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Manal AlDowayan to represent Saudi Arabia at Biennale Arte 2024

Artist Manal AlDowayan in Venice, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and the Visual Arts Commission, the Commissioner for the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia

Artist Manal AlDowayan in Venice, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and the Visual Arts Commission, the Commissioner for the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia

  • Manal AlDowayan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most significant contemporary artists, recognised internationally for her work that spans participatory practice, photography, sound and sculpture
  • The artist interrogates traditions, collective memories and the status and representation of women
  • The Saudi Pavilion is commissioned by the Ministry of Culture’s Visual Arts Commission
  • This will mark Saudi Arabia’s fourth participation in the Biennale Arte, and is the third National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia to feature woman artists

Ministry of Culture

Artist Manal AlDowayan in Venice, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and the Visual Arts Commission, the Commissioner for the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 22, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Manal AlDowayan will represent Saudi Arabia at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, taking place from 20 April to 24 November 2024. The Saudi Pavilion is commissioned by the Ministry of Culture’s Visual Arts Commission.

AlDowayan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most significant contemporary artists working internationally. Her work, which spans various mediums including photography, sound, sculpture, and participatory practice, interrogates traditions, collective memories and the status and representation of women.

AlDowayan acts as a critical witness to the cultural and social metamorphoses sweeping her home country, and her work in turn navigates a territory where the personal and the societal overlap. Her works explore themes such as invisibility, active forgetting, and collective memory. Through her decades-long practice, AlDowayan’s art resonates with audiences around the world, fostering connection, interaction, and engagement. She is best known for participatory installations such as Suspended Together (2011) and Esmi-My Name (2012), which are the result of participatory workshops offering channels for thousands of women in Saudi Arabia to reflect on social customs relating to the position of women in Saudi Arabia and further afield.

Commenting on her participation, AlDowayan says:

My approach to art over the last two decades has given me the chance to be part of a transformation that is taking place in my country. The Biennale Arte 2024 presents a rare opportunity to represent where I stand in my practice, positioned in the context of my community, my country, and the world as a whole.

More recently, AlDowayan performed From Shattered Ruins, New Life Shall Bloom at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in August 2023. There, she invited visitors to navigate the space which featured a landscape of totems topped with porcelain rolls filled with texts and images depicting narratives that have upheld structures around women for generations. In a conclusive collective gesture of protest against a history of control, participants destroyed the scrolls – ultimately stripping the words and images of their power and encouraging solidarity in the face of fragmentation of action and the need for a multipolar approach when it comes to helping women and girls around the world.

Dina Amin, Chief Executive Officer of the Visual Arts Commission says: At the Visual Arts Commission, our goal is to bring to the forefront the talent that resides within our country and to look for ways to nurture, amplify and celebrate it on local, regional and international stages. We are proud to be showcasing Manal AlDowayans work at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, an important international platform for exchange.

This will mark Saudi Arabia’s fourth participation at the International Art Exhibitions of La Biennale di Venezia and is the third National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia to feature woman artists. A concept and further details surrounding AlDowayan’s installation will be announced at a later stage, but the artist revealed that the Saudi Pavilion will reflect on the Biennale Arte’s overarching theme. Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere, curated by Adriano Pedrosa, will bring together artists to reflect on the differences and disparities conditioned by areas such as identity, nationality, race and gender, amongst others.

The exhibition will be on view from 20 April to 24 November 2024 at the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia’s permanent space at the Arsenale, Sale d’Armi, Venice, Italy.

Manal AlDowayan for The National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia, commissioned by the Visual Arts Commission, 20 April – 24 November: saudipavilion.org

Press contacts:
Rania Habib at Pelham Communications
[email protected]

Annabel Hoyng-Van der Meijden at Pelham Communications
annabel@pelhamcommunications.com

Press kit link here.

About Manal AlDowayan
AlDowayan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most significant contemporary artists working internationally. Her work, which spans various mediums including photography, sound, sculpture, and participatory practice, interrogates traditions, collective memories and the status and representation of women. AlDowayan’s work has been exhibited regionally and internationally in institutions such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, USA (2023); the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada (2023); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA (2023); Misk Art Institute, Saudi Arabia (2023, 2022); Setouchi Triennale, Japan (2022); Louvre Abu Dhabi, UAE (2023); Diriyah Biennale, Saudi Arabia (2022); Taehwa River Eco Festival, Korea (2021); V&A Museum, UK (2021); British Museum, UK (2021); Desert X AlUla, Saudi Arabia (2020); The Nobel Museum, Sweden (2019); the Aga Khan Museum, Canada (2018); Royal College of Art, UK (2018); Abu Dhabi Art, UAE (2017); Institut du Monde Arabe, France (2017); the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE (2016); Santander Art Gallery, Madrid (2016); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA (2015); Prospect New Orleans, American Biennial, USA (2014); Gwangju Museum of Art, South Korea (2014); Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar (2014); and in a Collateral Event at the Biennale Arte in 2009 and 2011, among others. Her works can be found in the collections of the British Museum, UK; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; the Centre Pompidou, France; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim, USA. She participated in the Robert Rauschenberg Residency, USA (2015), and the artist-in-residence programme at the Delfina Foundation, UK (2009).

She holds an MA in Contemporary Art Practice in Public Spheres from the Royal College of Art, London. She also received a research fellowship from New York University Abu Dhabi (2014). Born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1973, AlDowayan currently lives and works between London, Dhahran and Dubai.

Website: https://www.manaldowayan.com/
Instagram: @manaldowayan
#ManalAlDowayan

About the Visual Arts Commission:
The Visual Arts Commission is one of 11 sector-specific commissions under the Ministry of Culture. Founded in 2020, it is leading the development of the visual arts sector in Saudi Arabia. The Commission is working to nurture the talent of art enthusiasts, practitioners, and professionals in the Kingdom, and support the production and exhibition of artwork in all its forms, locally and internationally.

To learn more about the Visual Arts Commission, please visit www.visualarts.moc.gov.sa/en and the commission’s page on Twitter @MOCVisualArts

About the Ministry of Culture:
Saudi Arabia has a vast history of arts and culture. The Ministry of Culture is developing Saudi Arabia’s cultural economy and enriching the daily lives of citizens, residents, and visitors.

Overseeing 11 sector-specific commissions, the Ministry is leading a cultural transformation to develop an abundant ecosystem that nurtures creativity, unlocks the economic potential of the sector and unleashes new and inspiring forms of expression.

Find the Ministry of Culture on social media: Twitter @MOCSaudi (Arabic); @MOCSaudi_En (English) | Instagram @mocsaudi

About the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia:
The National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia supports and celebrates the Kingdom’s artistic and architectural community. It serves as a meeting space for dialogue between creative minds, and an exchange of concepts and ideas. The pavilion provides a permanent home for research and ideation from the nation’s leading cultural voices.

To learn more about the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia, please visit www.saudipavilion.org and on Instagram: @saudipavilion.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/2a91498e-5d3e-41fa-91e4-de6dd610be50

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