Introduction to the Gulf Art World

This essay offers an overview of the socio-historical context in which contemporary visual arts are developing in the GCC countries. It argues that the current art scene is shaped by cultural and historical parameters and that it is representative of contemporary socio-political trends. This essay was written by Robert Kluijver except where otherwise indicated. Please download the full, illustrated pdf (that was printed in March 2013, with a slightly revised text) here.


Contemporary Art in the Gulf: a Novel Phenomenon

Artistic Freedom

A Cultural History of the Arabian Peninsula

Saudi Arabia


Bahrain (chapter contributed by Arie Amaya Akkermans)

United Arab Emirates



Concluding remarks: where the Gulf is heading

The Netherlands and the Gulf (annex to the essay contributed by Neil van der Linden)