Parallel Kingdom: Station Museum, Houston

18 Jun 2016 - 02 Oct 2016


The Station Museum of Contemporary Art presented the major exhibition Parallel Kingdom: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia, a cross generational survey of contemporary art from the Saudi Arabian peninsula. This exhibition provided insights into Saudi culture through the creativity and vision of some the most influential Saudi artists of the 21st century, alongside younger voices from the fields of art, comedy and film.

In cooperation with King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, the Station Museum team assisted in organizing an exhibition that explores the complex issues faced by the new generation in Saudi Arabia, challenging the broadcast of hyperbole and contradictions which have sculpted the narrative of the Saudi Kingdom internationally. Moreover, questioning western perceptions of Saudi society. What do we ‘really’ know about the Kingdom and the people that live there? Through this exhibition we hope to have opened dialogue and further understanding between the two cultures.

Much of our collective knowledge on Saudi Arabia comes through a mediated lens of politics, conflict and religion. For decades the kingdom has been linked to the U.S. and the West, through economics and politics. The boundaries of internal Saudi development have constantly evolved, and recently, efforts have been accelerated to reflect Arab progress socially and economically, while challenging Western concepts of Saudi’s cultural history.

Parallel Kingdom sought to use a visual language and the first hand accounts of Saudi artists, to lay a new foundation for discourse and understanding of Saudi society, culture and politics.

Parallel Kingdom marked the launch of a multi-city tour of the United States to generate people-to-people dialogue and better understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The tour launched in Houston, one of the most important cities in America for art, education and cultural innovation.

King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture

King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, known as ithra, is a one-of-a-kind institution that brings together multiple offerings under one roof. From arts and culture to science and innovation, this bold initiative by Saudi Aramco promises a continuous journey of enrichment designed to energize the next knowledge economy of Saudi Arabia.

ithra aims to make a positive and tangible impact on the cultural scene by focusing on building local talents in the knowledge and creative industries. Blending iconic architectural design with advanced technology, and unique learning methods with enriching programs, ithra is an infinitely inspiring platform for explorers, learners, creators, and leaders–a thriving hub of knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement.

As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia strives to achieve its ambitious national development goals to transition to a knowledge-based economy, ithra acts as a bridge connecting cultures and cultivating a creative and innovative community.

the Station Museum

The Station Museum of Contemporary Art is an exhibition forum for local, national, and international artists, with an emphasis on fine arts that reflects the cultural diversity of Houston's communities. The museum has held comprehensive exhibitions from Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Congo, South Africa, Czech Republic, Austria, Palestine, Iraq, India, Afghanistan, and Russia. As an institution that supports local and Texas art, the Station has organized significant solo exhibitions by Mel Chin, James Drake, Dick Wray, Jesse Lott, George Smith, and group exhibitions that bring Texas artists together with national and international artists.

The Station Museum of Contemporary Art organizes exhibitions that question our society's morality and ethics. It embraces the idea that art plays a critical role in society as an agent of creativity and civil discourse and as a resource that deepens and broadens public awareness of the cultural, political, economic, and personal dimensions of art.

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