Ahmed Mater (b. 1979, Abha, Saudi Arabia), lives and works in Riyadh. His creative career has been at the forefront of the transformation of the Saudi cultural sector. Using photography, film, sculpture, and performance, he maps, documents, and analyzes these changes, considering the psychological impact on the individual, the community, society, and the world. Mater entwines expressive and politically engaged artistic aims with the scientific objectives of his medical training. His practice embraces the paradoxes of science and faith, exploring their connections and contradictions and their social reach. His work employs broad investigative techniques to assess the Kingdom’s condition, reframing unofficial socio-political histories and realities with an observational and wide-ranging scope. He is co-founder of the Edge of Arabia collective and was director of Misk Art Institute in 2017–18, where his tenure included overseeing the first Saudi national pavilion at the Venice architecture biennale. In 2016, Mater became the first Saudi artist to hold a solo exhibition in the United States with Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater at the Sackler Gallery, Washington D.C. He has had a major solo exhibition at Brooklyn Museum, New York, and has exhibited work at King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia; Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy; Sharjah Art Foundation; Institut du monde arab, Paris; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Centre Georges Pompidou; and New Museum, New York, among others. He has participated in the Sharjah Biennial; Cairo Biennial; Venice Biennale; and Kochi Muziris Biennale. His work is in the collections of the British Museum; Victoria & Albert Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; and Centre Pompidou, Paris.
Quarantined in Riyadh; for Cities Under Quarantine – The Mailbox Project