Muhannad Shono

I was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1977,  i taught myself how to illustrate and write by pouring over novels, comics and art books that were being smuggled into Saudi Arabia in the late 80’s and early 90’s. There was a sense of creative famine in those years. Every bit of narrative, visual nourishment and thought that could make its way through the censorship net was obsessively consumed, observed and contemplated in a time pre the internet.

The love of storytelling and art led me to create comic books in high school, college and well into my 30’s. I would place myself through the characters i created inside fictional worlds and twisting storylines. It was my escape from reality. To break through the restrictions imposed on creativity and free thought, I chose to seek out adventure and to overcome evil through the hero quest deep inside my mind. 

I attended King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia and completed my degree in Architecture.

This unconventional and largely self-directed art education has resulted in an outlook and a body of work that is more comfortable not fitting inside a mould.  

As a naturalized Saudi citizen to Syrian parents of Chechen and Karachay-Cherkessian descent, my new body of work focuses on themes of displacement, migration and identity. I am expanding the mediums i use beyond my traditional ink on paper and incorporating the sculptural, the animated and the audible.

It is a fluid journey, where materials and methods are given the pace and space they need to best tell and serve the story.  

I am exploring and interested in visual narrations, stories that wish to suggest ways we might better approach the narratives driving and structuring our current human state. 

My work has been presented in solo exhibitions including:

The Once Upon A Box, The Hunted Ever After & The End, CRAC Gallery, London, UK [2014] 

Children of Yam, ATHR, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia [2016]. 

I have also participated in a number of group exhibitions including: 

Storylines, RLS Gallery, Sydney, Australia [2015]

Loud Art, Emerging GCC Artists, Saudi Arabia / Oman / Bahrain[2015-2016]

Vantage Point Sharjah 4, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE [2016] 

"Safar" 21,39, Jeddah, KSA [2017]

Own The Walls: LAND, Toronto, Canada [2017]. 

I have been a speaker and have conducted workshops including:

Nuqat Creative conference, Kuwait city, Kuwait [2015]