Athr Gallery is clearly marking its position as leader of the Saudi art scene with the exhibitions scheduled during 21,39 and the Jeddah Art Week events; with a solo by the Lebanese artist Ziad Antar in its main space, and exhibitions of the Palestinian Hazem Harb and the Saudi Ibrahim Abumsmar; the scheduled solo of Ahmed Mater about his multi-year project on the transformation of Mecca, ‘Desert of Pharan’ is replaced with a talk with curator Catherine David, scheduled for tomorrow evening.

Hazem Harb: a sculptural installation on the theme of exile and travel, made for Spheres 2013, Galleria Continua, Paris (photo by the author).

Hazem Harb: a sculptural installation on the theme of exile and travel, made for Spheres 2013, Galleria Continua, Paris (photo by the author).


With this pick of artists Athr is not only avoiding the nationalistic discourse of emerging art markets, abandoning the too easy ambit of ‘surprising Saudi talents’, a card which the collective Edge of Arabia seems to have played a bit too often; but Athr also clearly chooses intellectually stimulating artists, whose message is none too simple, and whose aesthetics certainly may put off the more ornamental-minded Saudi art circles.

Ibrahim Abumsmar: Eiffel Tower Middle East vision and Western vision (from his Qeblah Kite series). Photos courtesy Gilles Stassart & Athr

Ibrahim Abumsmar: Eiffel Tower Middle East vision and Western vision (from his Qeblah Kite series). Photos courtesy Gilles Stassart & Athr


Author: RobertK
Location: Posted on: Tuesday, February 4th, 2014