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Abdulnasser Gharem

Art of Survival – this stands as a kind of preliminary statement to all the work of Abdulnasser Gharem (born 1973, Saudi Arabia). Gharem is surely the only artist to be both a leading figure on his country's emerging art scene and a major in the Saudi army.

Art of Survival – this stands as a kind of preliminary statement to all the work of this artist born in 1973 in Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia. Abdulnasser Gharem is surely the only artist to be both a leading figure on his country’s emerging art scene and a major in the Saudi army. His story began in 2003 when Abdulnasser Gharem, an army recruit, enrolled in the Al-Miftaha Arts Village in Abha, Saudi Arabia. Founded a few years earlier by Ahmed Mater, this institution soon became the nerve center of the new art scene that was represented in the 2004 exhibition "Shattah", which captured the renewal of the Saudi Arabian scene.

"The one thing I fear is running out of ideas, and this will happen only if I leave the country, or I stop talking to people."—Abdulnasser Gharem

From now on, Gharem began using the street as his studio, working in response to his local context. In numerous performances and site-specific installations, he drew attention to ecological, geographical, urban, and societal issues, recording his actions on video or in photographs. At the same time, he was working on a series of stamp paintings in which major events are juxtaposed with the excesses of a bureaucratic system that seems capable of expressing itself only by rubberstamping.

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