A Saudi Artist at Standing Rock

After the US Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river, Ahmed joined protesters at Standing Rock to celebrate their victory. Ahmed's journey took place as part of the CULTURUNNERS US Tour, with artists from Saudi Arabia and the Arab world connecting with communities across North America.

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Release Date

December 2016

Project Artists


Standing Rock, North Dakota
Saudi Arabia

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A Saudi Artist at Standing Rock, 2016

"This was a chance to focus the world’s attention on a number of urgent global issues – of environmental protection and the rights of indigenous peoples and cultures worldwide. We urgently need to work together, across nations and religions, to find alternatives to unregulated capitalism and imperialism."

Ahmed Mater

A Saudi Artist at Standing Rock, 2016

In 2016, Evolution of Man unfurled with a new, global urgency. As the Paris accord disintegrated, the world reached a decisive fork in the road. Protesters at Standing Rock became a powerful reminder of the urgency of present decisions and future consequences.

Ahmed Mater

A Saudi Artist at Standing Rock, 2016

In November 2016, the Evolution of Man flags were hoisted at the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, bringing together two apparently disparate worlds in one essential fight. The stark warning found in the work was always intended to confront issues of and in the "real" world.

Ahmed Mater

Featured Artist

Ahmed Mater 2 Culturunners

Ahmed Mater

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.

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