Custom-made LED light-box
79.2 × 59.4 × 5 cm
A silhouetted gas pump mutates into a human x-ray, a gun to its head, before morphing back again. Unlike the progression of evolution, this foreboding form is caught in a relentless and destructive cycle without reprieve.
Here a succinct, urgent warning against an over-reliance on the petrodollar, a destructive addiction Mater witnessed in Saudi Arabia as it embraced and feted its fortune as a rentier state. These 2010 x-rays were a diagnosing doctor’s perspective – at that time, an apparently inexorable prognosis – that the environmental and social risks of oil were so vast that they threatened to throw the irrepressible march of evolution into a spiral of destruction.
This cautionary chiasmus has proven itself a powerful premonition of the changing fate of the Kingdom. Today, Saudi Arabia imagines a diversified future, a post-rentier state where new socio-economic ambitions wean the Kingdom off its oil dependence.
“I am a doctor and confront life and death every day, and I am a countryman and at the same time. I am the son of this strange, scary oil civilization. In ten years our lives changed completely. For me, it is a drastic change that I experience every day.” Ahmed Mater2010
Ahmed began these works when working as a doctor as Aseer Central Hospital, where he would deal with X Rays every day. Taking the visual language of medicine, Evolution of Man becomes a diagnosis for Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil.