PROJECT SPACE: CRASH
Residency and Exhibition from January 25, 2014 – March 30, 2014
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
In Crash, Manal AlDowayan transforms Mathaf’s “Project Space” into a temporary artist studio. Over the course of the two-month project, AlDowayan opens this studio to the public, unfolding the process and materials of her research on the frequent car accidents that take the lives of female schoolteachers in Saudi Arabia. These are women traveling long distances to teaching positions in villages far from their homes. Poorly paid and restricted from driving themselves by the government, they often pool funds to travel in groups, putting their lives in the hands of unreliable drivers and vehicles.
AlDowayan’s open-ended research departs from the formulaic reports of these accidents in national newspapers, from which the names and images of the female victims are always excluded. Pinned or written on the walls of the project space are the journeys of these women traced on historical maps of Saudi Arabia. Their social media posts, written in transit, are also among the various forms of data on display.
Continuing AlDowayan’s practice of working collaboratively, open discussions with Qatari students, professors, and journalists about the project are likely to take place as part of the research process, contextualizing the subject from varied perspectives.
Mathaf’s second artist collaboration in it’s Project Space sees AlDowayan making use of the opportunity to experiment with the production, temporality, and presentation of art in the museum. Through sharing research data and conversations on this subject over an extended time frame, AlDowayan’s project has the possibility to question the psychology behind the desensitization to these women’s deaths and the relationship here to the media’s repeated exclusion of their identities from their reportage. By posing these challenges, the project offers the chance to discuss wider concerns about the traditions and future perspectives on Saudi Arabia’s social and political positioning of women, and reflects on what could be defined as the active erasure of women in this context.
Residency Exhibition curated by Laura Barlow and Abdellah Karroum
Editors Laura Barlow and Manal AlDowayan
CRASH IN PROJECT SPACE