Al-Sadu as a way of understanding the sociospatial practices of contemporary art by Saudi women

Albugami, Khulod Mohammed (2019) Al-Sadu as a way of understanding the sociospatial practices of contemporary art by Saudi women. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

KA-final thesis_2019.pdf - Submitted Version

Download (5MB)


Whilst contemporary art by women artists in Saudi Arabia has begun to emerge visibly in the international art world, little regional academic research is currently available which situates that work within a critical historical, social, and theoretical context. This thesis argues that this has resulted in a lack of understanding of women artists’ work within the international sphere and in the context of Saudi cultural production.
This research’s original contribution to knowledge is based on its exploration of the traditional practice of al-Sadu weaving by Bedouin women as a way of theoretically and conceptually understanding the sociospatial practices of Saudi women in contemporary art. In doing so, it also initiates a critical conversation about space and society within contemporary art in Saudi Arabia, arguing that current, Western-focussed theories of ‘sociospatial practice’ can be critically reconsidered and expanded.
Whether out of the general lack of scholarship on Saudi art, or out of a bias against traditional cultural practices, the strong space-making traditions of Saudi culture rooted in the desert have not yet formed the basis of any sustained inquiry into contemporary Saudi art. This thesis, in contrast, argues that art emerging from the desert’—al-Sadu weaving in particular—offers a precedent for cultural women’s voice and visibility in society which has not yet been sufficiently acknowledged either in studies of Saudi culture, or in the broader discourse on contemporary art.
The argument of this thesis is developed via an exploration of 8 case studies of Saudi women artists’ practice. These artists stem from different generations and their work spans multiple media and I argue has influenced the national and international art scene in the last decade, in a myriad of ways. Through these case studies, this research contributes to the development of new debates on current artistic practices in Saudi Arabia, and it thus challenges existing assumptions about contemporary Saudi art, concurrently suggesting new interpretations. This research provides a solid base for future research on women’s critical discourse in Saudi culture.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
19 March 2019Completed
Uncontrolled Keywords: Al-Sadu, Sociospatial Practices, Contemporary Art, Saudi Women Artists, weaving, installation art
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-05 - others in creative arts and design
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Doris Riou
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2020 10:26
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 17:20

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


In this section...