Manal Al Dowayan

Saudi artist Manal Al-Dowayan, born and raised in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, combines photography and mixed media to capture the often contradictory relationships between tradition, political regulation and contemporary Saudi society.

In particular, Al Dowayan exposes the ways contemporary Saudi women negotiate and balance their historical and modern roles. In her “I Am” series, Al Dowayan appears as a doctor, construction work, scuba diver, and other vocations typically linked to men; she effectively highlights how involved Saudi women are in numerous spheres of influence. Al Dowayan’s work has been informed by her distinctive upbringing in an Eastern Province compound that was far-removed from the rest of the country due to its blend of expatriate and Saudi influences. Al Dowayan, who worked full time for the national oil company, underpins conflicts between life inside the camp and life outside of its semi-enclosed walls.

She has exhibited her work in New York, Brussels, the Venice Biennale and in the UAE. Public collections, including The British Museum, display Al-Dowayan’s photographs.