Minister Sacked After Yoda Ends Up In A Saudi Arabian Textbook
The Black And White Image Showed Saudi Arabia's Third Monarch Chilling With The Jedi Master.
High schoolers in Saudi Arabia unexpectedly found the Force was with them upon opening their textbooks and discovering a photograph of Yoda from the Star Wars films. But the image of the mighty Jedi Master appeared alongside the late King Faisal, then a Saudi prince, as he signed the United Nations Charter in 1945.
The satirical work was created by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shehri, known more commonly by his nickname Shaweesh, who has made a name for himself by creating art that challenges the status quo in the strict Muslim country.
However, the young graffiti artist was just as perplexed as everyone else as to how his artwork ended up published in a history textbook.
Created in 2013, United Nations – Yoda & King Faisal was part of a series by Shaweesh in which he digitally diffused pop art, pop culture, iconic superheroes and Western cartoons with political scenes and important historical moments.
Other photo montages in the same series include a refugee looking down at Captain America digitally imposed on an image of Fallujah from 1949, and Darth Vader pictured with Emir Faisal - a future king of Iraq - and Lawrence of Arabia at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference in Versailles.
The artist says his inspiration for the series came about after looking through photo archives and finding a picture of late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat standing next to Mickey Mouse during a trip to Disneyland.
Although his image of Faisal and the famous movie character was included in the textbook by mistake, and Shaweesh says he “meant no offense to the king at all”, his artwork was met with mixed reactions in the conservative country.
King Faisal was a loved and respected leader in Saudi Arabia, who banished slavery and established notable ties with the West, building a strong allyship with the United States.
Shaweesh explains, “He was wise and was always strong in his speeches. So I found that Yoda was the closest character to the king.”
While the artist received some praise, someone had to take the fall. A Saudi education official was fired, and the textbook was withdrawn from circulation.
PHOTO CREDIT: SHAWEESH/GHAREM STUDIO