We Are Not Alone is an exhibition curated by six Saudi women under the name Contemporary Collective and is part of a new British Council programme that aims to build the skills of the next generation of curators and arts managers in Saudi Arabia.
The exhibition features works from the British Council Collection by leading UK artists such as Anish Kapoor, Ryan Gander, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Rachel Whiteread, and Cornelia Parker – many of whom have not previously exhibited in Saudi Arabia.
We Are Not Alone also includes a monumental site-specific wall drawing by emerging Scottish artist Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq.
Contemporary Collective programme
The Contemporary Collective programme was developed by the British Council alongside Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a national project to diversify the country’s economy including the development of arts, recreation and entertainment.
Following an open call for applications in 2016, the British Council selected Reem Aljalhami, Dalia Fatani, Raneen Bukhari, Maryam Bilal, Solafa Rawas and Thahab Alosaimi as the Contemporary Collective’s founding members.
The successful participants took part in a programme that covered the fundamentals of curatorial practice, critical thinking and writing, and the practical elements of arts management such as planning art events and reaching diverse audiences. They attended the British Council’s two-week International Museums Academy course at the Whitechapel Gallery, London; explored the British Council Collection; and visited key art spaces across the UK and the UAE to learn skills and build useful international networks.
"The idea behind the exhibition is to highlight our similarities at a time when we are being divided," said curator Raneen Bukhari from the Contemporary Collective in the Saudi Gazette. "We want people to get curious and interested in art. It is going to be a welcoming atmosphere that will encourage visitors to ask questions."