Via Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Ahmed Mater was born in 1979 and raised in Rijal Alma, an Aseeri village in an expansive valley on the trade route between Makkah and Sana’a that has retained its traditional architecture and culture in the face of encroaching development. Ahmed remembers how his mother, a painter of traditional Aseeri houses and a calligrapher, introduced him to Arabian and Islamic art. From an early age she taught him that art was a way to preserve his culture, his heritage and his religion. These traditional values became the foundation of Ahmed’s daily routine, helping to shape his approach to life. This traditional foundation was first challenged when his family moved from Rijal Alma to Abha, the regional capital and a modern Saudi city, where Ahmed now works as both an artist and a medical doctor. In the art that has brought him international attention, he combines notes from his medical education with a palimpsest of religious symbols and cultural references. He has shown his work both in group exhibitions across the world, including in London, Paris, Venice, Los Angeles, Cairo and Tokyo, and in solo shows in Abha, Dubai and London.