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Ahmed Mater | Saudi Arabia

Including Evolution of Man, 2010

5 light boxes
79x59 cm each

Courtesy of the artist

Ahmed Mater’s work serves as a warning sign for humanity as a whole by illustrating the dangers of greed. The pump is a metaphor for the man who persistently consumes the finite resources he has been granted, thus in fact bringing about his own destruction.

Mater calls us to let go of the pump, return it to its place, and put at a distance the smoking gun that is directed at us. According to Mater, a Saudi artist who was trained as a doctor, evolution does not necessarily lead to the survival of the fittest (as Charles Darwin claimed) and at times it leads to annihilation.

Mater’s work presents the destructive economic cycle created in Saudi Arabia following the blossoming of its oil industry. Most of the oil profits were used for the building and development of the kingdom, but the investment in broadening ways of progressive thinking was insignificant.

He blames conservative parties at the government, who control education and the media, for leading the way to a widening of the gaps between the social and economic elites and the masses who are left behind, and forewarns of the possibility of revolts that would erupt like the ones that have recently led to violent actions in Saudi Arabia and beyond it, that even included attempts to harm the oil manufacturing in the country. This art work is also implying a universal message.