Born in Dhahran in 1973, Manal AlDowayan is an artist that has been long invested in interrogating ideas of visibility and invisibility as a critical witness to the cultural metamorphosis engulfing her country and region. AlDowayan has been recognised for her work in sound, neon, and sculpture, and she is well known for the participatory installations Suspended Together (2011) and Esmi-My Name (2012), the result of workshops offering channels for thousands of women to address unjust social customs. AlDowayan’s practice also includes land art projects like Now You See Me, Now You Don’t (2020), permanently installed at the UNESCO World Heritage site of AlUla. Al Dowayan’s practice navigates a territory where the personal and the political overlap. Her works spring from lived experiences—these intimate encounters with social injustice, the pangs of memory and forgetting. Yet her pieces are consistently sparking identification and engagement, particularly among women around the world.
The petals of the blooming roses had inscriptions of letters exchanged between President Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz, prior and after their meeting. These letters were taken from a historical book I found at the British Library documenting the written conversations that led to the encounter.