Few artists understand metamorphosis as keenly as Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan. Long invested in interrogating the gender-biased customs that impact the condition of women in Saudi Arabia, AlDowayan is a sensitive yet critical witness to the cultural transformations engulfing the Kingdom. Her practice, formally speaking, regularly shifts and evolves—from the assertive black and white photographic portraits of highly skilled working women in her early I Am series (2005), to the research-driven Crash (2014), documenting media silence on fatal road accidents involving commuting female schoolteachers. Equally recognized for her work in sound, neon, and sculpture, AlDowayan is perhaps best known for the participatory installations Suspended Together (2011) and Esmi - My Name (2012), the result of workshops offering channels for thousands of women in the Kingdom to address unjust social customs, and more recently, Now You See Me, Now You Don’t (2020), land art for Desert X AlUla. AlDowayan’s practice navigates a territory where the personal and the political overlap. Her works spring from lived experiences—these intimate encounters with social injustice, the pangs of memory and forgetting. Yet her pieces are consistently galvanizing, sparking identification and engagement, particularly among women around the world. 


Born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1973, AlDowayan currently lives and works between London, Dhahran and Dubai.


Artist Website