VOLTA Basel spotlights Middle Eastern artists: Announces collaboration with Saudi Arabian ATHR Foundation

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VOLTA Basel spotlights Middle Eastern artists: Announces collaboration with Saudi Arabian ATHR Foundation
Athr Foundation.

BASEL.- With its first-ever Cultural Spotlight Pavilion, VOLTA Basel sets the focus on Saudi-based artists: ATHR Foundation presents works by ten independent artists in a fair pavilion measuring 70 square meters (approximately 750 square feet). Complementing the fair’s international lineup of artists, the chosen artworks highlight the diverse creative output from Saudi Arabia. Curated by Jeddah-based Jumana Ghouth, ATHR Foundation displays a variety of works that are connected in their shared reflection upon the notion of intangibility. The presented works explore the attempt at manifesting these intangible truths into material culture as abstracted physical interpretations of the unknown. After graduating from being an early VOLTA Basel exhibitor in 2013, featuring a solo presentation with Saudi artist Sami Al-Turki, to an established Art Basel gallery, ATHR Gallery aims to support the next generation of artists through its Foundation.

ATHR Foundation is an independent, non-profit, organization based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Founded in 2022, ATHR Foundation builds on ATHR Gallery's legacy and aims to address and respond to the evolving needs of visual art practitioners, both emerging and mature. Through its varied and inclusive programs, the Foundation provides a unique platform that sparks deeper public discourse pertaining to the arts, all whilst guiding and supporting visual artists in navigating industry complexities and developing sustainable and scalable practices.

The partnership was instated by VOLTA fair director Kamiar Maleki and Vice Chairman of ATHR Foundation and co-founder of ATHR Gallery Mohammed Hafiz.

In speaking of the presentation with ATHR, Maleki states:

“At VOLTA we are all about discovery. Ever since I became a fair director, I always wanted to support unrepresented artists in a dedicated section to provide new talent with a platform to shine, “ says Kamiar Maleki.

“With the aim to create a tight presentation, and inspired by EXPO 22, we now set the spotlight on a specific geographic region. The conversation with ATHR and Mohammed Hafiz was initiated some time ago and I admire the ATHR Gallery program and their long-time commitment to supporting young artists. I am now pleased to announce the first cultural spotlight on unrepresented artist established at an art fair. “

Curator Jumana Ghoulth

Jumana Ghouth is an independent Curator, based in Jeddah. She graduated with a BA in Design, with a focus on Publication Design from Dar Al-Hekma University.

As a curator, Jumana has a vast career, working closely with emerging artists as well as established local and international artists. Her most notable exhibitions include Drumroll, Please (2019) Ahmed Mater’s first solo show in the Saudi, The Language of Human Consciousness (2014), a group exhibition of 38 local and international artists including Richard Deacon, Sol LeWitt, and Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian and Nasser Al Salem’s first solo show And It Remains… (2012).

Jumana has been a key arts and culture practitioner in Saudi Arabia, her last position was heading the Public Engagement department at Jeddah Historical District Program under the Ministry of Culture (2019 – 2021), previously she was the head of Arts & Culture at King Abdullah Economic City). Jumana was also an integral part of ATHR, as she was the curator and exhibitions manager from 2011 – 2017.

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