Manal Al-Dowayan is a photographer, who currently lives and works in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia,where she was born and raised, and works out of her hometown, Dhahran. She has studied art in institutions in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Bahrain and London. Much of Manal's work engages with notions of identity and womanhood in society, stemming from her own experience. Her series, "I Am" (2007-9) is a series of black and white photographic portraits of women, and addresses issues which pertain to the position of the Arab woman in Islamic Society. Photographing the faces of " successful working women," the subjects don material attributes associated with their respective professions , paired with with traditional jewelry which obstructs her face. Dowayan set up temporary studios in the homes of the women to make the photographs, so not only the subjects, but she, occupy typically male roles of their professions. In her series on Landscapes, layers of representation and symbols of her country are placed on top of each other, again, conversing with and obscuring each other, creating a surreal landscape of personal, historical, and national representation.
“Although the history of the Arab woman inspires me, it is the modern Arab woman that motivates and gives me courage. I hope that women with education and financial independence will become fully and actively involved in shaping the decisions that affect their future and the futures of their daughters…..” -Manal al Dowayan
2010 Fluid Form I: Contemporary Art from Arab Countries, The Korea Foundation Cultural Centre, Seoul, Korea
2009 Solo Exhibit, Bastakiya Art Fair, Dubai, UAE
2009 "Landscapes of the Mind," (solo), Cuadro Fine Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE
2008 Edge of Arabia: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia (touring)
2007 Circle 4 “The City and The Street” Muscat, Oman
2006 "Right to Space: Bahraini Women Art Exhibition", Riwaq Gallery Manama, Bahrain
2006 Common Ground, British Council, (touring)
Saudi Women Tease Men in Photo Exhibition, Khaleej Times, 19 April 2006
Rose Issa “Divided we stand”, Next Level Magazine, Edition 17 Persian Gulf Issue, 2009, pages 23 -26
Almanac 2008, Art Asia Pacific Magazine, Volume 3, 2008, page 253.
Lisa Ball-Lechgar, “Fresh Gulf Currents” , Saudi Aramco World Magazine, Volume 58 Issue 6, November/December 2007, pages
Lisa Ball-Lechgar, “The Inquisitive eyes of Saudi” , Canvas Magazine, Volume 2 Issue 4, July/August 2006, pages 102-109.
Jamal al Moosawi-Hassanovich, “In Between Black and White “, Bahrain Confidential, Issue 43, July 2006, pages 29-33.
Jamal al Moosawi-Hassanovich, “Manal Al Dowayan Black and White Photography”, Soura Magazine, 2nd Anniversary Special
Edition Issue 13, March/April 2007, pages 97-103.
Book: Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women , International Museum of Women, Editor Paula
Goldman, March 2006, pages 194-195.
Self-Representation in the Arabian Gulf – Perspectives in Photography and Video, Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar, ISBN 978-1-934253, 2008.
Common Ground, Catalogue for Common Ground at Sharjah Art Museum, British Council, 2006.
Nokia Fontography, Catalogue for Nokia Fontography at Jeddah, Published by Canvas-Nokia-Christies-HP, 2006.
Tami Samairi, “Manal Al Dowayan - A Camera’s Memory”, Riyadh Newspaper, Issue 14143, March 15, 2007, Page 28.
Abeer Mishkhas, “Common Ground - An exhibit that represents a contemporary Saudi woman”, AlSharq Alawsat Newspaper,
Issue10006, April 21, 2006, Page 19.
Musleh Jameel, “Dowayan Dipicts Hope, Reality, and Beauty in her collection Look Beyond the Veil “, Alwatan Newspaper, Issue 1931,
January 12, 2006, Page 18.
De Meiden van Riaad (Girls of Riyadh), Rajaa Alsanea, Archipel, ISBN 9789063052867/NUR302.
Nisaa AlWatan (Women of the Nation), Maha AlWabel.
Nisaa Muasirat (Contemporary Women), MBC, 30 min, July 2007.
Sayidah fil A’amal (A Woman at Work), Saudi Arabian Satellite News Channel AL Ekhbariyah, 60 min, November 2006.
2009 Clore Leadership program
2009 Delphina Foundation Residency
2007/9 Nawafith: The Saudi-Italian artist exchange