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My Mother’s Rug (Unique Edition), 2021

My Mother’s Rug is a project about the immigration of Saudis from their towns to the country’s main cities. Saeed Gamhawi uses projections of a rug, his father’s wedding gift to his mother, as a metaphor for the last connection he has to his hometown since he moved to Riyadh, and as a symbol of generosity and hospitality. In this work, Gamhawi tries to convey the sensory intensity surrounding his mother’s memory: projected light becomes a representation of the light that shines in the artist’s heart as he remembers the scent and texture of the original artefact. The rug has been digitized for fear that its threads might wear out and dissolve with time, while technology will keep it alive a little longer. This process, however, exposes the limits of the connections enabled by technological tools: the image of this intimate legacy is preserved, but it is stripped of its truth, of its details and of the feelings that they evoke.

King Abdulaziz Historical Center

My Mother’s Rug (Unique Edition), 2021

Saeed Gamhawi

Saudi Arabia

Saeed Gamhawi (b.1972) is a Saudi painter and a conceptual artist whose work tackles cultural heritage and social issues. Gamhawi is a member of the Fine Artists House in Jeddah, the Saudi Society for Culture and a cofounder of Tasami Center for Visual Art.

Some of his solo exhibitions include his first (1998) and second (2003) exhibitions at Jeddah Atelier for Fine Arts. He has participated in group shows such as the Misk Art Week (2019); Desert to Delta, Art Museum of the University of Memphis (2017-18); Abu Dhabi Art Fair (2017); the Saudi Art Council’s 21,39 exhibition Earth and Ever After (2016). His work has been shown in exhibitions on contemporary Saudi art in Egypt, Syria, Italy and the Netherlands.

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