Distinguished Lecture: Ahmed Mater - Bates College

28 Oct 2016 -
Bates Olin Arts Center - Room 105
75 Russell Street
Lewiston, ME 04240

As part of the programming surrounding Phantom Punch: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia in Lewiston, noted Saudi Arabian artist Ahmed Mater lectured on his work.

Ahmed Mater is recognized as one of the most influential Saudi Arabian artists today.

Born in 1979 in southern Saudi Arabia and trained as a medical doctor, Mater has been a practicing artist since the early 1990s, creating works that offer an unparalleled perspective on contemporary Saudi Arabia. His work explores the narratives and aesthetics of Islamic culture in an era of globalization, consumerism and transformation. His recent work increasingly uses image and video to explore local collective memory and unofficial histories behind contemporary Saudi Arabian sociopolitical life. By combining art, science and the concept of identity, his work marks a revival of contemporary art in Saudi Arabia with the emergence of an artistic scene.

Mater’s work has been included in the Sharjah Biennial in 2007 and 2013, Cairo Biennial in 2008, Venice Biennial in 2009, Berlin Biennial, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India in 2012, and in exhibitions at the Pompidou Center, Paris; British Museum, London; Istanbul European Capital of Culture, Sanat Limanı, Istanbul, Turkey; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and in numerous Edge of Arabia exhibitions in London, Europe, and the US. His exhibition, Symbolic Cities: the Work of Ahmed Mater, Sackler Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, March 19 – September 18, 2016, was the first major museum exhibition of a contemporary Saudi artist in a US museum.

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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.


As a teaching museum at a liberal arts college, the Museum of Art and its exhibitions, collections, stewardship, and interpretation bring a world of ideas to campus that  enhance the vitality of the intellectual and cultural life of Bates, the surrounding communities, and beyond. The museum serves as a laboratory for the development and presentation of thought-provoking exhibitions; acquires and stewards artworks that  strengthen the collection in ways that support the liberal arts curriculum; develops a wide  variety of education programs that are integral to Bates and the broader community, especially K-12 students; supports creative, rigorous, and original scholarship; and  provides professional training opportunities through internships. The Bates Museum of Art is recognized for presenting ambitious and adventuresome thematic exhibitions of regional, national, and international artists, and for integrating them into the academic and cultural life of campus, the surrounding communities, and the state of Maine.

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