Art Residency | Al Balad

Mercury, 2015. From the series “Heavenly Bodies.” Shell gold, natural pigment and ink on paper,
59 x 59 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Athr, Jeddah.
June 29, 2015

1 July–1 September 2015

Opening: 30 June, 10pm

5th and RF Floors, Office Towers
Serafi Mega Mall
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Hours: Saturday–Thursday 9am–6pm
(Ramadan time: noon–5pm / 9:30pm–midnight)

T +966 (12) 284 5009 ext 303
info [​at​]

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 30 of June 2015: Athr, the contemporary art project space and gallery based in Jeddah, is soon to present Constellations, a cluster of exhibitions, talks and workshops. Showcasing a diverse programme, Constellations will present Dana Awartani’s first solo exhibition at Athr, The Hidden Qualities of Quantities, as well as Nasser Al Salem’s latest installation, And We Adorned The Nearest Heaven With Lamps, a group exhibition entitled Triplicity, and Athr X Design. Constellations is supported by an education program that includes a talk by Giovanni Castiglion and workshops for both adults and children.

The Hidden Qualities of Quantities
Dana Awartani solo exhibition

For her first solo exhibition at Athr, artist Dana Awartani shows three new projects intertwined by their exploration of ritual as gestures within which geometric and organic forms sit at the center of a set of performed sequences acted out on paper and canvas. Each project questions the formalist and invariable interpretations of the Qu’ran prevalent in the Saudi judicial systems that sit opposed to more liberal undercurrents within contemporary Saudi society. The artist works with coding and geometric forms, including pre-Islamic talismanic designs and systems, to delineate her own process. For Awartani, who is studying towards her Ijazah, knowledge and understanding of the Qu’ran is implicit to her practice. She uses this to draw out and challenge underlying assumptions associated to the Islamic faith, plucking out rituals that straddle religions and behaviors, expounding their inherent possibilities across a multitude of neutral contexts.

And We Adorned The Nearest Heaven With Lamps
Nasser Al Salem installation

The work is an installation that attempts to equally question and answer at the same time. Nasser Al Salem uses an extract from a verse in the Holy Qur’an to not only make strong references to the faith itself but to extract a whole experience from it. The blanket of stars that makes up the installation is intended to envelop the spectators like a cocoon, offering a sense of protection but also reminding us of the awesome vastness of the universe that reaches beyond human comprehension. Through the installation, Al Salem compels the spectators to ponder and perhaps even self-educate—what can we see of ourselves when we stare into the deep, speckled darkness of the sky?

Group exhibition

Triplicity is a group exhibition that draws on works by a number of artists that play with visual perception; each toying with the boundaries between the three illusions: physiological, pathological and cognitive, to explore the thresholds of objective realities. Whilst our eyes draw us into the works in an attempt to decipher and delineate a logical reading, our imaginations pull in the opposite direction, seeking out the potential for the impossible. The exhibition as a whole questions our shared need to make sense of the world around us, providing a neutral platform upon which scientific through to religiously charged questions can be asked.

Participating artists: Joseph Albers, Nasser Al Salem, Rana Begum, Patrick Hughes, Timo Nasseri, Aakash Nihalani, Seckin Pirim

Athr X Design
For its annual design exhibition, Athr has invited House of Today from Beirut, a non-profit organization that identifies, nurtures, and connects emerging Lebanese designers. Other designers include Artfactum Gallery, (Beirut, Lebanon); A-Guph (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia);  LeiVanKash Jewellery (London, UK); and Kartt & Co (Jeddah. Saudi Arabia).

About Athr:
Founded by Hamza Serafi and Mohammed Hafiz, Athr is a contemporary art project space and gallery which since 2009 has enabled artistic dialogue between contemporary artists across the world. Based in a 20,000 square feet/metric space in central Jeddah, Athr represents Middle Eastern and international artists, and encompasses spaces for creative experimentation as well as a visual arts bookshop and a terrace for outdoor presentations. It provides a creative environment for artists and showcases an exhibition schedule of international and Saudi contemporary art supported by extensive public programmes aimed at encouraging engagement with local audiences. Athr is currently developing a cultural exchange scheme with international artists and curators as part of its commitment to promoting cultural dialogue between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.

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Art Residency | Al Balad
June 29, 2015

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