Few artists understand metamorphosis as keenly as Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan. Long invested in interrogating the gender-biased customs that impact the condition of women in Saudi Arabia, AlDowayan is a sensitive yet critical witness to the cultural metamorphosis engulfing the Kingdom.


AlDowayan’s practice navigates a territory where the personal and the political overlap. Her works spring from lived experiences—these intimate encounters with social injustice, the pangs of memory and forgetting. Yet her pieces are consistently galvanizing, sparking identification and engagement, particularly among women around the world. Her voice is strong, and it resonates.

Unsurprisingly, the artist’s gaze unravels the expected tensions running through the fiber of Saudi society—public vs private, traditional vs modern, community vs. world. But as the Kingdom races towards further change, AlDowayan’s artistic engagement with this new metamorphosis promises to be bolder and more incisive than ever.


Manal AlDowayan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most significant contemporary artists working internationally. Her work, which spans various mediums including photography, sound, sculpture, and participatory practice, interrogates traditions, collective memories, and the status and representation of women.AlDowayan represented Saudi Arabia at the Venice Biennale 2024.


Her work has been exhibited regionally and internationally in institutions such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, USA (2023); the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada (2023); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA (2023); Misk Art Institute, Saudi Arabia (2023, 2022); Setouchi Triennale, Japan (2022); Louvre Abu Dhabi, UAE (2023); Diriyah Biennale, Saudi Arabia (2022); Taehwa River Eco Festival, Korea (2021); Victoria & Albert Museum, UK (2021); British Museum, UK (2021); Desert X AlUla, Saudi Arabia (2020); the Aga Khan Museum, Canada (2018); Institut du monde arabe, France (2017); the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE (2016); Santander Art Gallery, Spain (2016); Prospect New Orleans, USA (2014); Gwangju Museum of Art, South Korea (2014); Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar (2014); and in collateral shows at La Biennale di Venezia (2009–2011), among others. Her works can be found in the collections of the British Museum, UK; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; the Centre Pompidou, France; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, USA.


She participated in the Robert Rauschenberg Residency, USA (2015), and the artist-in-residence program at the Delfina Foundation, UK (2009). She holds an MA in Contemporary Art Practice in Public Spheres from the Royal College of Art, London. Born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1973, AlDowayan currently lives and works between London and Dhahran.