Arwa Al Neami

Arwa Al Neami was born in Khamis Mushait, a modern city in the Asir province of Saudi Arabia. Originally from the mountain village of Rijal Alma, Arwa grew up on the King Khalid Military Airbase, where her father was military Dean. In 2000, she joined the influential Al-Meftaha Arts Village in Abha, the first art centre of its kind in southern Saudi Arabia. Having won Saudi’s prestigious Southern Region Arts Award under the patronage of HRH Prince Khaled Al-Faisal in 2005, Arwa struggled for acceptance and inclusion in the regional contemporary arts scene because of her position as a Saudi woman from a traditional background. In 2012, Arwa moved to Jeddah and began to present socio-political work to local audiences including at the historic Mostly Visible exhibition curated by Ashraf Fayadh. Since then she has exhibited across the Gulf including at Art Dubai with Athr Gallery and the British Museum’s Words & Illuminations exhibition where she presented photographs of the Radwa Al-Sharifa ceiling at the Prophet’s Mosque. In pursuit of realizing this project, Piece of Paradise, Arwa became the first female to photograph inside the Masjid Al-Nabawi in Medina—the second holiest site in Islam after the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and the second mosque built in history, holding the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad. Her latest project Never Never Land gave the title to a group show at the EOA.P gallery, curated by Amal Khalaf, project curator at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and in which Arwa participated with a first selection from the project.

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