News

‘Symbolic Cities’ Captures Changing Landscapes of Mecca

May 3, 2016 - By Karin Sun for The Washington Diplomat

“Symbolic Cities,” which Mater shot over three years, explores the impact of urbanization and economic change on the landscapes of his native Saudi Arabia through long-form photography and video. The exhibit consists of large-scale photographic works, shot in color, as well as two short films and a collection of smaller photographs.

Viewers traveling through the exhibit begin with “The Empty Land,” a series of 15 photographs that depict parched Saudi landscapes devoid of human presence, abandoned public works projects and discarded oil barrels — objects that represent the abandonment of traditional values and agrarian ways of life in the face of modernization.

Ahmed Mater’s first US solo exhibition opens at Smithsonian

April 6, 2016 - By Denisze Marray for Arab News

The first US solo exhibition of the renowned Saudi artist, Ahmed Mater, has opened this week at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. The ‘Symbolic Cities’ exhibition, presented in collaboration with Culturunners in partnership with Art Jameel, will be on display at the Arthur M Sackler Gallery until Sept. 18. 

Symobilic Cities - Washington D.C

March 29, 2016 - By Sean Foley for Culturnners

This week the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery begins hosting “Symbolic Cities,” the first solo show in America dedicated to the works of Ahmed Mater, one of Saudi Arabia’s top young artists and intellectuals. Over the last decade, Mater has been among the leading figures in an artistic movement that has altered both what is discussed in public and the manner in which contentious issues are presented. Today the artistic movement includes men and women working in genres from animation to film to standup comedy.

Ahmed Mater exhibition in US capitol explores urban transformation in the Kingdom

March 14, 2016 - By Saudi Gazette

Saudi artist Ahmed Mater will present his first US solo exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. “Symbolic Cities” is being presented in collaboration with Culturunners in partnership with Art Jameel, a Community Jameel initiative, and Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts (SASCA), and will be on view at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery from March 19 through Sept. 18.


The exhibition will be accompanied by an immersive program of dialogues and discussions across Washington D.C.

3 Questions to Hazem Harb

March 17, 2015 - By Canvas Magazine

The 2015 Armory Show Overlaps History and Cultures

March 5, 2015 - By Marhta Schwendener

Another eye-grabbing installation is Ahmed Mater’s at Athr, a gallery from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, including a wall work made with plastic gun caps, “Cowboy Code II” (2012), which links the honor code of American cowboys with jihadist fighters. In the modern section, a related “focus” project brought a mini-exhibition of work by Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli, organized by New York University’s Grey Art Gallery.

An arabic barber shop

February 6, 2015 - By Shahd Alhamdan for Saudi Gazette

In this exhibition, a room has been transformed into a barber shop to stress the issue of influence of  Non- Arabic speakers on the Arabic Language.

Artist Ibrahim Abumsmar has posted around four pictures that show Arabic sentences regularly used by expats from Philippines and Indians in Saudi Arabia.

Abumsmar said: “The idea came to my mind when I was in the barber shop and the Bangladesh barber was telling me his life story with his new Arabic language. 

I wanted to tell him to stop speaking and that is what I wrote in the mirror ‘Sadek Mafe gorgor kater’.