Ahmed Mater 2 Culturunners

Ahmed Mater

Born 1979, Saudi Arabia. Artist & Physician based in Riyadh.

Ahmed Mater trained as a community doctor on the Saudi/Yemeni border, before rising to become one of the most significant Arab artists of his generation. Born in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, then moving at an early age to the mountainous Asir region in the South, Mater's life and work have been shaped by seismic changes and unprecedented social shifts across the Arabian Gulf. He uses photography, film, sculpture and performance to map, document and analyse these rapid developments, considering their psychological impact on the individual, the community, urban environments and society at large. Entwining expressive and politically engaged artistic aims with the scientific objectives of his medical training, his artistic practice embraces the paradoxes of science and faith. Employing broad research-based techniques, Mater mines and preserves forgotten narratives and unofficial histories to map the Kingdom's past, present and future. As a cultural producer and educator, Mater is dedicated to discourse and social activism as a means to tangibly influence the wider civil society.

@ahmedmater
www.ahmedmater.com

Artworks

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Across hundreds of photographs and films, Ahmed Mater's Desert of Pharan project documents the rapid commercial transformation of Islam’s holiest city, Mecca. The title is taken from the ancient name for Mecca, or the wilderness and mountains surrounding it – the Desert of Paran, or Wilderness of Paran, mentioned in the Old Testament.

Photograph by Ahmed Mater

Ka'aba, 2015 Like few other cities on earth, Mecca seems to buckle under the weight of its own dramatic symbolism. Mecca is rarely seen as a living city with its own inhabitants and historical development. Instead, it is almost exclusively seen as a site of pilgrimage, as a timeless, emblematic city. Mecca is a source, shaped by its own narrative which can be traced back to the time of Abraham. At the same time, increasingly significant effects emanate from it as the global Muslim population (the ummah or community) grows and becomes more connected. Amid a rapidly changing economic landscape, Mecca is re-examining its situation to itself and to the world beyond.

Photograph by Ahmed Mater

Nature Morte, 2012

Photograph by Ahmed Mater

Workers' Camp II, 2015

Photograph by Ahmed Mater

Golden Hour, 2011 “You will see the barefooted, scantily-clothed, destitute shepherds competing in the construction of tall buildings.” The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) In response to being asked about the end times – Hadith Jibril

Photograph by Ahmed Mater

Children on way to School, 2015

Photograph by Ahmed Mater

Jibreel (Gabriel), 2012 A lone figure, hoisted skywards. This is the crescent moon that will crown the clock tower. In Ahmed’s story, Jabril “sits between reality and the impossible cityscapes of the future.” The worker’s mundane task becomes spectacle, as he glides through the air “like an angel bringing a warning.”

Photograph by Ahmed Mater

Gas Station Leadlight, 2013

Photograph by Ahmed Mater

Photograph by Ahmed Mater

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