Embracing diverse media, Manal AlDowayan's work encompasses black and white photography, sculpture, video, sound, neon and large-scale participatory installations. Her artistic practice revolves around themes of active forgetting, archives, and collective memory, with a large focus on the state of Saudi women and their representation.
She has documented social groups like the oil men and women of Saudi Arabia in her project, If I Forget You Don't Forget Me, and has addressed the impact of mass media on propagating intentional erasing of identities in her project Crash, highlighting the unnamed Saudi teachers dying in car crashes across Saudi Arabia. Her participatory projects have attracted hundreds of women to use art as a new platform to address social injustice like Tree of Guardians, Esmi-My Name, and Suspended Together.
In 2014 she was a recipient of a research Fellowship from NYU AD and was invited in early 2015 to the Robert Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida. Manal has shown her work in Prospect 3 New Orleans - The American Biennale (2014/15), in collateral shows at the Venice Biennale (2009/11), and at Museums around the world like The Aga Khan Museum in Canada, Gawngju Museum in South Korea, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, The Victoria and Albert Museum in UK, and Mathaf Museum of Modern Arab Art in Qatar. Her art works are part of public collection at the British Museum, LA County Museum, Louisiana Museum, and Mathaf.
Manal holds a Master's Degree in Systems Analysis and an MA in Contemporary Art Practice in Public Spheres from the Royal College fo Art.
RECENT ACTIVITIES IN 2016:
GENERA#ION: CONTEMPORARY ART FROM SAUDI ARABIA
This exhibition presents a cross section of artists from Saudi Arabia in San Francisco for the first time. As the world pages through headlines of racism and religious fanaticism, and as we face the growing tide of Islamaphobia spreading across Europe and the US, people are clamoring for an openness to listen to the personal stories of those from the Middle East. As the US Presidential Election approaches, this exhibition comes at a timely moment to showcase a different side of the region and offer an honest story from the voices of creative thinkers from the center of the Islamic world. The participating artists in this show represent a generation of practitioners from Saudi Arabia working seamlessly across disciplines and borders as
they redefine artistic practices against a backdrop of constant change. Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco, USA - August - September, 2016
ILLUMINATION - NEW CONTEMPORARY ART AT LOUISIANA
Louisiana presents a cornucopia of international contemporary and classic works of art acquired over the past three years – more than fifty works within painting, photography, sculpture and installation. Illumination is set to be an exciting encounter with a wide field of both familiar and unfamiliar artists: Andreas Gursky, Franz West, Cindy Sherman, Rineke Dijkstra, Julie Mehretu – and Sterling Ruby, Alex Da Corte, Roni Horn, Tacita Dean, as well as Manal AlDowayan along with many others from the global art scene. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark - March 1 - September 11, 2016
LOOKING AT THE WORLD AROUND YOU
An exhibition that opened in Madrid at the Fundación Banco Santander showing works by contemporary artists from across North Africa and the Middle East includes Arab-inspired paintings by Goya and Magritte alongside works by Mona Hatoum, Shirin Neshat, Wael Shawky and Manal Al Dowayan among others.The Arab art show is the foundation’s first collaboration with Qatar Museums and the first major loan exhibition in Europe of works from Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Contemporary Art in Doha.
The Santander Art Gallery - Madrid, Spain - February 9 - 19 June, 2016
EARTH AND EVER AFTER
Manal present a newly commissioned project titled "Sideline " at the 21,39 Jeddah Arts, in its 3rd cycle. The exhibition is curated by Hamza Seirafi and Mona Khazindar. "Earth is the collective memory that is bound to our subconscious. She is a reflection of our selves, manifesting herself as a constant flow of images that teem with scent, taste and colour." Opening in Gold Moor Mall Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on February 10 - Aoril 2016
AND I WILL I FORGET? - SOLO SHOW
This collection is presented as a solo show titled "And I, Will I Forget?" A collection inspired from a box of Kodachrome slides shot between 1962 and 1973 in Saudi Arabia and USA. Manal inherited these images as a child and has been playing with them her whole life. In this project she questions; what happens to a memory that has no story? Manal uses these images to retell her story through someone else’s memories. She builds an imagined connection to the imagery found in the box of slides. Exploring themes of migration, separation, abandonment, and coming of age. "I have a fear of forgetting. I have a fear of being forgotten. And I, will I forget?"
Cuadro Gallery - Dubai, UAE - February 4 - March 2016
DO IT (In Arabic)
Co-curated by Sharjah Art Foundation Director Hoor Al Qasimi and Serpentine Gallery co-Director Hans Ulrich Obrist, do it بالعربي is a new iteration of the ongoing do it publication and exhibition project originally founded and curated by Obrist in 1993. Manal Participates with a instructional work titled "I Am Here". Sharjah Art Foundation UAE, January 23 - April 23, 2016.
ISLAMIC ART NOW: CONTEMPORARY ART OF THE MIDDLE EAST - LA County Museum
In recent years, the parameters of Islamic art have expanded to include contemporary works by artists from or with roots in the Middle East. Drawing inspiration from their own cultural traditions, these artists use techniques and incorporate imagery and ideas from earlier periods. LACMA has only recently begun to acquire such work within the context of its holdings of Islamic art, understanding that the ultimate success and relevance of this collection lies in building creative links between the past, present, and future. Islamic Art Now marks the first major installation of LACMA’s collection of contemporary art of the Middle East. Los Angeles County Museum, USA - February 1, 2015–January 3, 2016
HOME GROUND - Aga Khan Museum
Pushing boundaries, testing limits: this powerful exhibition from the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE runs the gamut from photography to installation, sculpture to painting, and more. Experience the work of 12 Arab artists who examine how private life is shaped by current political events. Showing at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto Canda from July 25 2015 to Jan 3 2016.
LECTURES AND TALKS
ART ALIVE - LOUISIANA MUSEOM OF MODERN ART
On the occasion of Illumination and Fire Under Snow, Louisiana is hosting a two-day art festival 6-7 May. Here you will get a chance to meet an array of artists who have a connection to Louisiana's collection and exhibitions. In conversations, performances and talks, the audience will get close encounters with artists like William Kentridge, Shilpa Gupta, Ragnar Kjartansson, Pipilotti Rist, Manal Al Dowayan, Ed Atkins, Alex Da Corte and Olafur Eliasson. Copenhagen, Denmark - May 6 - 7, 2016.
Home Ground Contemporary Art from th Barjeel Art Foundation - Published in Canada in 2015 by The Aga Khan Museum - ISBN 978-1-926473-05-5
Color and Line - The Naqvi Collection - ISBN 978-9948-18-110-1