Edge of Arabia- Challenging Art Reveals Unexpected Side of Saudi Arabia
The MBI Al Jaber Foundation is one of the major sponsors of a pioneering exhibition, organised by Offscreen Education, which is set to open a new window into the largely unknown contemporary culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
This October a new generation of artists are being invited to London to take part in the first comprehensive exhibition of contemporary Saudi art ever to be staged in the UK.
‘Edge of Arabia, Art and Identity in the Land of the Prophet’ will feature the work of 15 leading Saudi contemporary artists, male and female, whose work explores the complex and diverse identities of 21st century life in the Kingdom. The work is both modern and Islamic, capturing a historic moment of rapid change in Saudi Arabian society and its relationship with the wider world.
The exhibition will run from 13th October 13th December at the SOAS Brunei Gallery, University of London. It is supported by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture, the University of London, the British Council, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, amongst other bodies.
Curator Stephen Stapleton describes the work in the exhibition as pioneering and unexpected. “The artworks we have chosen are not what you might expect from what is perceived as one of the world’s most conservative societies. The results are as educational as they are inspiring and I can’t wait to see how a London audience reacts.”
The issues addressed are as much micro and domestic as they are global. The artists have chosen not to focus on negative perceptions of the Middle East or artistic and intellectual clichés associated with the region and instead show us a contemporary world view that is as unpredictable as it is beautiful.
The contemporary art scene in Saudi is nascent which makes this exhibition a ground-breaking event. Many of the artists combine their creative life with full-time or part-time employment:
Ahmed Mater Al Ziad Aseeri, is a practising doctor in the Southern Arabian city of Abha. He uses X-rays and medical notation in his work, exploring his beliefs in the world of modern medicine in relation to his Muslim faith.
Manal Al Dowayan is a female photographer, brought up on the compound of Saudi’s largest oil company, whose bold, uncompromising photographs explore her dual identity.
Abdulnasser Gharem is a policeman and an artist; he uses both video installation and performance to explore the impact of consumer culture and environmental change in the birthplace of Islam.
Edge of Arabia Artists: Faisal Samra (Bahrain), Ahmed Mater Al-Ziad Aseeri (Abha, KSA), Abdulaziz Ashour (Jeddah, KSA), Manal Al-Dowayan (Dhahran), Yosef Jafa (Maccah, KSA), Mahdi Al Jeraibi (Maccah, KSA), Shadia Alem (Jeddah/Paris), Raja Alem (Jeddah/Paris), Ayman Yossri Daydban (Jeddah, KSA), Reem Al Faisal (Paris), Abdulnasser Gharem (Khamis Mashet, KSA), Al Ruzaiza (Riyadh, KSA), Lulwah Al-Homoud (London & Riyadh, KSA), Sameer Al Daham (Riyadh, KSA) and Mohammed Farea Ali (Riyadh, KSA).
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