“Saudi artists want to talk,” Ahmed Mater says. “I think the world should listen.”
The exhibit, curated by Mohammed Hafiz, is divided into Past, Present and Future and features 43 works including videos, sculptures and installations. All the works had to be approved before the display by the government, specifically by a committee of artists within the Ministry of Culture and Information.
“We don’t have the same understanding of the visual arts as our counterparts in Europe,” said Dr. Mater, who is self-taught and was an artist in residence at Al Meftaha Arts Village, a rare example of a creative oasis in the conservative kingdom.
Abdulnasser Gharem, a lieutenant colonel in the Saudi Army and a co-founder of Edge of Arabia, explained that one of the first steps to creating a formal structure was to introduce art education at a school level.
“Unlike other countries, there is very little — if any — art instruction in Saudi schools,” he said by telephone from Riyadh. “I think we have more barriers to push against than artists from many others parts of the world, but at the same time, this is how creativity flourishes.”
Read full article: Contemporary Artists Rock the Boat Gently in Saudi Arabia – NYTimes