Meet Sarah Brahim, the Saudi artist that combines dance with visual arts
Saudi artist Sarah Brahim is making waves with her multidisciplinary collaborative work. Ahead of her show at the Lyon Biennale in September, the Riyadh-based choreographer, dancer and artist discussed her contemporary art. Brahim, 30, has studied dance since she was just three years old, an education that she says was a fundamental preparation for her career as visual artist. “My background in dance allowed me to study the body in space, the body in motion and experiences of the body how the body fits into architecture, into music and into silence,” says the artist. Sarah calls herself a performance and visual artist. She studied, choreographed, performed, and taught jazz, contemporary, ballet, and tap dance.
The artist has explored themes of loss, identity, borders, veiling, migration, the experiences of women of color and those of individuals living a transnational existence. Brahim has shown her work around the world, including in Italy, Saudi Arabia, the US, and the UK. In her most recent work, “Soft Machines/Far Away Engines” curated in 2021, commissioned for the first Diriyah Contemporary Biennale in Riyadh, screens showed individuals interacting with each other, moving, intertwining and embracing.
The way Brahim worked with the technological framework that brought her work to the viewer, in addition to her sensitivity to how the body is used to present ideas, thoughts and emotion, revealed a singular vision of a world that is both intimately and ethereally interconnected.
In the coming months, Brahim will show the same work at the Lyon Biennale, taking place from September 14 until December 31, which was originally slated to open in 2021. The pandemic-postponed edition, curated this year by duo Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, who have long worked with artists from the Arab world, tackles the idea of fragility. Sarah’s cyanotypes will also be displayed at different museums in Lyon.