150 × 150 × 50 cm
A boy stands on the flat, dusty rooftop of his family’s traditional house in the south-west corner of Saudi Arabia. With all his reach he lifts a battered TV antenna up to the evening sky. He moves it slowly across the mountainous horizon, in search of a signal from beyond the nearby border with Yemen, or across the Red Sea towards Sudan. He is searching, like so many of his generation in Saudi, for ideas, for music, for poetry – for a glimpse of a different kind of life.
His father and brothers shout up from the majlis (sitting room) below, as music fills the house and dancing figures appear on a TV screen, filling the evening air with voices from another world.
The boy with the antenna is a young explorer in search of contact with the outside world, reaching out to communicate across the borders that surround him. The boy will become an artist, with the same spirit of creative exploration and curiosity.
“This story says a lot about my life and my art... I catch art from the story of my life, I don’t know any other way. Like many of my generation in Saudi Arabia, I was seeking ideas, music, poetry – a glimpse of a different kind of life. This spirit of creative exploration, curiosity, and reaching out to communicate across the borders surrounding me have defined my journey as an artist.” Ahmed Mater
The boy with an antenna became the artist looking beyond the strict confines of his country, catching art from the story of his life. This neon tube antenna becomes an emblem of this creative act of conducting.