Maan grant: Saudi artists to sell works to support other creatives in the kingdom

Athr Gallery's micro-grant initiative will provide financial support of $1,300 to $2,600 for artists living in Saudi Arabia

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Athr Gallery in Jeddah has launched a micro-grant initiative for artists in Saudi Arabia affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Named Maan, which means "together", the initiative was developed in collaboration with Saudi artists Manal Al Dowayan, Nasser Al Salem, Dana Awartani, Sultan Bin Fahad, Ahmed Mater, Muhannad Shono and Palestinian artist Ayman Yossri Daydban, who lives in Jeddah.

The artists have agreed to sell limited edition artworks in order to raise funds for the micro-grants that will be given to emerging artists. The grants are intended to sustain artistic production and research projects that may have been halted due to the pandemic.

One of the artworks available is a print by Bin Fahad titled 1440m, a digitally manipulated image of King Abdulaziz from 1947 inspecting Aramco oil fields. By flipping the image, Fahad has made it appear as though the ruler were in the driver's seat, rather than the passenger side. The work is being sold for $2,133 (Dh7,800).

Other works include Mater's Magnetism, a replication of a scene from Makkah using magnets and particles of iron. In the image, worth $2,400, the cuboid magnet in the centre represents the Kaaba, while the iron filings stand for pilgrims across the world flocking to the holy site.

Awartani's contribution is It Was Like A Dream..., an image from her award winning video installation from 2017, I went away and forgot you. A while ago I remembered. I remembered I'd forgotten you. I was dreaming, in which she sweeps sand tiles bearing traditional Islamic design. The print sells for $1,867.

There are also works by Al Dowayan, Al Salem, Shono and Daydban.

'It Was Like A Dream…' by Dana Awartani. Courtesy the artist and Athr Gallery
'It Was Like A Dream…' by Dana Awartani. Courtesy the artist and Athr Gallery

Half of the proceeds of the first 25 editions of each work will go towards the initiative. For the remaining number, 25 per cent of the sales will be donated.

The amount for the micro-grants range from $1,300 to $2,600 and will be awarded through an open call.

Applications are open to creatives from Saudi Arabia and those who have been living in the kingdom at least two years. These include visual artists, performance artists, writers and designers. Maan is also open to call ages, with both individual artists and art collectives eligible for the grant.

Applications can be submitted in Arabic or English, providing they detail how the artists intend to use the funds within three months of receiving financial support.

Submissions, which close on Saturday, June 20, will be reviewed by Athr’s co-founder Hamza Serafi and artists Al Dowayan, Awartani and Shono.

More information can be found on