Home > Exhibitions > Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater

Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater

March 19–September 18, 2016

Born in 1979 in southern Saudi Arabia and trained as a medical doctor, Ahmed Mater has been a practicing artist since the early 1990s, creating works that offer an unparalleled perspective on contemporary Saudi Arabia. Now based in Jeddah, Mater has focused primarily on photography and video since 2010. From abandoned desert cities to the extraordinary transformation of Mecca, Symbolic Cities presents his visual and aural journeys observing economic and urban change in Saudi Arabia. The exhibition, the first in the United States solely dedicated to Mater, also debuts new works based on his extensive research on Riyadh's development.

Masterpieces that offer unparalleled perspectives on contemporary life in Saudi Arabia.
–Her Campus

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Contemporary Art in the Freer|Sackler


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Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater is organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, in collaboration with Culturunners in partnership with Art Jameel. Generous exhibition support is provided by Faisal Tamer and Sara Alireza; the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; and Jerome and Ellen Stern.

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We are excited to reopen the Freer in October 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.