Ahmed Mater


UMOCA, The Guardian Cities and CULTURUNNERS invite you to a special film screening of Symbolic Cities: The Works of Ahmed Mater, whose photos and videos expose the “violent changes” that took place during the mass expansion of Mecca. 

Following the film, there will be a panel discussion and book signing with the renowned Saudi Arabian artist.

Symbolic Cities: The Works of Ahmed Mater follows artist and medical practitioner Ahmed Mater through Mecca, the holiest city of Islam, located in western Saudi Arabia.

Through a series of photographs and videos, Mater exposes the “violent changes” this sacred city has suffered in its mass expansion to accommodated the rapidly growing number of pilgrims. The city’s rich history and deep-rooted culture is now being diluted with new architecture, materialism, consumerism, and a slew of new security measures that inadvertently erode the priceless cultural history that draw the crowds in the first place.

After the film, join Ahmed Mater, UMOCA’s Executive Director, Kristian Anderson, and others for a discussion about his 5-year investigation of urbanism, tourism and the effects it has on Mecca, and the parallels in our own Mormon capital. Mater will also be signing his new book Desert of Pharan – Unofficial Histories Behind the Mass Expansion of Mecca, published by Lars Müller Publishing.

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