NPR A New Generation Of Saudi Artists Pushes The Boundaries

Abdulnasser Gharem doesn't have the background you might expect for a successful artist – let alone one famous for edgy work from Saudi Arabia. He was once a lieutenant colonel in the Saudi army. He went to high school with two of the 9/11 hijackers.

But his first major art work sold for a whopping $842,500 at a Christie's auction in Dubai. It's a glittering dome symbolizing the Dome of the Rock, set on its edge, capturing a dove.

In Saudi Arabia, a new generation of artists is pushing boundaries amid a growing art scene. Art galleries and daring visual artists, all unheard of just a few years ago, are thriving. Contemporary artists like Gharem have become a critical voice in the conservative kingdom, where open calls for reform are a criminal offense.

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