Manal AlDowayan has been selected to represent Saudi Arabia at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
One of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent contemporary artists, AlDowayan investigates traditions, collective memory and the status and representation of women through works such as Suspended Together (2011) and Esmi-My Name (2012), which draw on interactive workshops engaging thousands of Saudi women to reflect on gendered social customs in the Kingdom and beyond.
AlDowayan’s installation will reflect the upcoming Venice Biennale’s theme of Foreigners Everywhere, curated by Adriano Pedrosa and which will explore the figure of the ‘outsider’ in all its forms, othered by nationality, race, gender, sexuality or wealth. The concept behind the work and further details will be revealed at a later stage.
The artist commented: “My approach to art over the last two decades has given me the chance to be a part of a transformation that is taking place in my country. The Biennale Arte 2024 presents a rare opportunity to represent where I stand in my practice, positions in the context of my community, my country and the world as a whole.”
Speaking exclusively to Canvas, she added: “Throughout my practice, I have worked across a number of mediums, including photography, sound and sculpture, while often incorporating an important participatory element which informs much of what I do. My goal is always to unlock opportunities to forge connection and interaction, and this will translate into my commission for the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia at the 2024 Biennale Arte.”
The National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia is commissioned by the Ministry of Culture’s Visual Arts Commission (VCA).
VCA CEO Dina Amin said: “At the VCA, our goal is to bring to the forefront the talent that resides within our country and to look for ways to nurture, amplify and celebrate it on local, regional and international stages. We are proud to be showcasing Manal AlDowayan’s work at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, an important international platform for exchange.”
This year will mark Saudi Arabia’s fourth participation at the Venice Biennale as well as the third presentation of a woman artist by the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia. The exhibition will take place at the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia’s permanent space at the Arsenale, Sale d’Armi, Venice, Italy.