Arwa Alneami’s latest art project is called the “Drop Zone,” named after the vertical, free-fall amusement park ride. Her work is made up of photographs and videos from a theme park in her hometown of Abha, in southern Saudi Arabia. The rules for women there have become so strict that the park has signs telling them they can’t scream loudly on the rides. “You should hear the voice of the ladies, they cannot scream,” she says, and then imitates the stifled screams of the women clad entirely in black in her videos. Alneami is a young Saudi artist pushing against the many red lines in the conservative society where she lives. She’s not breaking them, she says. She’s just reflecting society back on itself.
Islamic geometric artwork, tile work, parquetry and illumination are considered a very rare form of art nowadays. It’s considered an old art haven used during the peak age of the Islamic Empire centuries ago when they studied the beauty of things and have since did all they could to study and perfect their handwork. Architects and artists alike studied math and geometry and explored that world and have thus created masterpieces found all over the Islamic world.
Read More: Dana Awartani
The works of Saudi artist Abdulnasser Gharem are always thought-provoking, raising many questions—some clear, others not so much. In his first solo exhibition in London, Gharem presents some of his early works alongside his latest creations. A clear theme resonates from the very beginning. It is in an endless debate of contemporary questions, starting from a single point and continuing, moving from one work to the other with grace and beautiful imagery, drawing you in from the first glance. From his most famous pieces is the series Concrete, in which blocks of different shapes and colors are stamped with words and phrases. The message of each piece in the series is the same: they are borders and boundaries, roadblocks to human dreams and desires, molded by mentalities that do not give space for free minds to make independent choices. This important theme runs throughout Gharem’s work, which makes heavy use of text and calligraphy—but each piece carries its own message and meaning far deeper than the letters written on them.