• Manal AlDowayan | I Need Pause to Choose Which Path To Take Manal AlDowayan | I Need Pause to Choose Which Path To Take


October 14th 2014 to November 1st 2014

Night Light, a curated selection of light installations surveying socio-political works by seven leading contemporary artists opens at Cuadro Gallery

Aptly entitled, Night Light, the show will feature rare, retrospective light works by renowned Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan and light-boxes by Emirati photographer, Ammar Al Attar. In their debut exhibition at Cuadro Gallery, Iraqi artist, Halim Al Karim, French-Algerian artist, Kader Attia, emerging British artist, William Mackrell, leading Saudi artist, Ahmed Mater along with the Puerto-Rican and South African duo, Christto Sanz and Andrew Weir will present an exclusive body of defining works.

External lighting is often the most crucial component of an exhibition. In this case, Cuadro Gallery will dim its lights, allowing the illuminated art to become the solitary source and object of visual perception.

Bringing together seven distinctive artistic styles and vastly diverse viewpoints, Night Light will present the resonating language of an inventive medium fashioned by talent from around the world.  

Manal AlDowayan’s LED and neon works in Arabic script, chosen from pivotal bodies of work spanning the artist’s career, illuminate phrases such as We Were Together Speaking Through Silence and I Need to Pause to Choose Which Path to Take

Ammar Al Attar frames large format negatives of Middle Eastern Prayer Rooms in four by four inch light-boxes. Each place of worship is cocooned by a seemingly reverent light, which illuminates both its seclusion and tranquility.

Halim Al Karim spent three years hidden in a hole in the southern Iraqi desert to avoid conscription under Saddam Hussein’s regime. An elderly Bedouin woman supplied him with food, water and knowledge of tribal mysticism to survive the plight. His photographic abstractions are inspired by the experimental work of his father, an amateur photographer, meditative spirituality and his harrowing experience of the First Gulf War.

Kader Attia’s minimalist compositions employ shadow as much as light to rearrange our association with common political terms. The artist strains modern life complexities through light fixtures that reflect his own experience of growing up amidst Western, North African and Middle Eastern philosophies. 

William Mackrell is influenced by the tale of Sisyphus. He pays homage to the futile yet monumental effort of the mythical character by using repetitive and reflective patterns to test the tenacity of light, marking the exact borders between illumination and obscurity, hope and loss.

Ahmed Mater’s iconic transition light-boxes, critiquing the effects of petrodollar-influx in Saudi Arabia, depict the gradual transformation of an inanimate gas-pump into a somber human reality.

Christto and Andrew, as Puerto Rican and South African expats living in the Middle East allow their multicultural backgrounds to symbiotically inspire complex, stratified works that explore the transformative state of cultural identity. 

The exhibition will remain open from 14 October – 1 November.



Manal AlDowayan is a conceptual artist at the forefront of the global contemporary art scene. She was born and raised in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and carries a Masters degree in Systems Analysis and Design. She worked as the Creative Director of the Saudi Arabian oil company for ten years before becoming a full-time artist. She has participated in several residencies including: Delfina Foundation in London, The Town House Gallery in Cairo, and Cuadro Gallery in Dubai. Manal has been inducted into various cultural leadership initiatives including the Clore Leadership program and the British Council International Cultural Leaders program. She has also been invited as the key note speaker in many international conferences and seminars; most recently at the Clinton Foundation in Little Rock, Arkansas as part of the Club de Madrid’s 2012 annual conference, entitled “Harnessing 21st Century Solutions:A Focus on Women” and at “Beyond Borders, The Platform for Small Nation Dialogue and Cultural Exchange” in Scotland 2012. Manal has been included in international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale in 2011 and 2009, the Berlin Biennale in 2010, and in a collateral exhibition that coincided with Contemporary Istanbul in 2010. Her works are part of the permanent collections of the British Museum, LA County Museum, Mathaf Museum of Modern Arab Art, the Jordan National Museum of Fine Art, the Abdul Latif Jamil Foundation, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), the Nadour Foundation, and the Barjeel Foundation. Manal AlDowayan is represented by Cuadro Gallery in Dubai. She currently lives and works between her native Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, UAE.

Ammar Al Attar was born in Dubai in 1981 and currently lives and works in the United Arab Emirate of Ajman. He holds a Masters in International Business from the University of Wollongong in Dubai and a Bachelor in Business Information Technology from Dubai’s Higher Colleges of Technology. He has attended a number of photography courses both in the UAE and abroad and is a member of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), the Photographic Society of America (PSA), and the Abu Dhabi International Photographic Society (ADIPS). Al Attar’s work has been shown in various group exhibitions in the UAE, including Emirati Expressions and the Thessaloniki Museum in Greece in 2011.

In 2013 he exhibited at the Sharjah Biennale, Athr Gallery (Jeddah) and Riwaq Bahrain.

Al Attar’s Prayer Room series can be found in the collection of the Sharjah Art Foundation.

Halim Al Karim was born in Najaf, Iraq in 1963. He attributes his interest in photography to his father, an amateur photographer who experimented with printing techniques, including the development of partially blurred photographs. Al Karim employs a similar, though elaborated, method of photographic abstraction.

His works have been featured in recent international solo exhibitions at ART13, London (2013), Artspace, London (2013), Galeri Merkur, Istanbul (2012), Galerie Imane Farès, Paris (2012), Nuova Galleria Morone, Milan (2012), AB Gallery, Lucerne (2012), Art Paris with Galerie Imane Farès, Paris (2012), Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul (2011) and XVA Gallery, Dubai (2011).

His works have also been featured in recent group exhibitions at Amelia Johnson Contemporary, Hong Kong (2013), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012), Iraqi Pavilion 54th Venice Biennale, Venice (2011), Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah (2010), Saatchi Gallery, London (2009), Paul Klee Museum, Bern (2009), Asian Contemporary Art Fair, New York (2008).

AlKarim currently lives and works between Denver, Colorado, USA and Dubai, UAE.

Kader Attia is a French artist of Algerian descent. His early experience with the socio-politics of North African, Islamic and European ideologies form the crux of his work. Attia’s installations employ a vast cache of mediums to explore the repercussions of Occidental dominance and identity politics in the historic as well as modern world. His debut solo exhibition was held in 1996 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and since then his artistic career has gained major international recognition with exhibitions at the 5th Marrakech Biennial (2014), 8th Lyon Biennial (2005) and 50th Venice Biennale (2003) among others.

Recent solo exhibitions include Contre Nature at the Beirut Art Center, Lebanon (2014), Continuum of Repair: The Light of Jacob’s Ladder, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2014), Reparatur 5. Acts at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2013) and Construire, Déconstruire, Reconstruire: Le Corps Utopique at Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2012).

His recent group exhibitions include shows at the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2014), Witte de With, Rotterdam (2014), Singapore Art Museum, (2013), The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012), dOCUMENTA(13) Kassel, Germany (2012) and the Tate Modern, London (2011). Attia also recently completed a residency and group exhibition at Artpace, San Antonio, TX (2014).

William Mackrell earned a Bachelor of Art in Painting at Chelsea College of Art, London in 2005. He is currently pursuing a Master in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London. Mackrell has had solo exhibitions at Andipa Gallery, London (2013), MOCA London (2012) and Arts Gallery London (2012); as well as selected group exhibitions at Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna (2013), A.P.T Gallery, London (2013), Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2012), Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne (2011), Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne (2010), and Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland (2010).

Mackrell was recently awarded the Spotlight Prize from Andipa Gallery and the Royal British Society of Sculptors and was an artist in residence at Krinzinger Projekte, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna. His works have also been exhibited at Frieze London with Galerie Krinzinger (2013) and with Andipa Gallery at Plug In Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair (2013).

Mackrell has been shortlisted for the International Emerging Artist Award, Dubai (2014) and has completed a large-scale performance entitled Deux Chevaux supported by the Arts Council, England (2014). Mackrell completed a residency at Lichtenberg Studios, Berlin (2014) and was selected for The Trouble with Painting at Pump House Gallery, London (2014). Mackrell will be showing new bodies of work at Frieze Art Fair, London (2014) with Galerie Krinzinger and the London Art Fair (2015) with Andipa Gallery, London.

Ahmed Mater, born 1979 in Saudi Arabia, lives and works in Abha, Saudi Arabia. Born into a traditional Aseeri family, Ahmed grew up in a farm, south of the Kingdom, far from the urban centers that dominate modern Saudi Arabia. When he was 18, he became a founding member of Al-Miftaha Arts Village in Abha, while simultaneously studying medicine. Ahmed co-founded Edge of Arabia (2008), a platform that internationally supports Saudi Arabian artists and their work.  Mater has had solo exhibitions with Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna (2012), Inception Gallery, Paris (2011) and the Vinyl Factory Gallery, London (2010) among several others. His group exhibitions include The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen (2014), The Armory Show through Athr Gallery, New York (2014), Art International, Istanbul (2014), Artissima, Torino (2014), the Sharjah Biennale (2013), Art Dubai through Athr Gallery (2013), British Museum, London (2012), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012) Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kochi (2012), 54th Venice Biennale (2011), Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX (2011), The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA, (2011), Edge of Arabia Terminal, Dubai (2011), Willem Baars Projects, Amsterdam (2011), Vinyl Factory Gallery, Berlin (2010), Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul (2010). Mater’s work is housed in the permanent collection of the British Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Christto Sanz and Andrew Weir (Christto and Andrew) have a practice that evolves as a symbiotic process strengthened by a cross-pollination of their differing backgrounds. Christto Sanz (b. 1985) received a BA from the School of Fine Arts, Puerto Rico before completing his Master in Visual Communication & photography from Elisava, Spain. Andrew Weir (b. 1987) holds a BBA from Universtitat Ramon Llull, Spain and is currently completing an MA in Museum & Gallery Practice at University College London’s branch in Qatar. Together they produce photography, mixed media objects and videos exploring social identities, the media and reinterpretations of history. The Puerto Rican and South African duo currently reside and work in Doha, Qatar. Their art has previously been shown in the Middle East, The United States, Central America and Europe.