It has been three weeks since I saw, ‘Transition,’ the Istanbul edition of the exhibition series, ‘Edge of Arabia‘ (which has also shown in London, Berlin, Venice, Riyadh and Dubai), and I can’t stop thinking about it. The show features contemporary art from Saudi Arabia, and presents 22 artistic positions intended to cause visitors to engage with various social and cultural phenomena, including faith, consumer culture and identity in the “tension between tradition and a modern, globalized world.” The prevalent use of symbolic imagery allows the works to speak for themselves, but many were accompanied by quotes from the artist in order to guide the dialogue between the work and the viewer. Some of my favorites include:

“I see us out, shedding this cocoon of negatives,
the misconceptions and preconceptions cast upon.”

(Shadia & Raja Alem, ‘Negative No More,’ 2004)

“…Longing for the hapiness that it promise, little do they know,
that when a city breathes, suffocation is bound to follow.”

(Manal Al-Dowayan, ‘Satalite Hallucination,’ 2010)

“Believing the yellow cow was as relevant now as it has ever been,
Ahmed decided to create a brand in order to ‘set the story free.”

(Ahmed Mater, ‘Yellow Cow,’ 2010)

“Message to the messengers.”
(Abdulnassser Gharem, ‘Detour,’ 2010)

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