Artists Nouf Alhimiary, Abdullah Al-Shehri, Huda Beydoun, Ajlan Gharem, and Mohammed Sharaf, were invited by Edge Of Arabia and Art Jameel, with additional support from Tamer Group, to participate in the FotoFest Biennale’s internationally recognized portfolio review program, The Meeting Place. They took part in four days of workshops with international curators and art professionals to network and present photography based projects developed in their communities.
OUTCOMES & EVALUATION
"This is the first time I presented a full body of work and the feedback I have received from the reviewers has been invaluable. I have had the opportunity to widen my horizons through networking with other international artists." Ajlan Gharem
"Documenting the Undocumented is my first photo-based project and it has been both challenging and rewarding to discuss my work with an international audience in this context." Huda Beydoun
"This is the first time I have ever had to speak publicly about my work and I have discovered many layers through feedback from international curators, artists and professionals." Nouf AlHimiary
Nouf Alhimiary: A photographer based in Jeddah, Nouf Alhimiary is currently completing her studies in English Literature at Effat University. Her work explores women’s lives in a style that merges documentary and conceptual approaches. Exhibitions include the Islamic Art Festival, Sharjah Art Museum 2014; Rhizoma, 55th Venice Biennale in 2013; Mostly Visible, Jeddah Art Week, 2013; Hajj: A Journey to the Heart of Islam, British Museum’s Addis Gallery, 2012. Dispelling stereotypical depictions concerning the position of women in contemporary Saudi society is an on-going concern amongst the works of several female artists within the exhibition. In What She Wore (2013) a photographic blog consisting of a collection of photos of young Saudi women wearing abayas, artist Alhimiary spoofs the popular fashion blogging trend to reveal young Saudi women within various cities and settings – each dressed in a standard black abaya – offering both incongruous and banal images.
Shaweesh (Abdullah Al-Shehri): Shaweesh, a Saudi performance and street artist based in Riyadh, began working with graffiti in 2009. He expanded his practice to include digital and typographic art, as well as hand painted photo etchings that incorporate both US pop culture and classic Arabic themes. He has exhibited internationally at Rhizoma, 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 and Edge of Arabia East London: #Cometogether in 2012. The relationship between consumerist ideology and capitalism is a major point of exploration in Shaweesh's recent works, which juxtapose mainstream Saudi culture alongside American cult figures. His Superheroes (2013) series features Captain America and Yoda from the cult classic film Star Wars.
Huda Beydoun: Following her degree in Special Education, Huda Beydoun has studied painting, digital media, and photography at Dar Al Hekma College, Jeddah. Previous exhibitions include Rhizoma, 55th Venice Biennale in 2013; Edition #1, Edge of Arabia Battersea, London; and group shows at Ayyam Gallery, Dubai and Athr Gallery, Jeddah. Beydoun’s series Documenting the Undocumented (2013) explores the lives of immigrant laborers working in Jeddah. Her photographs feature service workers in their ordinary working environment, however, their identities are masked with opaque Mickey Mouse features and their costumes decorated with polka dots. These satirical works comment on the Gulf's precarious relationship between guest workers and their employers.
Ajlan Gharem: Born in Khamis Mushayt in the South of Saudi Arabia, Ajlan Gharem moved to Abha to pursue an undergraduate degree in Mathematics at King Khalid University. Now a math teacher in Alsahabah Public School in Riyadh, Ajlan is a co-founder of Amen Art Foundation, which supports artists from the Middle East. Ajlan is presenting a series of works in progress for portfolio review.
Mohammed Sharaf: Mohammed Sharaf captures the shifting and deteriorating interior – both documenting and staging memento mori in the domestic landscapes of aging homes. The son of a painter, art has been part of Sharaf’s life since he was a toddler. In addition to a bachelor of business administration and one of graphic design, Sharaf is currently studying for an MFA in Design at the School of Visual Arts, NY. Exhibitions include Edition #1, Edge of Arabia, London 2014; Out of Kuwait, British Council, London; and Loud Art 3, Akhobar, Kuwait, 2013. At FotoFest’s portfolio review, Sharaf is presenting a body of work that is in progress, focused on interior spaces in Kuwait.
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