Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco, CA
11 Aug to 6 Sep, 2016
The older generation has more beliefs than knowledge, and our generation has more knowledge than beliefs. So we’re trying to understand how our society’s beliefs could fit with our new knowledge.”
Ajlan Gharem Artist, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2015
GENERA#ION presents San Francisco’s first exhibition of contemporary art from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This timely, cross-generational survey of twelve artists and two YouTube collectives working at the center of the Islamic world, is presented at Minnesota Street Project in the heart of the Dogpatch district from August 11 until September 6, 2016.
As the world’s media reports a resurgent tide of religious intolerance and conflict, a tight-knit group of Saudi artists, both men and women, have acted upon a dream to discov- er the people and diversity of America—from the East to West coast - trekking across the US interstate highway system and major cities on a mission to share not only their innate pas- sion to create but also to learn from the local public and their reactions to their artworks.
As Abdulnasser Gharem, founder of Gharem Studio and a driving force behind the
tour, comments, “The artists in this show pres- ent a new intellectual paradigm that utilizes unique concepts and terminology to define the artists’ role within their society and their generation. Rather than analyzing art and society separately, the artists confront art as a reflection of society, positioning themselves as its mirrors.”
San Francisco, a city named after Saint Francis of Assisi, who facilitated inter-reli- gious dialogue with the Islamic World, has always welcomed marginalized groups and outsider voices. Since the 1950s, the Bay area has attracted influential artists, poets and thinkers who have initiated some of the great generational movements of their time. More recently, technological innovation and a cultural renaissance in the heart of downtown have once again put the ‘City of Rebels’ on the world stage.
It now seems fitting that San Francisco welcomes these outsider artists from Saudi Arabia, very much the rebels of their genera- tion, to speak out against the stereotypes and restrictions that have been imposed on them, both internally and externally. In traveling to the U.S. at this time, they are defying main- stream expectations, reaching out directly to bridge one of the most contested political and ideological borders of our time.