The first exhibition of contemporary art from Saudi Arabia ever held in Germany, "Grey Borders / Grey Frontiers," has opened in Berlin. It was organized by "Edge of Arabia," an independent grassroots initiative founded by British and Saudi artists in 2004. Its aim is to promote young Saudi artists and to challenge negative perceptions of Saudi cultural achievement.
The exhibition features the work of a new generation of Saudi artists including Shadia and Raja Alem, Manal Al-Dowayan, Hala Ali and Ayman Yossri Daydban. Their artworks include installation, performance, photography, video and sculpture.
The artists address issues that are as much personal or domestic as they are geopolitical and global. Several exhibit an interest in x-ray images and airport security; others take a religious motive: the power of prayer.
"With borders becoming undefined and frontiers wide open these works take us through the ways society thinks and its individuals feel, react and comment," said curator Rami Farook. "These artists turn our stereotypes into a reality, and our reality into stereotypes."
Following celebrated exhibitions in London and at the 53rd Venice Biennale, Edge of Arabia in January 2010 announced its vision to showcase Saudi contemporary art around the world. Following the Berlin show, the exhibition will go to Istanbul, the European Capital of Culture in Turkey, where it will be presented in cooperation with the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair.
Author: Peter Zimmermann
Editor: Kate Bowen