Freer Minds With Saudi Contemporary Art

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Saudi Arabia is highly known as a conservative country. Their ‘antiqued’ laws and hard-to-break guides have kept a lid on the artistic talent that the country has. Not everyone has remained hidden under the conservative thumb, however. Artist Abdulnasser Gharem broke free and started pushing boundries of what art meant in his country. A daring visual artist, he sold his first major art work for near a million dollars in Dubai. Running a workshop for emerging artists who are criticising the conservative kingdom, he personally brought a handful artists to London in 2015 to display their work and this year, he launched an art tour throughout the US.

Ricochet, the name of the exhibition which wowed audiences at the Asia House Gallery in London, collected the works of four artists alongside Gharem, showing their understanding of contemporary and free art. Their personal visions of their local culture and the way it interacts with the world explored the chain reactions caused by their authority’s actions. The exhibition contained works in photography, sculpture, video art, installations and performances.

Gharem isn’t only focused on his art studio and his teachings back in Saudi Arabia. London is the home of Edge of Arabia, an artistic collaboration between British and Saudi artists, including Gharem, which was first founded in the Gulf country. Today, based in London, the social enterprise commits to reach new audiences by creating dialogue and exchange between the Middle East and the Western world. The project does not only work in London, as it tours the world with exhibitions now having reached over 10 million visitors worldwide who now have implanted Saudi art and its collaboration with other countries in their minds.