Epicenter X: Saudi Contemporary Art

This past week, the Arab American National Museum opened a new exhibition entitled Epicenter X: Saudi Contemporary Art. Epicenter X represents the first exhibition of its kind from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to appear in Michigan.

Epicenter X explores contemporary Saudi culture by promoting meaningful dialogue between Saudi artists and U.S. audiences. Furthermore, the exhibition sheds light on the vast diversity of contemporary artistic practice in Saudi Arabia. Cutting through the political discourse of media outlets and government officials, the artworks featured in this exhibition open doors to the lives of the Saudi people. In doing so, this presentation will challenge common views and stereotypes of Arab culture by lending voice to artists exploring poignant ideas centered on urbanization, globalization, religion and the impact of American popular culture in Saudi society.

A variety of works in diverse mediums by both established and emerging artists are featured in the exhibition. Highlights include works by current AANM resident artist, Ayman Yossri Daydban; Abdulnasser Gharem’s Men at Work I-IV; Qamar Abdulmalik’s Asylum of Dreams installation; Ahmad Angawi’s Wijha 2:148; and Yusef Alahmad and Josh Higgins’ Ahlan wa Sahlan. Also featured in Epicenter X are two contemporary Qut murals (on display in The Annex) created in the age-old traditional style of house-painting by skilled female artisans from southwestern Saudi Arabia.

The exhibition has been garnering lots of media hits. Here is some coverage from the Associated Press, Stateside on Michigan Radio, Hour Detroit, Middle East Eye, and Al Arabiya.

A digital copy of the exhibition catalogue can be found online. Catalogues and exhibition posters are available for free within the museum. Epicenter X is on display through October 1, 2017.

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