Saudi Arabia's foremost artist reveals his creative perspective on Theocracy, Kingdom, Petrocultures,Cities and Mirage in art, photography and archive
This book tells the story of Saudi Arabia through my artists perspective. I am a doctor-turned-artist with a mission to confront with my traditional context, to explore Islamic culture in an era of globalization and to uncover the unofficial histories that have shaped the present. Mapping my journey between Abha, Jeddah, Mecca and Riyadh, this book is both a mid-career survey of my work and a prognosis of the changes forged by and in the Kingdom, and its significance in world religion, culture and geopolitics. From the year of my birth in 1979, when Islamic revolution reconfigured the region, my training as a community doctor on the Saudi/Yemeni border, my rise as the Gulf’s most radical young artist, to my insider’s role influencing national cultural policy, Prognosis is the story of my artistic journey into my society. In five chapters, Theocracy, Kingdom, Petrocultures, Cities and Mirage, the book incorporates photography, calligraphy, painting, installation and video, to reveal the complexities of Saudi Arabia in the context of wider global narratives. Beyond simple documentation, mine is an art of anthropology, politics, science and activism, tracing and recording the often-neglected histories that inform and structure contemporary life in Saudi Arabia. It is also an urgent prognosis of a society in dramatic transition.