Ahmed Mater

AHM CowboyCodeII

8 Highlights from Omar Kholeif's Focus: MENAM Section at The Armory Show 2015

March 6, 2015

Saudi artist Ahmed Mater juxtaposes value systems with this large-scale text installation in the form of a Ten Commandments script. The work is physically made up of baby gun caps, like the ones Mater played with as a child in Saudi. He and his friends would watch westerns and imitate cowboys on TV. Excerpts from the text include: “A cowboy is free from racial and religious intolerance," and “A cowboy is a Patriot." The cowboy code is directly contrasted against the Hadith, an Islamic code bequeathed by Prophet Muhammad; fragments include “He cautioned never to be extreme or fanatic."

THE ARMORY SHOW | Day I: Snow, Art and A Spotlight on @AthrArtGallery

March 6, 2015 - By Jasmine Bager


We spoke to the co-founder of Athr, who is also the vice chairman of the Saudi Art Council, Mohammed A. Hafiz. He greeted us at their booth #542, in Pier 94. Hafiz explained the significance of text and imagery in communicating across languages—English and Arabic—in the carefully curated selections on display this year. The various pieces each hint at the flexibility of text; how language can easily morph, depending on the context. Language, he said, is not limited to the spoken word; it is also based on visual references, even subtitles in a film. The chosen artists, Ayman Yossri Daydban, Mahdi Al Jeraibi, Bakr Shaykhoon and Ahmed Mater demonstrate that in different ways.


AHM CowboyCodeII

Special projects 2015

March 5, 2015

Ahmed Mater, Cowboy Code (Hadith) (2012), presented by Athr Gallery (Jeddah)
This installation compares two codes of ethics, the former from the American West and the latter from the Islamic code, referring to statements or actions of the Prophet Muhammad, known as the Hadith. The Cowboy Code (Hadith), located in the Focus Lounge on Pier 94, is composed entirely of the red plastic toy gun caps, canonical with the image of Western Cowboys and tropes of Mater’s childhood and US popular culture.

Bad Weather? Not for Art Collectors

March 5, 2015 - By Kelly Crow

Over in the section for Middle Eastern galleries, Saudi Arabian artist Ahmed Mater’s 2011 work, “Cowboy Code,” was hard to miss.

Using red-plastic gunpowder caps often used for Western-style toy guns, Mr. Mater constructed a 26-foot-long mural that juxtaposed informal rules that cowboys historically lived by—such as “A cowboy never betrays a trust”—with similar, Arabic sayings from Islamic teachings like “The Prophet cautioned to always march in the name of God.” Saudi Arabian gallery Athr, which represents Mr. Mater, said the work is still available for $88,000.

SpeedDating In Texas

May 19, 2014 - By Werner Bloch for Art Magazine

Ahmed Mater - Contemporary Artist and Founder Edge of Arabia

April 23, 2014 - By World Economic Forum

Ahmed Mater is considered one of the most significant artists in the Saudi contemporary art world. In addition, he works in a hospital in Abha, the captial of Aseer province of Saudi Arabia, as a fully qualified medical doctor.

Saudi Arabia’s artists discuss muddying the red lines

April 7, 2014 - By Aya Batrawy for The Daily Star

When Ahmed Mater visited Mecca in 2010 something felt off. Dozens of cranes were eating away at the mosque to make way for a larger complex surrounding the Kaaba.

The changes were irrevocably transforming the city’s landscape. So the practicing physician and contemporary artist took pictures. He titled his project “Desert of Pharan” in a nod to Mecca’s ancient name.

Armory Presents: Emerging Artists, Newly Established Galleries

March 11, 2014 - By Artsy Editorial

Perched at the crown of a shopping mall in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Athr Gallery has become one of the most progressive venues of the Gulf—in fact, Esquire Magazine called it, “perhaps the most significant art space in the kingdom at present.” Known for supporting emerging and established contemporary Saudi artists, Athr Gallery will present two of the region’s rising stars at the Armory. From Ahmed Mater, it will show work from Desert of Pharan, a photographic narrative around the expansion of the Holy City, Mecca; and from Nassir Al Salem, formally trained in architecture and calligraphy, it will debut a stone sculpture whose title translates to, “they will be seen competing in constructing lofty buildings.”

Photography of documentarians Walker Evans, Eugene Atget at Louvre Abu Dhabi

January 23, 2014 - Asmaa Al Hameli

The contemporary Saudi artist Ahmed Mater will be among the panellists at Manarat discussing photography, documentation and art. Mater will shed light on his own photographic project, Desert of Pharan, in which he records the narrative of Islam’s holiest city.

The series of photographs in Desert of Pharan documents the mass expansion of Mecca – the title was taken from the holy city’s ancient name mentioned in the Old Testament.

Magnetism – Magnetized by the Divine

October 4, 2013 - By Deyala Creative Expressions

Magnetism, the work of the talented Ahmed Mater, was represented in a mayor exhibition in the British Museum dedicated to the Hajj. One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his or her lifetime if able to do so. Multiple parts of the Hajj require perform a series of rituals: hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to walk seven times around the Ka’bah in a counter-clockwise direction.