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April 5, 2013 - By Osman Hassan for Khaleej Times
March 30, 2013 - By Art Daily
An estimated 45 million USD worth of artworks were exhibited at Art Dubai over the course of the four-day fair. Strong sales – including major acquisitions by collectors and visiting museum groups – were reported at Pilar Corrias (London), Nubuke Foundation (Accra), Athr Gallery (Jeddah) Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (Dubai), and Galerie Rodolphe Janssen (Brussels).
March 28, 2013 - By Shailaja Tripathi for The Hindu
Another artist whose work was widely appreciated at the fair was photographer, calligrapher and painter Ahmed Mater, whose monumental photographs document the change that is taking place in the holy city of Mecca. In his ongoing project, “The Desert of Pharan”, the artist is concerned about how construction is altering the landscape of Mecca.
March 26, 2013 - By Mohamed El Hebeishy for Arab News
In its seventh edition this year, Art Dubai hosted 75 galleries from 30 different countries showcasing the creative and artistic work of 500 artists. Saudi Arabia was represented by Athr Gallery.
March 26, 2013 - By Gareth Harris for Independent
Over in another biennial venue, an abandoned building once used by the Sharjah Islamic Bank, I was taken aback by the number of works that critique aspects of Middle Eastern society. Sarah Abu Abdallah’s ‘Saudi Automobile’ mixed-media installation, 2011, takes a swipe at Saudi Arabia’s medieval law banning women drivers. Ahmed Mater’s 2012 photography series “Desert of Pharan/Room with a View”, depicting the rampant redevelopment around Mecca, is exceptional.
March 25, 2013 - By Gareth Harris for The Art Newspaper
A Saudi collector bought an edition of a photograph from Ahmed Mater’s 2012 series “Desert of Pharan/Adam”, which caused a stir by depicting the rampant redevelopment around Mecca. The Saudi gallery Athr said that demand was high for Mater's supersized photographs of the cranes and construction work threatening to overwhelm Islam's holiest site. All three editions of the large-scale images (Artificial Light and Golden Hour, both 2012) had sold with the final edition of each work priced at $49,000.
March 22, 2013 - By Peter Aspden for Financial Times
The Saudi-based Athr Gallery is showing the work of Ahmed Mater, supersized aerial photographs of the fast-developing area around Mecca and a critique, Mater says, of overzealous planning. The pictures, all cranes and busyness, give little sense of the place’s spiritual significance. The artist points to the Grand Mosque in the centre of the picture. “This is the only thing I respect,” he says. “Not all this,” waving at the cranes. Ideally, Mater wants to show the photographs in Mecca itself. But to show them in Dubai is “testing the waters. I want to hear what thinkers, what intellectuals, think [about the issues].”
The gallery’s founder, Hamza Serafi, is more equivocal about the themes raised by Mater’s photographs. “Artists always have strong statements to make,” he says. “Some people see this as a disturbing image. But these changes are also allowing an extra 1m people to come [to Mecca].” Serafi says the art he likes to display is that which opens up issues for discussion.
March 22, 2013 - By Georgina Adam for Financial Times
Belgian collector Guy Ullens was in a spending mood at Dubai this year. Ullens went on a $1m spree to acquire Middle Eastern artists, buying Ahmad Mater at Athr gallery, Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh at Isabelle van den Eynde and Pascale Martine Tayou at Continua. He also reserved Ahmed Moualla's 12-metre long “Power and People” (2011), an apocalyptic scene that references the Arab Spring, for $300,000 at Atassi Gallery.
March 20, 2013 - By Astrid Mania for Art Agenda
Though Art Dubai might be a somewhat careful art fair—and certainly every fair has its share of “decorative” painting—a great number of its participants display works that lean towards social or political commentary—some more, some less subtle. Athr Gallery from Jeddah devotes one of their two booths to Saudi-Arabian born Sami Al Turki and his ongoing photographic series “Barzakh” (2012–). In these images of strangely hovering architectural structures against a vast expanse of cloudy skies, Al Turki makes a wry comment on the difficulties of finding a “home” in Saudi Arabia.
March 15, 2013 - By Saudi Gazeete
Twisted metallic sculptures, monumental public installations, compelling art and bold ideas - Jeddah’s Athr Art Gallery is returning to Dubai for Art Week 2013 with their most significant engagement with the city’s annual celebration of Middle Eastern and international art to date.
Twisted metallic sculptures, monumental public installations, compelling art and bold ideas - Jeddah’s Athr Art Gallery are returning to Dubai for Art Week 2013 with their most significant engagement with the city’s annual celebration of Middle Eastern and international art to date.
Renowned for their panoramic approach to supporting and highlighting artists from not only Saudi Arabia but across the Middle East in a multitude of global exhibitions, projects and collaborations, Athr Gallery’s increasing global profile has rocketed in recent months.
Participating in the gallery’s booth in Art Dubai are Ayman Yossri Daydban, Hazem Harb, Ahmed Mater, Nasser Al Salem, Sami Al Turki and Saddek Wasil.
Ayman Yossri Daydban’s work was recently shown at Art Berlin Contemporary, to widespread critical acclaim. In his ‘Subtitles Concept’ and ‘Flag Concept’ projects at Art Dubai, the Palestinian-born Jordanian/Saudi Arabian artist grapples with issues relating to identity and national histories. Palestinian-born performance and installation artist Hazem Harb is currently in the ascendant, following a successful appearance at London’s Art13 fair earlier this March. At Art Dubai, he is showing work from his ‘Beyond Memory Concept’, which uses the Israeli separation wall in occupied Palestine as a powerful metaphor for human isolation and endurance.
Ahmed Mater, now represented by Athr Art Gallery, will be making a significant contribution to the UAE’s Art Week program. As well as showing work at the Sharjah Biennial, Mater will be at Art Dubai with further excerpts from his ongoing photographic project Artificial Light/‘Desert Of Pharan. A major work which has already been acclaimed for its depth and sensitivity Artificial Light/‘Desert Of Pharan is a richly textured contemplation on the modes of social and economic evolution currently driving change in Mecca. In addition to this series, Mater will also be showing work from his internationally acclaimed ‘Illuminations Concept’ series.
Meccan artist, Nasser al Salem is showing a range of pieces that reference his background in architecture and fascination with calligraphy, blending elements of these two disciplines with powerful effect. Al Salem is one of the artist shortlisted for the Victoria and Albert Museum Jameel Prize.
Sami al Turki’s selection of photographic works highlights the ongoing progress of this exciting and talented artist. At Art Dubai, Sami Al Turki will show images from ‘Bazarkh Concept’, in which a wry yet piercing eye is cast over the artist’s experiences of finding a physical and emotional need for a home, works which echo with opposite poignancy, the title of the series - ‘Barzakh’, translating as ‘a state of in-between, neither here nor there’.