VENICE: Art builds bridges between different peoples and enriches all our lives, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture, told Arab News at the inauguration of the Saudi pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale.
For the first time, the Kingdom has a permanent exhibit at the Biennale — “the Olympics of the art world” — eight years after it first took part. In 2011 the Makkah-born sisters and contemporary artists Shadia and Raja Alem collaborated to present “The Black Arch,” a dazzling steel installation based on personal narratives and “the duality between Makkah and Venice.”
This year Saudi Arabia is exhibiting the Jeddah-based land artist and professor Dr. Zahrah Al-Ghamdi’s “After Illusion” installation, curated by the Saudi lecturer and artist Eiman Elgibreen.
“Being at Venice this year is a great honor and helps us show the world that Saudi Arabia is a land of cultural treasures,” Prince Badr said.
“We believe that art enriches lives and we are delighted to be part of this year’s Biennale.”
Prince Badr — appointed in June 2018 and the Kingdom’s first culture minister — also visited the UAE pavilion at the Biennale with his Emirati counterpart, Noura Al-Kaabi.
“Art and culture help us learn about each other and give us the chance to engage with our international friends in ways that build bridges and enhance understanding,” the prince told Arab News.
Al-Kaabi said it was “an honor to see how Saudis are contributing to the art scene, especially in Venice, to tell the world their stories.”
The Biennale opens to the public on May 11 and runs until Nov. 24. Saudi Arabia’s pavilion is in the Arsenale exhibition venue.