Manal AlDowayan

Manal AlDowayan is a Saudi artist, living and working in Dubai, UAE and Dahran, Saudi Arabia. Born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1973.


Embracing diverse media, Manal AlDowayan’s work encompasses black and white photography, sculpture, video, sound, neon and large-scale participatory installations. Her artistic practice revolves around themes of active forgetting, archives, and collective memory, with a large focus on the state of Saudi women and their representation. 


She has documented social groups like the oil men and women of Saudi Arabia in her project, If I Forget You Don’t Forget Me, and has addressed the impact of mass media on propagating intentional erasing of identities in her project Crash, highlighting the unnamed Saudi teachers dying in car crashes across Saudi Arabia. Her participatory projects have attracted hundreds of women to use art as a new platform to address social injustice like Tree of Guardians, Esmi-My Name, and Suspended Together.


In 2014 she was a recipient of a research Fellowship from NYU AD and was invited in early 2015 to the Robert Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida. Manal has shown her work in Prospect 3 New Orleans - The American Biennale (2014/15), in collateral shows at the Venice Biennale (2009/11), and at Museums around the world like Gawngju Museum in South Korea, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, The Victoria and Albert Museum in UK, and Mathaf Museum of Modern Arab Art in Qatar. Her art works are part of public collection at the British Museum, LA County Museum, Louisiana Museum, and Mathaf.




2003     MSC. Information Systems Analysis and Design. London Metropolitan University. London, UK.
1999     BSBA. Computer Information Systems. Suffolk University. Boston, USA.

Solo shows


2021    Eternal Return of the Same. Cromwell Place. London, UK.

2019     The Nobel Museum Comission. The Nobel Museum. Stockholm, Sweden.

2019     Watch Before You Fall. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Madrid, Spain.

2019     What Is And What Has Been. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Madrid, Spain.

2018     Suspended Together. British Museum. London, UK.

2018     Suspended Together. The Aga Khan Museum. Toronto, Canada.

2018     You are from Me and I am from You- Public Comission. Abu Dhabi, UAE.

2017     Letters. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

2017     100 Masterpieces of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art. Paris, France.

2017     Bayn (In Between) UAE Art Unlimited. Abu Dhabi, UAE.

2017     I am here. Rojas + Rubensteen Projects. Miami, USA.

2017     Safar- 21,39 Jeddah Arts 4th Edition. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

2017     And I, will I forget?  Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Madrid, Spain.

2016     And I, will I forget?  NYU. New York City, USA.

2015     I had no wings. Alsekal Avenue. Dubai, UAE.

2014     Crash. MATHAF Arab Museum of Modern Art. Doha, Qatar.

2014     Crash. Cuadro Fine Art Gallery. Dubai, UAE.

2013     Journey of Belonging. Athr Gallery. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

2013     The State of Disappereance. Cuadro Fine Art Gallery. Dubai, UAE.

2012     Esmi (My Name). Cuadro Fine Art Gallery. Dubai, UAE.

2012     If I forget You Don't Forget Me. Cuadro Fine Art Gallery. Dubai, UAE.

2012     The Samawi Collection II. Ayyam Gallery. Dubai, UAE.

2012     The Samawi Collection II. Katara Galleries. Doha, Qatar.

2010     And We Were Speaking Through Silence. Sultan Gallery. Kuwait City, Kuwait.

2010     And We Had No Shared Dreams. Dubai, UAE.

2009     Bastakia during Dubai Art Fair. Dubai, UAE.

2009     Landscapes of the Mind. Dubai, UAE.


Group shows

2021     BUM BUM BA YE [Under Pressure]. Sabrina Amrani. Madrid, Spain.

2021    Reflections. Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa. British Museum, London, UK.
2021    Light Upon Light: Light Art Since the 1960s. Noor Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

2021    Breaking the Monument. Centro de Arte Galego de Arte Contemporáneo (CGAC). Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

2020    Ver Versus Ver. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Madrid, Spain

2020    Illuminate Me. Northern Alps Art Festival, Japan. 

2020    I Love You, Urgently. 21,39 Jeddah Arts. Jeddah, KSA. Curated by Maya El Khalil.

2020    Durational Portrait: A Brief Overview of Video Art In Saudi Arabia. ATHR. Jeddah, KSA.

2020    Desert X. Al-Ullah Desert, Saudi Arabia. Curated by Neville Wakefield, Raneem Farsi and Aya Alireza.

2019     Your Voice Matters. Museum Arnhem. Curated by Mirjam Westen. Arnhem, Netherlands.

2018     Crude. Jameel Arts Centre. Curated by Murtaza Vali. Dubai, UAE.

2018     Femitopías: Mujeres, feminismo y cultura visual. Curated by Margarita Aizpuru. Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Rafael Botí. Cordoba, Spain.

2018     Tribe: Contemporary Photography From the Arab World. Curated by: Janet Bellotto, Dr. Woodman Taylor. American University Museum, Katzen Arts Centre. Washington DC, USA.

2018     Melancholia. Curated by Louma Salamé. Villa Empain, Boghossian Foundation. Brussels, Belgium.

2017     Letters. Athr Gallery. Jeddah, KSA.

2017     Beatutiful Stranger. Bovenverdieping Museum De Wieger. Deurne, Holland.

2017     Bayn – The in-between. Warehouse 421. Abu Dhabi, UAE.

2017     Safar. Gate 2 Gold Moor Mall. Jeddah, KSA.

2016     Barjeel Art Foundation. Imperfect Chronology - Mapping the Contemporary II. Whitechapel Gallery. London, UK.

2016     Homeground Contemporary Art from the Barjeel Art Foundation. Maraya Art Centre. Sharjah, UAE. 

2016     Genera#ion جير. The Minnesota Project. San Francisco, USA. 

2016     Illumination - New contemporary art at Louisiana. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Humlebæk, Denmark.

2016     Barjeel Art Foundation. Imperfect Chronology – Mapping the Contemporary II. Whitechapel Gallery. London, UK.

2016     Looking at the World Around You. Contemporary Works from Qatar Museums. - Sala de Arte Santander - Fundación Banco Santander. Madrid, Spain.

2016     Do it - Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces, Sharjah, UAE.

2015     Walls and Margins - Maraya Art Centre - Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE.

2015     Home Ground - AGA Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada.

2015     What is Home? - Pump House Gallery, London, UK.

2015     The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Yay Gallery, Baku, Azerbaijan.

2015     FotoFest: View From Inside: Contemporary Arab Photography, Video and Mixed Media Art -Emirates Palace Gallery, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

2015     Collacurating: Sculptural Perspectives - Dubai, UAE.

2015     Anonymous Was A Woman - Hafez Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

2015     Islamic Art Now: Contemporary Art Of The Middle East - LA Country Museum, LA, USA.

2014     The Other Sky - JAMM Dubai, Dubai, UAE.

2014     Prospect.3: Notes for Now - Prospect New Orleans, New Orleans, USA.

2014     Songs of Loss and Songs of Love - Gwangju Art Museum, Gwangju, South Korea.

2014     The Other and Me - Sharjah International Photography Exhibition, Sharjah Museum, UAE.

2014     FotoFest 2014 - View From Inside - FotoFest Biennial, Houston, TX, USA.

2014     Arab Contemporary - Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark.

2014     Paintings, Sculptures & Projects Garden, Mathaf - Museum of Modern Arab Art, Doha, Qatar.

2014     Mualgat Exhibition as part of the Jeddah Arts - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

2014     Now Babylon, architectural exhibition - Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

2013     Against the Grain - CAP Kuwait, Kuwait City, Kuwait.

2013     ICA Film Screening: Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture. Cinema on the Steps - London, UK.

2013     Mind/Body exhibition - Dubai, UAE.

2012     A Subtle Perfume - CAN Foundation - Space CAN, Seoul, South Korea.

2012     Light from the Middle East: About the Exhibition - Victoria & Albert Museum - V&A, London, UK.

2012     I Am. Harnessing 21st Century Challenges: A Focus on Women - Clinton Foundation, Arkansas, USA.

2012     #cometogether - Old Truman Brewery, London, UK.

2012     Soft Power - AIAan Art Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

2012     The Samawi Collection II - Ayyam Gallery - Beirut, Lebanon.

2012     Simply Words? - AB Gallery - Lucerne, Switzerland.

2012     Domination, Hegemony and The Panopticon - Traffic, Dubai, EAU.

2012     Edge of Arabia Jeddah: We Need to Talk - Al Furusiya Marina, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

2012     Edge Of Arabia Jeddah: We Need To Talk - EOA. Projects, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK.

2011     Metropolis. city life in the urban age 2011 - Noorderlicht Photo Festival, Groningen, Nederlands.

2011     Freedom to Create - National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, Bosnia.

2011     The Future of a Promise - Collateral exhibition, Venice Biennale 2011 - Magazzini del Sale, Venice, Italy.

2011     The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range - Athr Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

2011     Freedom to Create - Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai, India.

2011     Strike Oppose - Maraya Art Centre - Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE.

2011     Freedom to Create - Ana Tzarev Gallery, New York, USA.

2011     Righ Here Right Now - ​Cuadro Gallery, Dubai, UAE.

2011     Edge Of Arabia - ​Termina, Dubai, UAE.

2011     Look Beyond - ​Opec Fund for International Development, Vienna, Austria.

2010     Peripheral Vision - Maraya Art Centre - Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE.

2010     Once Upon A Time - Bait Muzna Gallery, Muscat, Oman.

2010     Fluid Form I - Contemporary Art from Arab Countries in Seoul, South Korea.

2010     Grey Borders/Grey Frontiers - Saudi Contemporary Art comes to Berlin, Germany.

2009     Journey into Art - Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

2009     Nawafith (Windows) - Saudi Italian Artist Exchange, Exhibit Rome, Italy.

2008     Edge Of Arabia: Contemporary Art From Saudi Arabia - Venice, Italy.

2008     Edge Of Arabia: Contemporary Art From Saudi Arabia - London, UK.

2008     Reorientations, Exhibit Brussels, Belgium.

2008     The Right to Space, Manama, Bahrein.

2007     Regards de Femmes (through the Eyes of Women), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

2007     Self-Representation in the Arabian Gulf: Perspectives in Photography and Video - Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar - VCUQ, Doha, Qatar.

2007     Common Ground - Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah, UAE.

2007     British Foreign Trade Office, Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

2007     Nawafith (Windows) - Exhibit Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

2007     The City and the Street - Circle 4, Muscat, Oman.

2006     National Oil Companies Meeting in Sauidi Arabia, Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

2006     Gallery of Social and Political Art, Boston, USA.

2006     Saudi Aramco Art Group, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

2006     StarSight Project, Dubai, UAE.

2006     Riwaq Gallery, Manawa, Bahrein.

2006     Common Ground Exhibit arabian Gulf region.

2005     Thahab - Exhibition Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

2004     International Sudent House Photo Exhibit, London, UK.

2003     Looking Through The Glass Exhibit - Burgos, Spain.

2003     International Museum of Women, San Francisco, USA.


Art Fairs


2020    ARCOmadrid. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Madrid, Spain.
2020    Taipei Dandgai. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Taipei, Taiwan.
2019    Art Basel Miami Beach. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Miami, USA.

2019     ARCOlisboa. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal.

2019     ARCOmadarid. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Madrid, Spain.

2018     Artissima. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Turin, Italy.

2018     ARCOmadrid. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Madrid, Spain.

2017     Art Brussels. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Brussels, Belgium.

2017     The Armory Show. Sabrina Amrani Gallery,. New York, USA.

2017     ARCOmadrid. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Madrid, Spain.

2016     ArtBo. Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Bogota, Colombia.




2015     Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Captiva, USA.

2014     The Project Room. Mathaf Museum of Modern Arab Art. Doha, Qatar.

2011     The Townhouse Gallery. Cairo, Egypt.

2010     Cuadro Gallery Residency Program. Dubai, UAE.

2009     Delfina Foundation. London, UK.


Awards and grants


2014     Arab Women Award: Artist of the year.




Crude by Murtaza Vali- Published by Jameel Art Center, Dubai, UAE, 2018. ISBN 978-9948-38-137-2

Subversive Ceramics by Claudia Clare- Published by Bloomsbury Academic, London, UK, 2016. ISBN 978-1-4725-2854-4

Tribe Magazine Featured Artist, text by Laura Barlow- Issue Q4 2018, Cover and 12 pages Image Spread.

Art Imitates Life by Rania Habib- Architechtural Digest ME, Issue July/August 2018, p. 38

Imperfect Cronology: Arab Art to the Contemporary- Works from  Barjeel Foundation- Edited by Omar Kholeif with Candy Stobbs- Published by Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK. 2015- ISBN 978-3-7913-5485-9

Hitting the Road (driving), by Manal AlDowayan- Forescast Issue: A View Beyond the Horizon, Issue 07, 2018. Publisehd by The Monocle Magazine.

I Am, by Manal AlDowayan. The Visual Research and Social Justice special issue of Studies in Social Justice Journal, December 2017.

Do it (in Arabic)- Edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist y Hoor AlQassimi- Published by the Sharjah Art Foundation 2016- ISBN 978-1-926473-05-5.

Home Ground Contemporary Art from the Barjeel Art Foundation. Published by The Aga Khan Museum. 2015. ISBN: 978-1-926473-05-5
Color and Line - The Naqvi Collection. Published by The Naqvi Collection. 2015. ISBN: 978-9948-18-110-1 

Summer Autumn Winter ... and Spring: Conversations with Artists from the Arab World, by Sam Bardouil and Till Fellrath.  Skira Publishing Group.

Prospect.3: Notes For Now, by Franklin Sirmans and contributions by Christin Y. Kim and Rita Gonzalez. Prestel Publishing. ISBN: 978-37-9135-403-3

View From Inside - Contemporary Arab Photography, Video, and Mixed Media Art. FotoFest Houston. ISBN: 978 - 90-5330-825-7

Arab Contemporary - Architecture and Identity. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. ISBN: 978-87-92877-24-6

Light from the Middle East: New Photography. V&A Publishing. ISBN: 978-3-86930-557-8

If I Forget You, Don’t Forget Me. Cuadro Publications. ISBN: 978-9948-16-986-4.

Arab Photography Now, edited by Rose Issa and Michket Krifa. ISBN: 978-3-86828-189-7

Metropolis: City Life in the Urban Age Noorderlicht, edited by Wim Melis and Ton Broekhuis. ISBN: 978-90-76703-46-6

Edge of Arabia. Edge of Arabia. ISBN: 978-0-9561146-1-8

Ibn Saud: The Desert Warrior and His Legacy, by Michael Darlow and Barbara Bray. ISBN: 978-0-7043-7181-1

Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women. International Museum of Women. Editor Paula Goldman, March 2006, pages 194-195.

Self-Representation in the Arabian Gulf – Perspectives in Photography and Video. Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar. ISBN: 978-1-934253

Common Ground. Catalogue for Common Ground at Sharjah Art Museum, British Council.


Public collections


King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Humlebæk, Denmark.

The British Museum. London, UK.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Los Angeles, USA. 

Mathaf Museum of Modern Arab Art. Doha, Qatar.

Jordan Gallery of Fine Arts. Amman, Jordan.

Abdul Latif Jameel Foundation. London, UK.

Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH). Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Nadour Foundation. Berlin, Germany.

Barjeel Foundation. Sharjah, UAE.