Edge of Arabia
Deutsche Bank Sponsors Exhibition Project in Istanbul
||Transition is the title of the Istanbul edition of the exhibition series Edge of Arabia. After being shown in London, Berlin, Venice, Riyadh and Dubai, the exhibition of recent art from Saudi Arabia is now on view in the Turkish metropolis. The most comprehensive edition of the exhibition is now on view at the Sanat Limani. The warehouse in the city district of Tophane near the Bosporus was converted to accommodate the art space. Edge of Arabia: Transition is part of the program of the European Capital of Culture 2010 and is sponsored by Deutsche Bank.
The title of the exhibition is apt. For Saudia Arabia, one of the world’s most conservative and puritanical nations, is indeed undergoing social change. Globalization has opened up new perspectives in the country. Tens of thousands of the Gulf state’s residents have studied abroad and become acquainted with different, more liberal ways of life. Saudi Arabia’s art scene, which is in a state of upheaval, is astonishingly diverse. Edge of Arabia intends to draw more international attention to these artists and at the same time is conceived as a forum for cultural exchange.
The 22 artistic positions presented in Transition engage with different social and cultural phenomena – with questions of faith, consumer culture and identity in the tension between tradition and a modern, globalized world. Ahmed Mater, one of the most interesting representatives of the emerging Saudi art scene, said: "I am a country man and at the same time the son of this strange, scary oil civilization. In ten years our lives changed completely. For me it is a drastic change that I experience every day." His work Evolution of Man shows that it is possible to ask critical questions in contemporary Saudi art. A ghostly figure is holding the spigot of a petrol pump to his head like a pistol with which he intends to commit suicide. The country’s dependence on oil has seldom been summed up so concisely.
Edge of Arabia: Transition
November 5 - December 26, 2010