The first major international solo exhibition of work by Abdulnasser Gharem one of the most significant Saudi artists of his generation. A pioneering conceptual artist and Lieutenant Colonel in the Saudi army, Gharem has consistently challenged existing modes of artistic practice in the isolated, rapidly changing Saudi cultural landscape. This immersive exhibition draws together the different strands of his practice – photography, video, painting, sculpture and performance – giving audiences the first opportunity to experience the full scope of the artist’s work.
Included in the exhibition were presentations of several of Gharem’s iconic performances including Flora & Fauna and Manzoa (both works 2007). The former saw Gharem wrap one of the trees lining Abha’s main street in a sheet of plastic, within which he remained all day, surviving on the oxygen produced by the tree. Though unlike anything local people had seen before, Gharem found an audience receptive and keen to understand what he was doing; subsequent performances have been increasingly collaborative, involving the community directly within the performed actions.
A founding member of ‘Edge of Arabia’, Gharem is a fierce advocate of arts education and is among a handful of influential figures who have worked to promote art in the Gulf.