Ahmed Mater

Ahmed Mater

born 1979 in Saudi Arabia, lives and works in Abha, Saudi Arabia

Born into a traditional Aseeri family, Ahmed grew up in a farm, south of the Kingdom, far from the urban centers that dominate modern Saudi Arabia. When he was 18, he became a founding member of Al-Miftaha Arts Village in Abha, while simultaneously studying medicine. Ahmed co-founded the groundbreaking Edge of Arabia in 2008, and since then his work has drawn international attention, being collected by the likes of the British Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Smithsonian Museum. His interdisciplinary art, encompassing photography, calligraphy, painting, installation, performance and video, explores the narratives and aesthetics of Islamic culture in an era of rampant globalization, consumerism and transformation. His art is informed by his daily life as a medical doctor in Abha as well as by his traditional upbringing in Saudi Arabia.

His recent work delves into unofficial histories of Saudi sociopolitical life. It is concerned with the representation of traumatic events of collective historical dimensions, and the ways in which video and photography can document physical and psychological violence, that accompanies the accelerated transformation of a historically and traditionally rich place.

In March 2016, Ahmed opened Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater, his first solo exhibition at a U.S. institution in Washington D.C.’s Freer Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum.

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