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 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 Design and currently lives and works between her native Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, UAE.
RECENT ACTIVITIES IN 2014:
FELLOWSHIP: FiND NEW YORK UNIVERSITY ABU DHABI, UAE
A 6 month fellowship to work on the research of an ongoing project about Negotiated Space. This is a collaboration between an academic (Dr. May AlDabbagh) and Manal. UAE and Saudi Arabia - June 1 - Dec 30, 2014. www.F-IN-D.com
RESIDENCY: ROBERT RAUSCHENBERGH FOUNDATION
Manal will be spending a month in the Former home of the artist which has now been converted to residency program that advances new bodies of work, extends practices into new mediums, and serves as a research and development laboratory for performance-based projects. Feb-March, 2015
The World Bank Art Program exhibition 1in3 that highlights the global problem of gender discrimination and violence against women and girls. "Can men and women in a given country be equal if one gender is disproportionately subjected to domestic assault, rape, acid attacks, forced and child marriages, and honor killings? To what extent can women truly be economically empowered, and exercise their own agency if they must face such forms of violence on a daily basis?" World Bank South Asia Report
This exhibition opened at the Federal senate in Brazil this March. Then in November it was shown in Dakar, Senegal at their National Gallery. It will now move to the Frauenmuseum in Bonn, Germany ... It will also be shown in NY at the UN headquarters, Mexico, Bangladesh and beyond. This exhibition rund from May 22 - July 2014
THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING -Yay Gallery
Tihis group exhibition will use a range of media, including photography, print, and sculpture to explore the relationship between memory, home and identity. Baku, Azberijan from June to August 2015.
WHAT IS HOME? - Pump House Gallery
We all think we have the answer to the question What Is Home? - be it the building, town or country we live in, the people we live with or even the objects we surround ourselves with. At the Pump House Gallery the work of a group of Arabian artists with divergent concerns is presented. From gender roles to the relationships we hold with architectural and historical space, these concerns are manifested in their work through humour and a close cultural examination of the mundane and everyday. This exhibtion runs as part of the annual Shubbak Festival held in London UK. Pump House Gallery - July 16 - 9 August 2015.
THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING - Yay Gallery
Set in the middle of Baku’s ancient old city, the three-level Yay Gallery is putting contemporary Azerbaijani art firmly on the regional map. This exhibition will bring together the work of four artists from the Middle East and North America. Yay Gallery June 11, 2015 Baku, Azeberijan
I HAD NO WINGS - AlSerkal Arts Destrict
A video and sound installation. I Had No Wings questions the symbolism of designated spaces and focuses on the experience of being in the backseat of a moving car. The images and sounds in this project were filmed by Manal from the back seat of a car driving around the streets of a city in Saudi Arabia. “This project addresses the physical and ethereal states of being captured in a moment where you float between the present and future. Where many find themselves when the environment surrounding them is in a state of negation.” Editing by Adam Finch with sound contribution by Somi. Commissioned by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and part of the Rolls-Royce Art Programme. March 2015.
COLLACURATING: SCULPTURAL PERSPECTIVES
An exhibition featuring two artworks by Manal AlDowayan that artist/curator Areej Kaoud responds to with artworks of her own. This project is first in a series of shows that explores curating as an art practice that is articulated via collaborations between artists. For this exhibition, Kaoud uses two of AlDowayan's artworks as points of origination in order for a physical dialogue to occur between the works. House 10, Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood Dubai, United Arab Emirates. March 2015
ANONYMOUS WAS A WOMAN - Hafez Gallery
A group show on the representation of women by women. Curated by Samia AlKhashogji showing at Hafez Gallery in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. March 2015
LECTURES AND TALKS
Colloquium - View From Inside - New York University in Abu Dhabi
This colloquium is organized in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Festival and FotoFest International within the framework of the exhibition "View from the Inside: Contemporary Arab Photography, Video and Mixed Media Art" (The Gallery, Emirates Palace, March 21-April 20, 2015). The colloquium brings together Arab artists and photographers included in the show to present their work. April 15, 2015 at NYU-Abu Dhabi, UAE
Youth in Muslim Societies Conference - Boston University
A conference that explores the multiple ways Muslim youth are dealing with neoliberal and structural changes in their lives, the means by which they are negotiating new and continuing religious and moral conflicts, and how they are using art and culture to express identities that often oppose government policies but just as often address cross-cultural exchanges throughout the Muslim world. This is the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies inaugural conference in partnership with the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies at Oxford University and The Boston Consortium of Arab Regional Studies at Northeastern University. Boston USA. April 8-9, 2015
Art and Reality: Contemporary Middle Eastern Art in Context - Davis Museum at Wellesley College
This symposium explores current issues in contemporary Middle Eastern Art. This conference will map the ways contemporary Middle Eastern art circulates within various spheres of influence. The discussion will cover the possibilities and limits of scholarly, curatorial, economic, and political infrastructure within which this emerging field is embedded. Wellesley, USA. April 17-19, 2015
Negotiations And Collaborations: Reflections From The Field - Art Dubai Global Art Forum 9
Manal Al Dowayan and May Al Dabbagh discuss a combined artistic and academic collaborative project that addresses issues surrounding imposed and reclaimed representations of Saudi women who are constantly mystified and made to be hyper-visible at the same time. This session intends to also navigate knowledge in our current environment of data and media overload. Kuwait March 2015
Panel Discussion: Summer Autumn Winter ... and Spring Book Launch - Art Dubai
Curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath and artist Manal AlDowayan, Hassan Sharif, and Joana Hdjithomas discuss how informal conversations between them have evolved into a documentation of several personal and profesionalpositions. The panel marks the launch of the book whcih includes an interview with Manal. Art Dubai, March 2015.
UNESCO REPORT ON GENDER EQUALITY AND CULTURE
UNESCO’s report "Gender Equality: Heritage and Creativity", first published in English and French in autumn 2014, vividly demonstrates the need for deeper debate, research and awareness-raising on the need for equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women and men, boys and girls in the fields of heritage and creativity. Founded on UNESCO’s commitment to advancing human rights, including women’s rights, in cultural life, the report acknowledges culture as the enabler for all people, regardless of their gender to develop to their full potential. A segment of the report carries and interview with Manal AlDowayan and images of her work.
Prospect.3: Notes For Now, By Franklin Sirmans and contributions by Christin Y. Kim and Rita Gonzalez, Prestel Publishing, ISBN 978-37-9135-403-3
Summer Autumn Winter ... and Spring: Conversations with Artists from the Arab World, By Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, Published by Skira Publishing Group