Hend Al-Mansour’s early years pursued a passion for art. As a child she carved images of women into sand, filled many sketchbooks with her drawings, and was known as an artist by her peers. Yet she was acutely aware of her limitations in terms of freedom and status as a Saudi Arabian woman. So at age sixteen she decided to become a doctor and was accepted into Medical School in Cairo, Egypt. She practiced medicine for many years, but also became known in the medical community for the large figures she drew and painted in the medical waiting rooms.
In 1997 Hend seized an unexpected opportunity to move to the United States. Once she arrived, she automatically gained the freedom being a female physician had formerly provided her. This new found independence enabled her to relinquish a career in medicine and return to art, the one thing that was always deeply fulfilling for her.
In 2002 Hend obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota and in 2013 she was awarded a Master of Art History degree from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. The master’s program also allowed her to examine art from a different perspective and trace the invisible path of Arab artistic production in the pre-Islamic era. Her master’s thesis was a field research project focused on the mid-twentieth century shift occurring in henna art in her hometown of Al-Hasa, Saudi Arabia.
Today Hend’s work makes references to the identity and gender politics in Arab society and in Islamic teaching while her style pays homage to Arabic and Islamic art forms. She has participated in regional, state and national art shows, given speeches about Arab art and her personal journey, and curated exhibitions featuring Middle Eastern artists.
I am a Minnesotan transplant who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. I left my original home longing for personal independence and freedom of expression. Always an artist at heart, I left a long medical career in the year 2000 to give art my full attention. I obtained an MFA in Minneapolis and embarked on a full life of art within the lush Minnesotan artistic culture. I have also obtained a master in art history for deeper understanding of art.
My work is an expression of my strong consciousness of gender inequality. My childhood memories are my reservoir of images, colors and stories. Longings, secrets and desires of women in my hometown in Arabia provide me with endless inspiration and passion. Through this feminist forum I promote understanding between Arab and Minnesotan cultures.
My aesthetics and choice of materials demonstrate how my Arab and Islamic upbringing have shaped me. However, I became aware of the general disregard of Arab art in the contemporary world. It has been considered as part of the long gone Islamic heritage, exquisite but not current. I found myself making art that tries to be both authentically Arab and contemporary at the same time. While I make homage to oriental rugs, Arabesques, Arab tile design and mosques architecture, I adopt aesthetics and themes from present everyday Arab-American life.
Geometric design, Arabesques, henna patterns, Arabic calligraphy and stylized figures are characteristic of my drawings which I transfer onto printing plates and screens to finally create limited editions of vibrant colored prints on fabric.
Sometimes these printed fabric are large enough to build installations where audience enter and walk through passages that lead to shrine-like spaces, which highlight the sacredness of the feminine.
At this point of my career, I have cultivated skills in screen-printing and installation and have developed my own voice. I recently became very interested in exploring other printing techniques and expanding my printing abilities.
2013 Master of Art History, University of St Thomas, St Paul.
2002 Master of Fine Arts Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).
1999 Fellowship in Cardiology, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota.
1995 Cardiology Fellowship, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, Riyadh.
1991 Membership of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom, London.
1992 Arab Board for Medical Specialties, King Fahad Hospital, Riyadh.
1981 Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, Medical College, Cairo University.
Solos, and 2 - 3 people’s show
2015 Fatimah Abu Gahas Mural: The Wacpac Space: St. Paul, MN.
Gloria Die Church Gallery, St. Paul, MN.
2014 The Great Mother of Islam: Catherine.G. Murphy gallery, St. Kate University, St. Paul, MN.
Jerome Residency 2013-2014: Highpoint Center For Printmaking, Minneapolis, MN.
N for Niswa: Islamic Art Festival at Sharjah Art Museum, UAE.
2013 Shadow Sisters: The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI.
Women, Power, Freedom and Art: Wellesley College, MA.
2012 2 Birds From the East - The art of Leili and Hend: Homewood Studios, Minneapolis, MN.
Great Mothers of Islam: Vine Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN. USA
2011 Fatimah in America-3: Northcutt Steel Gallery, MSU, Billings, MT. USA
2009 Images From Somewhere Else: Black Dog Café Gallery; St. Paul MN.
2007 Fatimah in America-2: Hillstrom Museum of art; Gustavus Adolphus College; St. Peters, MN.
2005 Fatimah in America-1: St. Thomas universtiy; St. Paul, MN.
House of Obedience: Alliance Française; San Francisco, CA.
2004 Walladah: Center of independent artists; Minneapolis, MN.
2003 Orneyat: Patrick Cabaret; Minneapolis, MN.
Facing East: Minnesota historic society; St. Paul, MN.
2001 Heightened Awareness: C. G. Murphy Gallery; St. Paul, MN.
Women of Arabia: Penn State University; Scranton, PA
2015 Reinventing Asir: Okas Village, Abha, Saudi Arabia.
Revolution Now: Gamut Gallery, Minneapolis, MN.
2014 Singapore Art Fair with Lahd Gallery.
2nd Gulf Biennial: Visual Art Center, Katara, Doha, Qatar.
Labor-Migrant-Gulf Exhibition: Southwestern College, Chula Vista, CA.
3rd Annual International Exhibition For Contemporary Islamic Art, Luminarte G., Dallas, TX.
MN Creates: State Capitol Office Building, St Paul, MN.
How to be A Feminist Artist: Catherine G. Murphy G., St. Catherine Univ., St Paul, MN.
MN Creates: The Capitol Offices, St. Paul, MN.
2013 Instructions for peace, Catherine Nash Gallery, Univ. of MN, Minneapolis, MN.
The Dance of Words: Quarter Gallery, Rigs Center for Arts, Minneapolis, MN.
Beauty Made By the Unseen: Vine Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.
Huroub: Travel Across Identities: Vine Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.
2012 Contemporary Islamic Art: Prince Faisal bin Fahad Center for Visual Arts, Riyadh, S.A.
2009 Cultural Perspectives: Burnsville Performing Arts Center, Burnsville, MN.
Art in the Middle of Everywhere: Buetow Music Gallery, Concordia U., St. Paul, MN.
2008 Pride Art Show: Pi Coffee Bar, Minneapolis, MN.
2007 Continuity and Change: Williamsburg Art and Historical Center; Brooklyn, NY.
2006 Immigrant Status: Intermedia Arts; Minneapolis, MN.
Tekween: Making Art in Arabic, Center for Independent Artists, Minneapolis.
2005 Haneen: Mira Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
Prism of Longing, the Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI.
2004 All the wiser: MCAD gallery, Minneapolis, MN.
2003 Sheherazade: Risking the Passage: El Colegio gallery, Minneapolis, MN.
Across cultures: Bemidji Gallery, Bemidji, MN.
There is a Field: Rarig Center, U of M, Minneapolis, MN.
COMMISSIONS AND PERMANENT COLLECTION:
Katara Art Studios: Doha, Qatar, 2014.
Greenbox Museum of Contemporary Art From Saudi Arabia: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2013. Al-Badr and Dark Lovers.
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia: 2011, Washington, D.C. Story of a Woman.
The University of St. Thomas Sacred Art Festival 2005: Fatimah in America, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center, UST; St. Paul, MN
Jawahir Dance Company Sawwah 2007, Osoul Al-Andalus 2005, Umm Kulthoum, 2004, Hidden Pearl 2003, and Eclipse of the moon 2002 all performed at the Southern Theater, Minneapolis, MN.
The Voices of Sepharad Peace in the house: performed at the Phipps Center for the Art, Hudson, WI. 2005; and the Southern theater, Minneapolis, MN. 2004 and 2005.
Wisdom Ways The Three Faces of Mary 2003: Jeanne d’Arc auditorium; St. Paul, MN.
GRANTS AND AWARDS:
2013 Jerome Emerging Printmakers’ Residency at Highpoint Center for Printmaking.
2012 Award of Jurers in Contemorary Islamic Art exhibition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2012 Position # 50 among the world most powerful Arab women in Arabian Business.com.
2011 Position # 74 among the world most powerful Arab women in Arabian Business.com.
2009 Mentioned # 68 among the world most influential Arabs in Arabian Business.com.
2008 Best in show award at the PRIDE 08 art show.
2006 Immigrant Status Exhibiton Grant from Intermedia Arts.
2005 Artist Initiative Grant from Minnesota State Arts Board.
2004 Finalist for the Bush Artists Fellows program.
Cover Artist: Art across cultures.
The Minnesota Women’s Press. January, 2015.
Art spotlight: Prints by Jerome Foundation fellows.
StarTribute /stage + Art, 2014.
Member of the month: Tomouh, 2014.
Al-Mansour questions the role of women in saudi arabian Society
Minnesota Original Program at Twin Cities Public TV (tpt), 2014.
MFA Alum Hend Al-Mansour: How To Be a Feminist Artist
Minneapolis College of Art and Design MFA page, 2014.
Hend Al-Mansour creates art to question women’s roles
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) news, 2014.
Artists’ work reflects the Great Mothers of Islam
ampers: Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, 2012.
Catalyst: Politics and Culture: Muslim women Arts in Minneapolis
KFAI Radio without Boundaries, 2012.
Art Hounds: Ballet Preljocaj, Muslim women and a sad vampire comedian.
Minnesota Public Radio, MPR News, 2012
I want to be Free: The Outpost Billings, January, 2011
Artist of the Month: Hend al-Mansour
Wandering Educators 2010
Artist Hend Al Mansour is a new face in the Power List, debuting at No.68.
arabian Business.com, March, 2009
Encyclopedia of Arab American Artists. By Fayeq Oweis, 2008
Prescription for Art: Minnesota Women Press, March 23, 2007
Thinking about Fatimah in America
Minnesota Public Radio, February 12, 2007
Saudi artist’s work explores religious and social belief systems
The Gustavus quaterly, Spring 2007
Art Enhances Faith: The Aquin, the news voice of the St. Thomas community , November 15, 2005
Doctor Turns Artist: Woman, issue 17, 2004.
Artist of the year: Star Tribune, Minneapolis; December 14, 2003.
Modern & Muslims An intensely personal show by nine Muslim women
Star Tribune, Minneapolis; February 28, 2003.
Women, Power, Freedom and Islam: The Minnesota Daily; February 13, 2003.
Lifting the Veils: Saint Paul Pioneer Press; February 9, 2003.
Twin Cities Arabs, Jews join in plea for peace: Star Tribune, Minneapolis; December 10, 2001.
Art Matters: Fresh air radio KFAI interview, November 16th, 2001.
TV interview, Channel 17, Minneapolis, September 3rd, 2001.
Women’s artist collective exhibits at ArTujillio: La Presna; July 23, 2001.
Pictures at an Exhibition: Minnesota Orchestra Showcase, P.33, March 2001.
Saudi Artist would change her nation’s view of women: The Tribune; P.b7; January 17, 2001.
Woman Puts Heart in Her Art: The Scranton Times; P7, January 17, 2001.
Student Profiles: Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) 1999-2000 Annual Report + Newsletter; P34: V. 1, No. 1, 2000.
Calendar of Events: Minneapolis College of Art & Design; November 2000.
Former cardiologist heals with her art: Billings Gazette; P. c1, October 29, 2000.
Cardiologist turned artist discovers her heart’s true desire: The Minnesota Women’s Press; P. 16, V.16, No.13; September 13-26, 2000.