Double Life of Saudi Artist

Garth Harris on Saudi artist Abdulnasser Gharem:

What makes Gharem’s status as a leading exponent of Middle Eastern conceptualism even more startling is the fact that he has another, more conventional, career – as a lieutenant- colonel in the Saudi army. Surely this dual existence has, at times, rubbed his peers up the wrong way?

“My military experience feeds into my artistic vision 100 per cent. I’ve been in the army for more than 21 years and, yes, in the beginning it was complicated. But after 18 years as an artist, I have the confidence of the senior figures in the army.”

Gharem’s first major solo exhibition was opened in London this week.