Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Saudi Artist Filwa Nazer's Creative Evolution through Six Key Works

Saudi artist Filwa Nazer — who was born in Swansea, Wales, in the 1970s but grew up in the Kingdom — has always loved art.

Since childhood, Saudi conceptual artist Filwa Nazer has been deeply passionate about art, despite growing up without formal art education. Moving to Milan in the 1990s, she studied fashion design under Gianfranco Ferré, finding inspiration in his architectural background and elegant designs. Nazer's time in Ferré's company, especially in the archival department, fueled her interest in vintage garments and embroidery. These experiences influence her recent artwork, which focuses on textiles infused with emotion. Nazer's pieces reflect her personal journey, drawing from her emotions, life experiences, and memories. She explores the significance of six key works, ranging from desert installations to intimate fabric compositions addressing female identity.

1 of 6
‘The Skin I Live In’

In 2019, Nazer began her textile art journey with a 2-meter tall piece resembling a skirt. Layers of muslin cotton embroidered like her London flat were encased in green polyethylene mesh, symbolizing construction. Through stitching, she expressed emotional landscapes, finding solace and reflection in this creation during a tough time.

2 of 6
‘Preserving Shadows’

Part of Desert X AlUla this year, Nazer’s first venture on such a grand scale in the challenging AlUla desert. Initially, I felt blocked by the unfamiliar environment but embraced the discomfort to explore new creative avenues. Inspired by desert plant folklore, she transformed her struggle into a metaphorical journey of overcoming darkness.

3 of 6
‘The Hands Want To See, The Eyes Want To Caress’

Displayed in the "Saudi Modern" exhibition in 2021, Nazer’s collection responds to the Bajnaid House, a once-iconic modernist residence in Jeddah's Al-Kandarah area. Commissioned by Bricklab, she explored its decline, blending aesthetics with personal connection and bodily response. It questions the allure of decay versus beauty in abandonment.

4 of 6
‘Five Women’

This series holds particular significance, commissioned for the inaugural Diriyah Biennale in Riyadh, 2021. It narrates the experiences of five Saudi women of Nazer’s generation, anonymously shared with her. Each story, tied to a dress, recounts pivotal moments shaping their body image. Themes include pain, adolescence, and societal standards of beauty. The collection was also featured in the Lyon Biennale in 2022.

5 of 6
‘Missing A Rib’ (2019)

This 2019 artwork reflects Nazer’s Jeddah home experience, featuring a transparent sculpture with a fractured rib-like structure. Inspired by personal rib injuries, it symbolizes Adam and Eve's narrative, exploring spaces under patriarchy. White strips, echoing Saudi garment decoration, symbolize masculine dominance over female spaces.

6 of 6

Nazer’s 2023 piece for Selma Feriani Gallery, part of a seven-piece series, explores the link between personal garments and living spaces. It depicts a floor plan with red stitching symbolizing emotions, evoking a body or chest. Green, representing Saudi Arabia, intertwines societal and environmental themes in a philosophical examination of space, emotions, memories, and socio-political influences.

Share Article

Write a comment