Ayman Zedani


A portrait of Ayman Zedani
Ayman Zedani, Portrait.
Ayman Zedani, In Residency, AlUla, 2023.
Ayman Zedani, In Residency, AlUla, 2023.


Ayman Zedani (b. 1984) is a Saudi artist that works and lives in Riyadh. His investigative practice works to upend our comprehension of the past and challenge our acceptance of the future. His work includes videos, installations, and immersive environments that consider the future of the Gulf. His resultant projects are platforms to invite audiences to observe human-nonhuman symbiosis, leaving his narratives open to a multitude of interpretations and questions. His arc of inquiry highlights the interactions and relationships between humans and more-than-human worlds.

Zedani’s recent projects include The heavens is for all, Islamic Arts Biennale, Jeddah (2023); between desert seas, Louvre Abu Dhabi (2022); The keepers, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden- Baden (2022); the Valley of the Desert Keepers, Desert X Alula, AlUla (2022); Terrapolis, The Sustainability Pavilion, Expo 2020, Dubai (2020); Between the Heavens and the Earth, Lahore Biennial, Lahore (2020).

Continuing his previous research on the parasitic plants of the Arabian desert, Ayman Zedani furthered his investigation during his recent residency to include the new archaeological discoveries in AlUla and Khaybar.

These new findings provoked a lot of questions and reflected the need for further historical research. Zedani attempted to create a story connecting different civilizations that have lived in AlUla and Khaybar, which is an ongoing process. He is trying to fill the missing historical gaps with science fiction to create a coherent narrative attempting to make what was happening there more fathomable.

This speculative approach based on fictional scenarios resonates with other works by Ayman Zedani, in which he uncovered a broad spectrum of possibilities through well-known objects from the environment of the region, as seen in his installation, The Keepers.

The installation « The Keepers » presented at the AlUla Artist Residency is a culmination of Ayman Zedani’s research on the parasitic plants of the Arabian desert over the past few years.

These plants are known for their ability to acquire genes from their host plants, thereby ensuring the survival of their offspring. This continuous process of gene appropriation results in the formation of an archive of the desert’s history and, possibly, the keys to a liveable future.

This work is part of an extensive series that Ayman Zedani has been developing to shed light on non-human models that can help us contemplate the impacts of climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the future of the Earth.

The film « To The Eagles » (2023) is a speculative fiction short film bringing together Ayman Zedani’s research outcome during the AlUla Artist Residency. It weaves together factual information with science fiction narrative to connect the different human civilizations that lived in Alula and Khaybar. It explores the idea that the tombs of Dadan and Hegra as well as the different markers in Khaybar are portals to other dimensions which were activated and used by different civilizations.

Ayman Zedani’s investigative practice aims to subvert our understanding of the past and challenge our acceptance of the future. The immersive environments, installations, and videos Zedani consider possible futures for the Gulf and consistently renegotiate the relationship between humans and nature. Zedani’s past installations have featured stone, clay, charcoal and concrete while the artist’s current practice features the manipulation of organic materials in order to reframe nature as a protagonist. Keep watching to see how this has manifested in Zedani’s time in AlUla!

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