Ahmed Mater

At Frieze London, the Art World Inches Toward Normalcy

October 15, 2021 - Scott Reyburn for The New York Times

The fairs, exhibitions and auctions of “Frieze Week” are in-person events once more. But the art world has changed, and so has Britain.

“Focus” section, devoted to 35 younger galleries, dealers were also showing pieces that made visitors stop and think. The Saudi Arabian gallery Athr displayed “Eagle,” a provocative sculpture by the Riyadh-based artist Ahmet Mater realistically modeled as a missile-laden “Predator” drone, covered in sand.

Read More >>

In Conversation With Curators, Hamza Serafi And Munira Al Sayegh, On Why Now Is The Time To Invest In Saudi Arabia's Art Scene

July 20, 2021 - Wided Rihana Khadraoui - Harper's Bazaar Arabia

“The role of collectors is essential to art movements and culture, both in Saudi Arabia and internationally,” says Hamza Serafi, a self-taught artist and co-founder of Jeddah’s Athr Gallery, one of the country’s leading cultural and commercial art spaces. “Collectors play a massive role in the world of contemporary art.”

The Kingdom’s art scene is undeniably flourishing with the support from the government, at an unprecedented rate. “We are experiencing and living through one of the most current movements which covers the whole spectrum.” Like neighbouring Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in the arts and culture sector, building new museums and hosting exhibitions and events to encourage a whole new generation of art lovers.

 

 

Read More >>

10 must-see pieces at Noor Riyadh: the installations lighting up Saudi Arabia's capital city

March 25, 2021 - Melissa Gronlund - The National

The Noor Riyadh festival of light and art is running until April 3, held at sites across Saudi Arabia's capital city.

An exhibition of historical artworks that use light, from international explorations in the 1960s and 1970s to more recent works from the kingdom, is also on until June 12 at the King Abdullah Financial Centre.

4. 'Diwans of the Unknown' by Dana Awartani (2021). Location: Light Upon Light, King Abdullah Financial Centre

Arranged like a miniature screen, in Diwans of the Unknown the Palestinian-Saudi artist Dana Awartani projects lines of poetry from female poets of the pre-Islamic age to the 12th century. The phrases are stitched into gauzy sheets of silk that are lit from the side, so that the words float like ghosts from another age. The work is a continuation of Awartani’s 2018 large-scale sound installation, in which the whispers of these poems swirled around gravestone-like silk cloths, embroidered in complex geometry.

Read More >>

Light in a time of darkness

March 24, 2021 - By AFP - Global Times

As the world slowly begins to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia seeks to reengage its population with cultural activities. Noor Riyadh - which translates from Arabic to "Light of Riyadh" - is a citywide light and art festival illuminating the Saudi capital of Riyadh for the next three months.

Due to the global pandemic, 2020 was hardly characterized by cultural events or communal gatherings. But globally, society has gradually begun to emerge from a state of self-preservation, lockdowns and solitude, and begun a return to normalcy. As the Saudi public re-integrates into post-pandemic society, the Noor Riyadh festival aims to transform urban spaces into art that immerses and engages the community.

The second half of the festival, which takes the theme "Light Upon Light," is a retrospective exhibition tracking light art from the 1960s to the present. It runs until June 12 in the King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center.

Saudis are eager to leave the challenges of 2020 behind and look to a "brighter future," according to Director of Riyadh Art Khaled Al-Hazani. The festival, "a celebration of light and art on an unparalleled scale," has already proven popular with Saudis, who have flocked to see the exhibitions on display. Lulwah Al Homoud, one of the Saudi artists exhibiting her work, considers the inaugural festival as the beginning of a "golden age of Saudi art," she says.

Read More >>

Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present

March 23, 2021 - Rebecca Anne Proctor _ Arab News

The artworks, which encompass a range of media, including music, sculpture and performance, can be found in two main areas: The King Abdul Aziz Historical Center and the King Abdullah Financial District, where visitors can also view “Light Upon Light,” an exhibition of light art from the 1960s to the present, which is on view until June 12.
While the global art community will have to view the artworks virtually, Saudis have already been flocking to the venues in record numbers.
“One of the most critical aspects of Vision 2030 is the flourishing of the Saudi creative economy, which we are trying to foster, and this is one of the main highlights of Noor Riyadh as a program,” Anas Najmi, adviser to the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, told Arab News. “Despite all of the challenges of the pandemic, we managed to give the experience to 15,000 visitors in just one day. Secondly, over 1,200 jobs were created as part of the Noor Riyadh festival, half of which are for Saudis.”

Read More >>

‘Light Upon Light’ a groundbreaking lighting extravaganza for Saudi culture

March 21, 2021 - Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — The “Light Upon Light” Exhibition, which is being held at the King Abdullah Financial District as part of the first edition of Noor Riyadh, is the largest group art exhibition that monitors the artistic movement in the lighting arts since 1960s until todate.

It includes 30 masterworks of light art divided into four sectional “rays” that survey light as an artistic medium: “Perceiving Light,” “Experiencing Light,” “Projecting Light,” and “Environmental Light.” Each ray blends time and unites established artists of diverse geographic origin.

From immersive installation to video and sculpture, visitors to “Light Upon Light” will experience a richly illuminated exhibition in all its spatial and sensory phenomena. This historical presentation of light art is a groundbreaking event for culture in Saudi Arabia. Noor Riyadh, one of the world’s most exciting festivals of light and art combining the highest quality of light artworks across the city, began on March 18 and will run through until April 3. Filled with spectacular installations, the fest will light up the night sky of the capital city of Riyadh.

The “Projecting Light,” pavilion presents artworks that use the transmission of light to create the work instead of focusing on light as a medium. In 2019, Saudi artist Sultan Bin Fahd worked on the art piece titled “Once he was a ruler”, which is a collection of photographs, in which ancient sculptures depicting the kings of the ancient Lihyan Kingdom in Northern Arabia are shown, where he modified them by placing layers of X-ray images, and these images were collected, superimposed in illuminated light boxes at the event.

Through his abstract drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations, the artist tackled cultural issues related to his homeland in the Kingdom. The artist also re-narrates historical stories and novels using art, and transmits these narratives through contemporary means to reconstruct them with a personal character.

While Saudi artist Dana Awartani is participating in the event with her work “Divan Al Majhoul 2021, which combined textiles, hand embroidery and poetry.

Read More >>

"نور الرياض"..السعودية تشهد انطلاق احتفالية تبرز إبداع فن الضوء

March 19, 2021 - CNN Arabic

دبي، الإمارات العربية المتحدة (CNN) -- شهدت المملكة العربية السعودية، مساء الخميس، انطلاق احتفالية "نور الرياض" والتي تضمنت عرض أعمال فنية تفاعلية تعتمد على الإضاءة في مواقع متعددة بأنحاء مدينة الرياض

وتضمنت الاحتفالية مشاركة 60 من كبار الفنانين في مجال فنون الإضاءة، ينتمون لأكثر من 20 دولة حول العالم، منهم 23 من الفنانين السعوديين، وفقاً لوكالة الأنباء السعودية "واس"

 

وتشتمل احتفالية "نور الرياض" على 60 عملاً فنياً، تضم جميع أشكال فنون الضوء، من بينها أعمال تاريخية وهندسية وضوئية، ومنحوتات، وعروض للإضاءة، وعروض تفاعلية، وقطع حركية، وتركيبات وأعمال خارجية، ومجموعة من أشكال الفن الخفيف، يتاح لسكان وزوار مدينة الرياض الاستمتاع بها عن قرب في مختلف أرجاء المدينة، مع تخصيص مركزين رئيسين للاحتفالية في كلٍ من مركز الملك عبدالله المالي ومركز الملك عبدالعزيز التاريخي بالمربع

Read More >>

Christie’s, WHO Foundation and UN75 unveil global art initiative to support Covid-19 response

October 8, 2020 - The Business Standard Report

Christie's, the WHO Foundation and UN75 on Thursday unveiled "The Future is Unwritten", healing arts auction series, to support a global Covid-19 response through the arts.

As part of The Future is Unwritten's initiative to engage the international art world in UN priority areas, and World Health Organisation (WHO) Solidarity Series of Events, the auction series aims to increase awareness around a global path to recovery and raise critical funds to mobilise artists and health professionals in support of communities most vulnerable, at-risk and with the weakest health systems to act effectively in response to the pandemic, says a press release. 

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, said, "This initiative represents a unique opportunity for the art world to step up to this global challenge and support communities on the front line of the pandemic, ensuring everyone, everywhere has the tools they need to overcome it."

Read More >>

Saudi artist Ahmed Mater’s ‘Magnetism’ to go under the hammer in COVID-19 auction

October 7, 2020 - Arab News Report

AMSTERDAM: Saudi artist Ahmed Mater’s acclaimed work “Magnetism” will be the first item under the hammer in The Future is Unwritten’s Healing Arts Auction series, beginning next month. The series is a joint project between Christie’s, the WHO Foundation and UN75 which, according to a press release, “aims to increase awareness around a global path to recovery (from the COVID-19 pandemic) and raise critical funds to mobilize artists and health professionals in support of communities most vulnerable, at-risk and with the weakest health systems to act effectively in response to the pandemic.” All proceeds will go to the WHO Foundation and The Future is Unwritten’s Artist Response Fund, which supports artist-led projects “that directly facilitate community healing and healthcare messaging in the aftermath of the pandemic.”

Read More >>

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.