Dressed in colourful, traditional Arab attire and set against intricately woven carpets are portrayals of a young woman. The central character in each piece symbolises freedom in a conservative society – the desire to break free from the stereotypical woman.
The multiple-award-winning artist behind the works, Fatimah Al Nemer, hails from the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, Al-Qatif, and has been a part of the art scene in the region since 1999. “This is what the state seeks and with Saudi Vision 2030, the presence of Saudi art is to be inked on the world map,” expresses the artist, who expects Riyadh to be a global capital city of art in the coming years.
Fatimah Al Nemer. The Bride Carpet. 2019. Collage in acrylic on carpet. 110x68cm
Al Nemer's new piece entitled Love in the Time of Corona (2020) has been created as assurance that circumstances will get better. In most others, she hides her identity through a veil; works of note include The Bride Carpet (2019), Carpet Sheikha (2019) and Love in Cinema Time (2018), which represent Al Nemer's journey in the Kingdom.
The works are made using several recycled materials and many relate to Saudi’s roots. The artist describes the representations of women as “strong, often bold and mysterious, and a representation of important global topics about the human race and, in particular, their freedom. The distinction between beauty, cruelty and contradictions of self through picturing myself in my works, with the strategic use of contemporary intellectual philosophy and concepts, is a journey of struggle in itself."
Fatimah Al Nemer. Albaqashuh. Mixed media. 140x140cm
Al Nemer's personal experiences play a fundamental role in shaping her works. She marries history and the beliefs of our current times to defy myths and social standing.
The artist has participated in an array of exhibitions at galleries across the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in Sweden in 2012 for the Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Museum of the Prince of Wales in Mumbai in 2010, and at the Islamic Art Fair in the Museum of Islamic Art in Sharjah in 2014, to name a few.
Fatimah Al Nemer. Sidra. Mixed media. 175x120cm
She has also taken part in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris in 2018; an event which united 240 artists from the Arab world.
“Art is embedded in my country’s culture; it’s deeply rooted within our customs and traditions in the form of folk arts and even in our daily life routines,” says Al Nemer. “For me, the space between existence and nonexistence is infinite; so many myths, beliefs and historic events are the constant source of inspiration behind my works.”
Artist Fatimah Al Nemer
All images courtesy of the artist.