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Saudi curators to bring communities together through art

November 19, 2017

Contemporary Collective, a group of Saudi curators which aims to bring communities together through art, will present its first exhibition “We Are Not Alone” from Oct. 17 till Nov. 16, 2017, at ATHR gallery, Jeddah.
The curators have selected works from the British Council’s art collection that they feel will help viewers lift their thoughts away from their daily lives and think differently about how they approach the unknown. They especially want to engage audiences of all ages in the Kingdom to share the message that creativity can help them overcome their fears and anxieties.

This Saudi Artist Upcycles Candy Wrappers to Make Strong Statements

April 25, 2017 - Sofia Martensson for VOGUE Arabia

This month, Athr is presenting Saudi artists Ghada Al-Rabea’s first solo exhibition, titled Sidi Shahin. Ghada tells Vogue Arabia that the name of the exhibition comes from a tradition in Medina that celebrates the upcoming Holy Month of Ramadan, when kids sing songs and knock on neighbors doors asking for candy.

Only Saudi gallery at Art Dubai 2017 boasts unexpected art

March 16, 2017 - Saffiya Ansari for Arab News

Art Dubai 2017, the international summit of the arts, has opened with a record-breaking bang with galleries from 43 countries showcasing the best of the global scene.
With 93 galleries representing more than 500 artists, one gallery stands out for many Saudis visiting the region’s largest art fair.
Jeddah’s Athr Gallery is the only gallery from Saudi Arabia present at Art Dubai, and is drawing interest from passersby due to its unique collection.

Jeddah Showcases Contemporary Work of Gulf Artists

February 10, 2017 - By Lulwa Shalhoub for Arab News

Jeddah’s art scene is seeing a rich flow of exhibitions and events that shed light on work from local and regional artists.
The 21,39 art initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting art and culture, has combined a series of events that began this month and will carry on until May, with support from the General Entertainment Authority.
One of the highlights of the activities is “And Along Came Polyester,” which gathers the work of five women artists from the Gulf to showcase their contemporary work in solo exhibitions under the same roof at Athr Gallery.

Arab News spoke to the five artists about their experiences at the “And Along Came Polyester” exhibition.

‘And Along Came Polyester’ art exhibition opens

February 3, 2017 - By Lulwa Shalhoub for Arab News

 A Thursday night of contemporary art puts a refreshing end to schools’ midyear break. Young people and art lovers filled Athr art platform based at Serafi Mega Mall’s office towers as the artwork of five woman artists from the Gulf had them mesmerized.
The exhibition entitled “And Along Came Polyester” displayed the work of Saudi artist Sarah Abu Abdullah’s “18 Blankets,” Qatari artist Aisha Al-Sowaidi’s “The Shift,” Bahraini artist Hala Al-Khalifa’s “She Wore Her Scares Like Wings,” Kuwaiti artist Monira Al-Qadiri’s “Legacy” and Emirati artist Layla Juma’s “A Still Moment in Thought & Spatial Perception.”

Five female Gulf artists highlight Jeddah’s art scene

February 1, 2017 - By Lulwa Shalhoub for Arab News

An exhibition entitled “And Along Came Polyester” is opening at Athr art platform, based at Serafi Mega Mall’s office towers, featuring five solo presentations by female artists from the Gulf.
The exhibition, alongside two others opening on the same day, is part of the 21,39 Jeddah Arts non-profit initiative organized by the Saudi Art Council.
“This is the first time to host five women from the (Gulf) region to present at Athr,” Leila Evangelista, one of the organizers at Athr, told Arab News.
“The story behind the title of the exhibition is that polyester is a material derivative from oil. Oil has been the main source of economic strength in the area from which the artists come.” 

The 8 Best Booths at Art Berlin Contemporary

September 16, 2016 - By Louisa Elderton for Artsy Editorial

Recent Slade School of Art grad Haidar’s poetic works see embroidered postcards stacked in racks atop white plinths. According to Athr’s Maryam Bilal, the artist “moved to England because of the war in Lebanon, so being a refugee is always a theme of her work. She wants the embroidery to expand elements in the postcards, cities, and landscapes that she finds most beautiful.” Within the works (each stand priced at £1,800) picket fences are sewn with black thread; swimmers lounging around municipal swimming pools are given lobster-red lifejackets. The series, titled “Wish You Were Here,” is “about this feeling of wanting to go home,” Bilal noted.

Berlin Art Week: 10 things you shouldn't miss at ABC.

September 15, 2016 - By Monopol Magazine

First you think: Oh, a few post cards, how nostalgic. Move closer, you can see the embroidery on the images. Times bathers on the romantic cliffs wearing orange life jackets, as they have become a symbol for refugees, even additional tents in a mountainous landscape are embroidered. The London artist Aya Haidar has collected 100 postcards from vacation destinations in the fortress of Europe for her project titled "Wish you were here" and edited, and added a new dimension to the holiday.

Art Dubai: calm and collected

March 18, 2016 - By Caroline Roux for The Telegraph

" Who’d have thought, for example, that one of my favourite pieces would come from Saudi Arabia at at the dynaamic Athr Gallery based in Jeddah? But Saddek Wasil’s twisted metal figures set into found pieces of crumbling masonry (backed with beautiful tiles from Mecca) are wistful evocations of isolation and loss. Like many artists in the region, Wasil has a day job (he’s a doctor), and makes his art in his father’s garage in his downtime. "

Call to action at the heart of sixth Marrakech Biennale

March 17, 2016 - By Myrna Ayad

The show is politically charged and runs on the high-octane passion of its curator. “I am a very political person and I am Palestinian,” she says. “But I don’t need to be a Palestinian in Palestine. Palestine is everywhere and that is why I aspire to decolonisation.” 

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