In 2013, artist and physician Ahmed Mater was given permission by the Saudi Arabian government to film the Islamic city of Makkah and the grand mosque Al Masjid al-Haram, which houses the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam. Over the course of the past decade, Makkah has undergone extensive gentrification, due in part to the increasing number of people performing the annual Hajj, or pilgrimage. Mater thus records a city that continues to change both physically and geopolitically. The photographs and video in these works were taken from a Saudi Arabian army helicopter on the lookout for unsanctioned pilgrims concealed by the mountainous terrain, and offer an acute commentary on the militarization of the sacred city.


  • Title: Disarm 1-10 (from Deser of Pharan)
  • Creator: Ahmed Mater
  • Date Created: 2013
  • Physical Dimensions: 31 x 37 cm each; edition 1/5
  • Rights: Copyright: Ahmen Mater
  • External Link: Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative
  • Medium: Ten chromogenic transparencies in lightboxes

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