Embracing diverse media, Manal AlDowayan's work encompasses black and white photography, sculpture, video, sound, neon and large-scale participatory installations. Her artistic practice revolves around themes of active forgetting, archives, and collective memory, with a large focus on the state of Saudi women and their representation.
She has documented social groups like the oil men and women of Saudi Arabia in her project, If I Forget You Don't Forget Me, and has addressed the impact of mass media on propagating intentional erasing of identities in her project Crash, highlighting the unnamed Saudi teachers dying in car crashes across Saudi Arabia. Her participatory projects have attracted hundreds of women to use art as a new platform to address social injustice like Tree of Guardians, Esmi-My Name, and Suspended Together.
In 2014 she was a recipient of a research Fellowship from NYU AD and was invited in early 2015 to the Robert Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida. Manal has shown her work in Prospect 3 New Orleans - The American Biennale (2014/15), in collateral shows at the Venice Biennale (2009/11), and at Museums around the world like Gawngju Museum in South Korea, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, The Victoria and Albert Museum in UK, and Mathaf Museum of Modern Arab Art in Qatar. Her art works are part of public collection at the British Museum, LA County Museum, Louisiana Museum, and Mathaf.
Manal holds a Master's Degree in Systems Analysis and Design and currently lives and works between her native Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, UAE.
RECENT ACTIVITIES IN 2014:
MATHAF MUSEUM OF MODERN ARAB ART - PROJECT SPACE
In a project titled Crash, Manal AlDowayan transforms Mathaf’s “Project Space” into a temporary artists studio. Over the course of the two-month project, AlDowayan opens this studio to the public, making transparent the materials and process of research into the frequent car accidents that take the lives of women schoolteachers in Saudi Arabia. Doha, Qatar January 13 to March 26, 2014
SONGS OF LOVE AND SONGS OF LOSS, OUM KALTHOUM AND LEE-NAN YOUNG, GWANGJU MUSEUM OF ART
An exhibition that is built around the premise of a fictional encounter between two icons, Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum and South Korean singer Lee-Nan Young. in Paris in 1967. “Using fiction as form of critical rewriting of an alternative history” Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fallrath. Gwangju Museum of Art, South Korea, May 16 - Aug 25, 2014.
P.3: PROSPECT NEW ORLEANS - NOTES FOR NOW
Curated by Franklin Sirmans who plans to include 50 local and international artists who embody a geographically, generationally, and culturally diverse selection of viewpoints about contemporary culture. P.3’s exhibitions, art installations and public events will take place at nearly twenty traditional and non-traditional spaces throughout New Orleans ranging from the Contemporary Art Center New Orleans, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Newcomb Art Gallery at Tulane University to the Mandeville Street Wharf on the Mississippi River, and many more. New Orleans, USA, October 25, 2014.
THE OTHER AND ME - SHARJAH INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
This exhibition comes as part of an expansive program of significant cultural events that mark the celebration of the city of Sharjah having been awarded the title of the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014. The exhibition will feature approximately 30 or more artists and will highlight the international currents of contemporary photographic art in the region. 21 May – 21 June 2014 at the Sharjah Art Museum. Sharjah, UAE
FOTOFEST 2014 BIENNIAL
The FotoFest 2014 Biennial, the 15th International Biennial of Photography and Photo-related Art, is March 15 - April 27, 2014. FotoFest's own exhibitions for the 2014 Biennial will focus on Contemporary Arab Photographic Art, including video and multi-media installations. The Biennial will showcase more than 40 contemporary Arab artists using photography and related visual media to address a broad range of aesthetic and cultural values impacting Arab culture. March 15 - April 27, 2014, Houston, Texas U.S.A.
CRASH - SOLO SHOW
A conclusion to her research conducted during her residency in Mathaf Museum of Modern Arab Art in Doha she has created an exhibition that documents the alarming numbers of Saudi female teachers that are injured or die in car accidents every year. For these women, the combination of low pay, a ban on driving, far flung teaching assignments and unsafe roads and drivers, has created a highly dangerous and unstable situation. In her latest research-based artwork, Crash, Manal AlDowayan asks the viewer, “Why don’t you see this?”. Dubai, UAE - Cuadro Art Gallery, March 17th to April, 2014.
PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES & PROJECTS GARDEN, MATHAF: MUSEUM OF MODERN ARAB ART
The concept of a garden expresses the idea of culture, the diversity of Mathaf’s unique Collection of modern and contemporary art, and tells of multiple histories to be explored. The modern museum is a place for intellectual and artistic production that responds to the need of society to recognize and validate its values and creativity, or to examine its history and perspective of development. Manal’s work Suspended Together is shown in this exhibition from December 10, 2013 to February 9, 2014 in Doha, Qatar
NOW BABYLON: ARCHITECTURAL EXHIBITION AT LOUISIANA MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
In the exhibition NOW BABYLON we turn our attention to the Arab world. A world that geographically, climatically, demographically and culturally differs enormously over the span from Baghdad to Saudi Arabia to Morocco. Only the Arabic language, with its variations, is common to all 22 countries in the Arab world, but other cultural similarities can be found. The exhibition is a crossover, showing architectural projects and installations as well as works of art. DENMARK 31 January - 4 May 2014
MUALGAT EXHIBITION AS PART OF THE JEDDAH ARTS [21,39]
A city wide art festival that examines both modern and contemporary art in Saudi Arabia. Manal will be showing a new work titled The Tree of Guardians in the curated show. February - April 2014, Jeddah Saudi Arabia
If I Forget You Don’t Forget Me was published by Cuadro Publications under the ISPN978-9948-16-986-4.
View From Inside - Contemporary Arab Photography, Video, and Mixed Media Art, On the occasion of the photography biennale FotoFest Houston, ISBN 978 - 90-5330-825-7
Arab Contemporary - Architecture and Identity, On the occasion of the exhibition held at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, ISBN 978-87-92877-24-6