Abdulnasser Gharem: Saudi Arabia – art and war

Talk October 11, 2011 7:00 PM

As both a conceptual artist and lieutenant colonel in the Saudi army,  Abdulnasser Gharem is somewhat of an unusual figure. Described as the “rock star of Saudi contemporary art“, he recently made history when his installation Message/Messenger sold for a record price at auction in Dubai.

One of the Gulf’s most talked about young artists, with no formal training, the sale established him as the highest selling in the country. He donated the proceeds to Edge of Arabia’s campaign to foster art education in the country where he still lives and works today.

Abdulnasser Gharem will be joining us at the Frontline Club to discuss the inspiration behind his work, which is now in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture & Information. He will also reflect on how he reconciles being a soldier and an artist, shedding light on Saudi’s secretive society and culture.

Chaired by Henry Hemming, journalist, speaker and author of Together, Misadventure in the Middle East, In Search of the English Eccentric and Edge of Arabia.

“Every civilization is judged by its art. When we look back on what we have done artistically at this time we will see that there were some people raising their voices. I think that many years from now we will still be reading about Abdulnasser Gharem.”

– Hamza Serafi, Co-founder Athr Gallery


Image: The artist with embossed rubber for The Stamp (Amen), 2011. Courtesy of the Artist and Edge of Arabia