Nasser Al Salem, He Rules All Affairs, 2018.

Date:  Thurs, 4 July 2019
Time:  19:00
Venue:  Delfina Foundation
Tickets:  Place reservation essential.
Booking via Eventbrite.

Following the opening of his Delfina Foundation exhibition, Amma Baad, Nasser Al Salem will be in conversation with the British Museum’s Venetia Porter and Maya El Khalil, the show’s curator.

Using his new exhibition as a starting point, the talk will explore the artist’s expansive approach to the practice of Arabic calligraphy as well as his testing of the formal possibilities of the tradition to enfold and enact complex conceptual experiments.


Nasser Al Salem (b. 1984, Mecca) works with the Arabic written word. His practice pushes the boundaries of the Islamic art of calligraphy by reinventing it in non-conventional mixed media forms and by exploring its conceptual potential. Al Salem studied architecture at Um Al-Kora University in Mecca, a discipline which has a strong influence on his practice, and currently lives and works as an architect in Jeddah. He also holds an Ijaza qualification in calligraphy.

Al Salem has exhibited internationally in group shows including: Common Grounds, Villa Stuck Museum, Munich (2015); Hajj: The Pilgramage to Mecca, Institut Du Monde Arabe, Paris (2014); Edge of Arabia: We Need to Talk, Jeddah (2012); Hajj, British Museum, London (2012). Awards include: a nomination for the Prudential Eye Awards (2015); shortlisted for the Jameel Prize (2013); second prize in the Saudi Arabia’s national calligraphy competition (2010). His work is included in the collections of The British Museum, LACMA, and Centre Pompidou among others. Al Salem has been in residence at Delfina Foundation in 2014 and 2018.

Venetia Porter is a curator at the British Museum responsible for the collections of Islamic and Contemporary Middle East art. She studied Arabic and Islamic Art at the University of Oxford. Her PhD from the University of Durham is on the history and architecture of Medieval Yemen. Her research and publications range from Arabic inscriptions to contemporary art. She was the lead curator for the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World.

Maya El Khalil is an independent curator, who for the last decade has been involved in the development of the contemporary art scene in Saudi Arabia. From its inception in 2009 until 2016, she was the Director of Athr contemporary art gallery in Jeddah.

El Khalil is a holder of a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the American University of Beirut. She is currently pursuing an MA in Art and Politics at Goldsmiths University.

Exhibition Credits

Amma Baad is presented in partnership with Shubbak Festival 2019.

With support from The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC and the Amma Baad Exhibition Circle: Sharifa AlSudairi and Zayd Zahid; Omnia Bakhsh; Sara Binladen and Zahid Zahid; Rayan Fayez and Basma Albakree; Sheikha Alatas Prohaska; Mohammed and Monserrat Tamer; and those who wish to remain anonymous.

Kind thanks to Athr Gallery.

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Nasser Al Salem: Amma Baad

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Nasser Al Salem: Amma Baad

Watch the artist introduce his recent exhibition