudi regime stirred powerful demonstration in Al-Qatif, the scale of which considerably increased with the Arab Spring of 2010. Especially, the protests on December 2012 were particularly invincible.
Have you heard of the exposition, ‘Marco Decorpeliada, Schizometre’, which took place in 2010, at the Maison Rouge of Paris? If you had visited this unique exposition, you could have discovered the works of this regular of psychiatric hospitals, diagnosed not only with 20.8, which means schizophrenic troubles, but also with 40.1, social anxiety disorder. His works, of outsider art, went against the idea of classification itself. There was a little scandal involved in his exhibition: Marco was himself an artwork, a construction, a fiction. Yann Diener, in the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, recounts the extraordinary story of Marco. Whole exhibition was the idea of a group of psychiatrists and writers who wanted to mock the DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — at first American, but today used internationally—, a manual that transforms all our gestures and thoughts into a pathological problem. This joyous group, inspired as much by Perec as by Freud and Lacan, has put together an exhibition of works attributed to an adept of psychiatry, a personage of their invention, Marco Decorpeliada.