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Expatriate artists in Jeddah seek support to showcase their work

Several expat artists in Jeddah said that gallery owners had refused to display their art works due to the need for special licenses. However, some gallery owners agree to showcase their work but for a very high price.
“Gallery owners have refused to showcase my work saying that expat artists must have a special license to do so,” Huda Al-Remi, a Yemeni artist told Arab News, adding that she had several pieces of art but there was no support for her.
Meanwhile, the rents for exhibition halls in Jeddah have soared to more than SR10,000 a week as owners seek to share in the profits made by artists selling their work.
Some gallery owners demand as much as 30 percent of the profits as a precondition to allowing the use of their halls although the price of any one exhibit does not exceed SR20,000. In fact, artists are often unable to sell their paintings and face difficulties in paying the rent of the exhibition hall.
However, many public relations firms organize art galleries with huge advertising plans in prime exhibition sites in Jeddah require at least SR1 million for undertaking such an endeavor while other artists have monthly contracts with PR companies to organize art galleries for SR5,000 per month.
“There are also minimal requirements for developing any art gallery, such as strategic marketing, social media and public relations. Such services multiply the costs of organizing an art gallery. Artists require huge capital to be able to showcase their work with such a return on investment,” Rana Darweesh, a consultant in art investments, told Arab News.
“Jeddah is the most popular city in the Kingdom for art activities. However, the success of art galleries depends on the names of the artists who participate in these galleries.
Art gallery visitors who are likely to buy such paintings often have enough of a background of the 14 art methodologies and as such, are able to evaluate paintings and put a proper price tag on them for purchase,” Abdullah Saad, an artist told Arab News.
Auctions held in art galleries to sell art work still need more circulation among art gallery organizers in the Kingdom, Saad said.
“Some art galleries in Jeddah have been implementing the auction strategy for the past 2 years. However, the turnout of visitors to such events remains low,” he added.

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