Abu Dhabi Focus podcast, episode two: How Saudi artists are driving political change

As Abu Dhabi Art fair opens, we speak to the Saudi artists Manal Al Dowayan and Ahmed Mater. Plus: Iraq's Dia Azzawi on creating the Arab world's Guernica

David Clack

David Clack

This week, The Art Newspaper is in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, to bring you a special, three-part series of podcasts during a memorable week.

The podcast is available on our website and all the usual places where you find podcasts including iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and TuneIn.

In the podcast

  • As the art fair and cultural event Abu Dhabi Art opens, we talk to two Saudi artists who have been using their art to comment on issues in their society.
  • Ahmed Mater is one of Saudi Arabia’s best-known artists, both in his own country and abroad. He has produced a series of extraordinarily vivid photographs of the most sacred place for Islam—Mecca—with all of its new luxury hotels and glitz. He has also been appointed to a very important role in the cultural scene by Crown Prince Mohammed.
  • Manal Al Dowayan is an artist-activist, particularly engaged with the role of women in Saudi Arabia. Her work is about them, but also made with them. One of the subjects she has taken up is the prohibition, until very recently, of women drivers.
  • The Iraqi-born artist Dia Azzawi is already a classic of Modern Arab art, whose retrospective in Qatar this year was billed as the largest ever solo exhibition by an Arab artist. At Abu Dhabi Art, Meem Gallery is showing a single work by Dia—a 16 metre long painting about the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We speak to him about his monumental works.

Coming soon

Look out for the third episode in our Abu Dhabi Focus podcast series coming later this week.

Want to find out more?

You can find all of our Abu Dhabi Focus coverage here, including a video from inside Louvre Abu Dhabi and from the opening of Abu Dhabi Art.

Keep up to date with all of our news from Abu Dhabi and beyond on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.