Manal AlDowayan

Manal AlDowayan on her work for the Venice Biennale | Arab News

The work comprises two key parts: sound and soft sculptures. Saudi and Arab women’s voices are front and center; AlDowayan allowing them to reclaim their narrative, which she believes has consistently been misrepresented.  

“If you’re always told that you’re oppressed, repressed, depressed… you sort of lose the sense of yourself,” she adds. “And this artwork talks about this sort of constant hounding by Western media — and local media — speaking about the Arab woman; her body, her space, the rules of her behavior, and how she should exist in the public space.” - Manal AlDowayan

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BBC in the studio interview with Manal AlDowayan

Internationally renowned Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan is midway through an ambitious public installation that will be shown in the Valley of Arts, in the desert of north-west Saudi Arabia. She has just returned from collecting stories and drawings from the inhabitants of AlUla, and is starting to transform them into her own artwork. Titled Oasis of Stories, the project pays tribute to the local people of AlUla. She will carve their drawings into her installation, just like their ancestors carved petroglyphs to tell their own stories thousands of years ago.

Manal gives Melissa Gronlund a sense of the importance of storytelling and being a memory keeper in a changing society. She also talks about her early work challenging the restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia, such as I Am, which questioned the way women were only allowed to perform certain roles in Saudi society. Melissa hears how one of the country's most established artists is navigating Saudi Arabia's new cultural scene.

Manal AlDowayan to Represent Saudi Arabia at Venice Biennale 2024

Manal AlDowayan has been selected to represent Saudi Arabia at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

One of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent contemporary artists, AlDowayan investigates traditions, collective memory and the status and representation of women through works such as Suspended Together (2011) and Esmi-My Name (2012), which draw on interactive workshops engaging thousands of Saudi women to reflect on gendered social customs in the Kingdom and beyond.

AlDowayan’s installation will reflect the upcoming Venice Biennale’s theme of Foreigners Everywhere, curated by Adriano Pedrosa and which will explore the figure of the ‘outsider’ in all its forms, othered by nationality, race, gender, sexuality or wealth. The concept behind the work and further details will be revealed at a later stage.

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Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan wows audience in New York’s Guggenheim Museum | Arab News

The Saudi artist took over the museum’s rotunda for one night earlier in the summer to present a participatory art installation. The artist printed some of the pages from her research on the scrolls, which the audience then demolished. “The concept was to use your hands – it’s in your hands. You can really change things. I wanted to give power to the audience,” AlDowayan says. 

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How I became an artist: Manal AlDowayan | Art Basel

With a show at Sabrina Amrani Gallery reflecting a moment of disjuncture, she discusses how the changes in Saudi Arabia are being reflected in her practice: ‘I’m now experiencing a moment in my life where I feel disjointed. This is reflected in “Their Love Is Like all Loves, Their Death Is Like all Deaths”, my current show at Sabrina Amrani Gallery. With all the archaeological excavations going on in the Kingdom we are now allowed to relate to our pre-Islamic ancestors and acknowledge a connection to the ancient Egyptians, Nabateans, Mesopotamians, and Assyrians. Previously, the narrative was always centered around Islam. Now, the country is facing a significant historical and social reevaluation' says the artist. 

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The National News | Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan turns Lady Dior bag into her latest canvas

For the sixth instalment of the Dior Lady Art programme, Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan’s vision for the bag pushes the boundaries of both art and fashion. AlDowayan explains how the collaborative process began with a single design and expanded from there. The bags not only bear AlDowayan’s artworks from over the years, but also an imprint of her extremely detailed approach to her craft. One such nuance was the translation of the Dior letters into Arabic, something that had never been done before. AlDowayan had initially sent samples of the letters in classic calligraphic style, before deciding to change them to versions she had personally written, as she felt this would be closer to her vision.

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Saudi contemporary artist’s Dior Lady Bag highlights KSA

Saudi contemporary artist Manal Al-Dowayan was among the first Saudi, GCC and Arab female designers to feature and represent their heritage in a handbag collection for one of the famous French brands in fashion history, Dior. Al-Dowayan Lady Dior collection is made of materials and techniques using leather stitching, 3D printing, calfskin leather, embroidered black feathers, and black and white photographs.

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Financial Times Interviews Manal AlDowayan

"This week, AlDowayan is shaking things up again in Miami, where her work features in Art Basel Miami Beach's Positions section –A smaller collection of the works shown in Madrid–. An American audience presents different challenges. Will people be like it's nice but it's no veils? she wonders." Read the Financial Times interview to Manal AlDowayan about her solo exhibition.

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The New York Times interviews Manal AlDowayan for Art Basel in Miami

Manal AlDowayan of Saudi Arabia explores the changes in her country, where women are increasingly moving from the private sphere to the public one. Read the whole interview about her solo exhibition at Art Basel in Miami in the New York Times...

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Artist Manal AlDowayan chosen Art Basel's best ten booths in Miami

In a presentation titled “Watch Before You Fall,” Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan “tries to heal herself” from the changes her society is undergoing, according to Sabrina Amrani co-owner Jal Hamad. We are happy to announce that the booth has been chosen as a highlight in Art Basel in Miami.

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Art Basel Conversations - Zones of Conflict - Responding to Realities

War, national and transnational conflicts, as well as socio-political systems of imbalance and injustice have been part of everyday discourses for decades. Recent political tensions in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East, as well as discriminatory practices towards minorities are also affecting the cultural sphere. Artists from different cultural backgrounds, including Manal AlDowayan, all of them originating form regions of conflict, will reflect upon the situation in their respective places of origin and how they incorporate it in their works. How do they mediate conflict, dislocation, and discrimination in their practice? To what extend have war and injustice had repercussions on them? And how do they evaluate their impact as artists on these issues?

Manal AlDowayan, one of the most inspiring, influential and innovative women, says BBC

From Architects to scientists, politicians to artists, BBC chosed the 100 most inspiring, inlfuential and innovative women in the World. Manal AlDowayan is one of them.

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Manal AlDowayan Interview: Protecting Words

Each work of the artist Manal AlDowayan involves one or several slogans in the struggle for equality of women, especially in the country that concerns her by birth: Saudi Arabia. In 2005, only 3% of women had a working position, while 60% had a university education. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz said in a public speech that during his reign, women would become part of the country's workforce, along with men. The joy did not last long: next day’s newspapers spoke of a working woman, yes, but only in accordance with the positions that corresponded to her nature. "What suits my nature as a woman and who decides what suits my nature as a woman?", says the artist.

A force to reckon with

In Saudi Arabia, women need the permission of a man to cross the border of the country. This permission is completed through official papers. After various works about the position that women occupy in their country and also in the world, the lack of independence to travel was the starting point of the project of the artist Manal AlDowayan exhibited at the Sabrina Amrani Gallery in Madrid. For this, the artist asked for travel permits to Saudi women. The artist thought she would get the permits of a dozen. She had more than 200 replies. Listen to this interview in Conversations on the Avenue's podcast.

Beyond Borders Scotland Interviews 2013 - Manal AlDowayan

“What suits my nature as a woman and who decides what suits my nature as a woman?” Is the starting line for the works artist Manal AlDowayan talks about in this interview. A series of photoshoots with female film makers, teachers, engineers, doctors, artists… called I am. “Cultural leadership needs to be supported in a very focused way because there is an impact (in social changes)”, says the artist. People that do social changes don’t really exist as role models. They are not usually movie or sport stars...

124 doves to fight for the women rights

María Beguiristain, artistic coordinator of Fundación Banco Santander, talks about 'Suspended toghether', the piece by Manal AlDowayan that opens the exhibition ‘Look at the World Around You. Contemporary Works from Qatar Museums'.

Prologue 3: Manal AlDowayan, visual artist

P3 was held at Intercultural Museum (IKM) in Oslo. October 21st and 22nd 2017. Manal AlDowayan talks about projects like Suspended Toghether, My name, tree of guardians, Side lines. All of them strongly committed with women rights, specially in her Country, Saudi Arabia.

Manal Aldowayan opens Sabrina Amrani's second space

The new headquarters, six times the surface the space located in Madera Street, opens to the public with the latest works of Manal AlDowayan.

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Imagining our Cities through Public Art - Manal AlDowayan

A city cannot be imagined until someone writes or makes a work about it. So how do art practitioners access our cities and their people? Manal AlDowayan talks about it in this video.

A Journey of Belonging by Manal AlDowayan

Manal AlDowayan talks about culture shocks in society. Culture shocks in the places where she lives… But specially about the situation of women in Saudi Arabia. And AlDowayan talks about it through her works.

ABC Newspaper interviews Manal AlDowyan

Interview with the artist Manal AlDowayan about Arab art, the new orientalisms and the situation of Saudi women in the times of Bin Salman's reformist agenda.

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