The Future is Unwritten CULTURUNNERS 2 The Future is Unwritten CULTURUNNERS 2

Mecca Journeys

Across hundreds of photographs and films, Desert of Pharan documents the rapid development of Islam’s holiest city, a place in a state of constant transformation. The shifting urban environment of the city is witnessed, as well as the lives lived amid the tumult. 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.

Project Films

A Prayer for Mecca

Against the backdrop of the annual Hajj, Saudi artist Ahmed Mater reveals unprecedented changes to the holy city of Mecca – from flashy new hotels to the loss of priceless neighbourhoods.

Associated Publications

Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys

Published on Dec 1, 2017

Brooklyn Museum, New York Published: December 2017

Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys takes visitors through the holiest city in the Islamic world. It presents a compelling portrait of the massive urban redevelopment now under way and its effects on residents and the millions of hajj pilgrims who travel there every year. Saudi artist Ahmed Mater has documented this unprecedented expansion for nearly a decade

Buy Publication

Edge of Arabia: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia

Published 1 Oct. 2011


Edge of Arabia is the first book to explore the extraordinary contemporary arts culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The book centres around the Edge of Arabia project, which has shed new light on a group of pioneering and relatively unknown artists practicing at the center of the Islamic world.

Buy Publication

Participating Artists

We The People hero

Next project:

We The People

View project
arrow-right-stem icon back-circle-arrow icon back-short-arrow icon down-full-arrow icon down-short-arrow icon facebook icon forward-circle-arrow icon forward-short-arrow icon instagram icon menu icon play icon search icon selection-arrow icon twitter icon youtube icon