Recent Articles
5 things to look out for in the Celeste Dupuy-Spencer edition
Close Look
5 things to look out for in the Celeste Dupuy-Spencer edition
Lindsay August-Salazar on her inspirations, influences and ideals
Meet the Artist
Lindsay August-Salazar – “Art has the capacity to expand my deeper drive and interest in human expression'
Colleen Blackard - 'I want to build worlds to share'
Artist to Watch
Colleen Blackard - 'From an early age I found it easier to communicate with gestures and pictures than with words'
Bepi Ghiotti on his photographs of rivers and mountains
Meet the Artist
Bepi Ghiotti - 'An artwork is never still although what it represents might seem like it is'
Catherine Opie tells us how she got this amazing shot
Q&A
Catherine Opie tells us how she shot this powerful photograph at the first ever women's march
Meet the Artist
Rey Zorro - 'When we went on holiday we’d put chairs on the beach to look for UFOs in the night sky. This was normal at home; we never spoke about it as being ‘out of this world’
Meet the people behind Assembly
Meet the Dealer
Meet the people behind Assembly - a new kind of gallery
The Artspace Art for Life Interview with Adam Clayton
How I Collect
The Artspace Art for Life Interview with Adam Clayton
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer on her new Artspace edition
Artist to Watch
'I was really trying to paint what it feels like to be living in the fall of human civilization' - Celeste Dupuy-Spencer on her powerful new Artspace edition
William Eric Brown on the latest Artspace auction
Meet the Artist
‘I’m most comfortable in that state of unknowing - is it real or imagined?’ - William Eric Brown
TM Davy on his benefit auction contribution
Meet the Artist
'Unhappy and happy flow back and forth like a tide making art. I’m working to be OK with that' – TM Davy
Anthony Goicolea on his new Artspace Edition
Meet the Artist
'I am most inspired by those weird transitional moments or in-between states where things undergo metamorphosis' - Anthony Goicolea
Jerry The Marble Faun on the latest Artspace Auction
Meet the Artist
‘It takes a lot of energy to tap into whatever is trapped inside the material - the process is like a releasing a spirit’ – Jerry The Marble Faun
Garrett Chingery on the latest Artspace auction
Meet the Artist
‘My interests include the relationship of one’s self to the world, surrealism and mystery’ - Garrett Chingery
Glennda Testone on the latest Artspace auction
Q&A
"We have an opportunity to not just 'return to normal' but to create a new normal" – Glennda Testone

Art Fairs

Meet the Dealers: Jeddah's ATHR Gallery Celebrates the Growing Contemporary Art Scene in the Gulf States

By

Meet the Dealers: Jeddah's ATHR Gallery Celebrates the Growing Contemporary Art Scene in the Gulf States
ATHR Gallery director Mohammed Hafiz posing with Ayman Yosri Daydban’s Untitled 1-8

Along with the Armory Show’s Focus section on Africa this year, the fair has assembled other exciting galleries from regions beyond Europe and the Americas. One such leader is ATHR Gallery, started in 2009 and based in Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city Jeddah. There, under the direction of founders Hamza Serafi and Mohammed Hafiz, the gallery strives to promote the best contemporary artists of the region and beyond to a growing number of domestic and international collectors. 

Running a gallery in a country as culturally conservative as Saudi Arabia is not without its challenges; director Mohammed Hafiz notes that one must be, as he says, “self-cautious” when deciding what to show. Nudity, for instance, is forbidden, as are references disparaging of Islam. Hafiz readily admits that “confrontational issues are not our forte,” though he does say that his artists cover some social and political subjects in their work including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

 lightboxPoklong Anading's Anonymity, 2004-2015

Of greater interest to Hafiz and his team is the increasing engagement with contemporary art in his country. The director is pleased to describe the Jeddah art scene as “vibrant” and growing, an understandable development in one of the wealthiest and most important cities in the country. He cites institutional developments like the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi as providing crucial art exposure that works both ways—his artists and collectors get a glimpse of the developments happening abroad, while would-be buyers from farther afield become more familiar with the specificity and history of the region’s artists.

tentNasser Al-Salem’s And Those Are The Days, We Rotate It Between The People, Plan, Eqar, from the "City Nomads" series, 2015

While the tastes of Western art institutions and fairgoers are notoriously fickle, with both content to hop across regions and history in search of the next new thing, the team behind ATHR remains steadfast in its devotion to contemporary Middle Eastern art and the specific concerns that go with it. The result, at least in the gallery's Armory Show booth, is very different from what is on offer from their North American and European counterparts. 

Although the artists are clearly aware of and in dialogue with their international counterparts, works like Nasser Al-Salem’s And Those Are The Days, We Rotate It Between The People, Plan, Eqar (printed on traditional cotton tent fabric) or Ayman Yosri Daydban’s Untitled 1-8 (Egyptian film posters rendered on tissue boxes) speak more directly to the experiences of their Middle Eastern compatriots than to some imagined global art community. For viewers at the Armory Show, this can only be a good thing.

DISCOVER

a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.

LEARN

through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.

BUY

authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.

CONNECT

with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.

INSIDER ACCESS TO THE WORLD'S BEST ART

Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.

  • COLLECT FROM 300+ GALLERIES & MUSEUMS