Ahmed Mater

Jeddah's Athr gallery exhibition of light aims to broaden perceptions

June 7, 2018 - Nada Hameed

JEDDAH: Athr gallery brought to Jeddah for the first time a unique art exhibition at the Serafi Mega Mall.

The show titled, “Through the spectrum,” displayed the artworks of six international artists including two Saudis, Ahmad Matir and Nasser Al-Salem.

Each artwork treated light in a different way, allowing the visitors to indulge in light through several variables and configurations. These photovoltaic compositions transcended concrete barriers, allowing them to influence the visitors.

Athr unveils immersive art exhibition — Through the Spectrum

June 1, 2018 - Mariam Nihal

The exhibited artworks are extremely technical and require a lot of experience to produce and install. But thanks to the great team of Athr, Pace and Cruz-Diez, we were able to realize it in the highest level of standard,” she added. Saudi artist Nasser Al Salem presented abstract works alluding to Allah as the source of light. The beautiful metaphorical representations in which its letters are stripped down to basic geometric lines are the first iterations derived from an earlier work by the artist. “Working on an exhibition about light, I created an installation using the word Allah. God is light, [He is the first and the last]. The work breaks the notions of illusionary space, and goes beyond nature’s limits. It uses two mirrors, one on each side, to blur the boarders between the physical and visual realms, and create an imaginary, infinite world. 

Saudi Art Council Gears Up For Annual Contemporary Art Event

February 5, 2018 - Katrina Kufer_ Harper's Bazaar Arabia

21,39 is back for its fifth edition under the theme 'Refusing To Be Still' and will show across multiple venues in Jeddah from 7 February to 5 May.

Featuring over 30 Saudi and international artists, this year’s edition of 21,39 takes a fresh look at the growing Saudi contemporary art landscape. Taking place across three venues, the main group exhibition Refusing To Be Still will be held at the Gold Moor Mall, Rubat Al Khunji and an empty PepsiCo factory. A second group exhibition is hosted at ATHR gallery entitled The Clocks Are Striking Thirteen, while a third exhibition will showcase works by Ahmed Mater in Drum Roll, Please at King Abdullah Economic City. A diverse offering of family activities, book launches and trips are also scheduled.


Saudi artist holds first US solo exhibition at the Smithsonian

March 16, 2016 - By Radwa Ashraf for The Asian

“Mater brings the rigor of his training as a physician—as well as unparalleled access—to gather frank observations of his own time and place,” said exhibition curator Carol Huh, the Freer|Sackler’s curator for contemporary art. “The resulting imagery is straightforward and striking, while his newest research-based project presents another fascinating shift in his use of the photographic medium.”

The heart of Islam on view in Washington, DC

March 15, 2016 - By Gareth Harris for the Art Newspaper

A new exhibition focusing on Saudi Arabia, the geographic heart of Islam, is due to open this week in Washington, DC. Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater at the Smithsonian Institute’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (19 March-18 September) focuses on the Jeddah-based artist’s landscape photography, which documents the rapid transformation of the ultra-conservative Middle Eastern state. 

The exhibition could not be timelier, with immigration, and how Muslims are treated and perceived, dominating the agenda in the US Presidential election campaign. The Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, for example, has called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”. 

Bold Contemporary-Art Scene Emerges in Saudi Arabia

March 15, 2016 - By Ahmed Al Omran & Margherita Stancati for The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Mater is emblematic of an outspoken new generation of Saudis who are making a name for themselves, and Saudi Arabia, in the world of contemporary art. Like Mr. Mater, some of these artists are using their work as a tool of critique, testing the limits of what is permissible in the ultraconservative kingdom.

“Art has a big role to play for change,” Mr. Mater said in an interview in his studio in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. “We are needed to push these red lines, the restrictions. It’s more interesting here than where there is freedom of expression.”

MENAM At Armory 2015

March 13, 2015 - By Danna Blog

Athr Gallery (Special Projects)
Ahmed Mater
Cowboy Code (Hadith), 2012
Pier 94: Focus Lounge
Plastic Gun Caps

8 Highlights from Omar Kholeif's Focus: MENAM Section at The Armory Show 2015

March 6, 2015

Saudi artist Ahmed Mater juxtaposes value systems with this large-scale text installation in the form of a Ten Commandments script. The work is physically made up of baby gun caps, like the ones Mater played with as a child in Saudi. He and his friends would watch westerns and imitate cowboys on TV. Excerpts from the text include: “A cowboy is free from racial and religious intolerance," and “A cowboy is a Patriot." The cowboy code is directly contrasted against the Hadith, an Islamic code bequeathed by Prophet Muhammad; fragments include “He cautioned never to be extreme or fanatic."

THE ARMORY SHOW | Day I: Snow, Art and A Spotlight on @AthrArtGallery

March 6, 2015 - By Jasmine Bager


We spoke to the co-founder of Athr, who is also the vice chairman of the Saudi Art Council, Mohammed A. Hafiz. He greeted us at their booth #542, in Pier 94. Hafiz explained the significance of text and imagery in communicating across languages—English and Arabic—in the carefully curated selections on display this year. The various pieces each hint at the flexibility of text; how language can easily morph, depending on the context. Language, he said, is not limited to the spoken word; it is also based on visual references, even subtitles in a film. The chosen artists, Ayman Yossri Daydban, Mahdi Al Jeraibi, Bakr Shaykhoon and Ahmed Mater demonstrate that in different ways.