Manal AlDowayan to Represent Saudi Arabia at Venice Biennale
AlDowayan, whose practice deals with the representation of women, is the third woman to represent Saudi Arabia in Venice.
Artist Manal AlDowayan in Venice, 2023. Courtesy the artist and the Visual Arts Commission, the Commissioner for the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia.
'We are proud to be showcasing Manal AlDowayan's work at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia,' announced Dina Amin, CEO of Saudi Arabia's Visual Arts Commission, in a statement today.
Manal AlDowayan, an artist known internationally for her participatory installations, will represent her country at Saudi Arabia's fourth national pavilion in Venice.
'My approach to art over the last two decades has given me the chance to be part of a transformation that is taking place in my country,' said AlDowayan.
In works such as Suspended Together (2011) and Esmi-My Name (2012) she created an installation from participatory workshops that provided thousands of women in Saudi Arabia an outlet for reflection on social customs and the position of women.
Her more recent trampoline-based installation Now You See Me, Now You Don't (2020) made its encore appearance at Desert X AlUla last year.
Incorporating photography, sound, and sculpture, with participatory practice, her works interrogate traditions and collective memories as well as the status and representation of women.
In May this year, AlDowayan presented the participatory performance From Shattered Ruins New Life Shall Bloom (2023), at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Visitors were invited to view and, in a collective gesture of protest and solidarity, destroy porcelain scrolls bearing archival text and images depicting narratives of control and upheld structures around women.
'The Biennale Arte 2024 presents a rare opportunity to represent where I stand in my practice, positioned in the context of my community, my country, and the world as a whole,' said AlDowayan.
Although details of her installation are yet to be revealed, the artist suggested her work will reflect the 2024 Biennale's overarching theme of Stranieri Ovunque—Foreigners Everywhere, which invites artists to ponder the differences and disparities associated with identity, gender, race, nationality, and other factors.
The exhibition will show in the Arsenale throughout the Biennale from 20 April to 24 November 2024.