Vilifying the Commodity: Understanding Black Gold

Jala Wahid, Conflagration, installation view, John Hansard Gallery, 2023. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Reece Straw

Join Dr Mohamed Hassan-Sayed, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Southampton as he discusses the history, legacy and vilification of natural substances found within oil wells in the Middle East.

The talk will be followed by a guided tour of Jala Wahid’s exhibition Conflagration, by JHG Engagement team.


About the speaker:
As well as extensive experience in industry, Dr Mohamed Hassan Sayed is the Founder and Director of Chemical Engineering at the University of Southampton. Some of his previous roles include teaching Energy and Chemical Engineering courses in Kuwait, Saudi, Egypt and the UK. Mohamed also developed the Energy and Petroleum courses at the Australian College in Kuwait and University of Portsmouth, as well as holding a role as Associate Professor at the American University in Cairo.

Mohamed worked as a project manager and a senior research fellow at the University of Surrey, centre for environmental strategy. Researching transitional pathways to low carbon technologies resulting in white papers feeding into smart metering policies, among others.

About the exhibition:
Conflagration is a new body of work by artist Jala Wahid. The work explores the relationship between Britain and Kurdistan, through the lens of oil. It explores the discovery of the Baba Gurgur oil well, following a time when Britain and France politically occupied Mesopotamia, ending in the formation of new nation states in the region’s oil resources.


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