“Screens Series Online: Ahaad Alamoudi” continues the New Museum’s Screens Series, a platform for the presentation of new video works by emerging contemporary artists. While we are closed to the public, we’re pleased to present NIUN (2018), originally screened as part of “Screens Series: Ahaad Alamoudi,” which was on view at the New Museum from July 30–September 15, 2019.
In her videos and performances, Ahaad Alamoudi (b. 1991, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) engages with the traditional symbols and images that have shaped and defined contemporary Saudi culture. Alamoudi uses the desert as a backdrop for constructed, vividly charged scenarios in which she incorporates this symbolism into personal narratives that address her experience as a young female artist living and working in Saudi Arabia today. Interweaving her heritage—Saudi customs and folklore—with highly stylized video editing, audio mixing, and production, Alamoudi conveys the layered complexities of her home country’s changing social fabric.
Alamoudi’s video NIUN (2018), made in collaboration with American artist Michael Mogensen, is inspired by thirteenth-century Persian physician, geographer, and writer Zakariya al-Qazwini’s story, Awaj bin Anfaq, considered one of the first works of science fiction, about an alien who visits Earth to study the oddities of human behavior. The video follows two protagonists (NIUN 1 and NIUN 2) who claim the desert as their own and begin to lay down the foundation for a new civilization. Together, the pair devise seven essential components to ensure a prosperous future: energy, water, mobility, biotechnology, entertainment, technology, and manufacturing. The outlanders chant mantras—ardi (“my land”), noor (“light”), hajira (“traveller”), and hajirati (“my rock”)—which, for the artist, reinforces the importance of language and open communication in cultivating the future.
Ahaad Alamoudi (b. 1991, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), was raised between England and Saudi Arabia, and currently lives and works in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Recent group exhibitions include Hockney Gallery, London; Bates College of Art, Lewiston, Maine; Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco; and Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston. In 2018, Alamoudi was the recipient of the Crossway Foundation x Middle East Now Festival Residency in Florence. She is represented by Athr Gallery in Jeddah, where she had a solo exhibition, “Heat Burns,” earlier this year.
“Screens Series: Ahaad Alamoudi” was curated by Francesca Altamura, former Curatorial Assistant.