Afra Naushad, email@example.com
Tuesday 12 June 2012
Last Update 13 June 2012 3:23 am
Out of Britain — a touring exhibition of artwork by prominent 20th century British artists from the collection of the British Council, was hosted on June 2 to a warm reception at Athr Gallery.
A brilliant anthology of over 50 modern and contemporary British landscape art — the exhibition is the result of a joint collaboration between the Saudi Commission of Tourism and Antiquities, the National Museum in Riyadh and the British Council.
Out of Britain made its first stop in April at the National Museum in Riyadh, showcasing around 38 artworks from one of the largest collections of British art, in the presence of Abdulaziz Khoja, the Minister of Culture and Information.
Paintings and photographs exhibited in Jeddah touched upon the exploration of rural landscapes by over 14 renowned and famous modern British artists in the likes of Frank Auerbach, Paul Nash, Bryan Wynter, Raymond Moore, Alan Reynolds and Bill Brandt among others.
“This is the third exhibition that the British Council has brought to Saudi Arabia and is quite different from the previous one, in that, it was co-created and co-curated by the National Museum in Riyadh and the British Council in London. The curators decided on this collection of landscape art by artists who have painted or photographed their immediate environment, in their search to try and convey the energy and vitality of nature,” said Adrian Chadwick, Country Director of the British Council.
The paintings exhibited were produced just after World War II, and are contemplative reflections on the beauty of the rustic terrain, bay, and coastline; personal interpretations and responses to the British landscape through mediums and moods that capture the force and beauty of the English countryside.
“The works of the painters represented in the Jeddah exhibition have tried to capture something of the element of nature, rather than taking a realistic or graphic approach, and we hope for the visitors to access some of these ideas. These were painters who had their own individual way of looking at the world, each using paint in a very different way, reminding us of how each one of us looks at things differently,” said curator and Head of Art Services from the British Council, Sean Williams.
“The initial impetus for creating the exhibition was to further develop the relationship with the National Museum in Riyadh, and to provide an opportunity for the British Council and British artists that we work with to network and collaborate with other artists in the region,” he said.
Other key artwork from the collection will be exhibited on June 5 at Scitech in Alkhobar before traveling to Kuwait in September, followed by Oman and Europe.
“This exhibition is a reflection of how strong the relationship with Saudi Arabia is on a cultural level, in addition to trade and education. This year we will be celebrating 60 years of the Majesty’s reign, the Paralympics and Olympics. So it’s a fantastic year for London and the rest of the UK despite all the immediate talks about the economic situation,” said Consul General of the United Kingdom, Mohammed Shokat.
“Saudi Arabia is the first country in the world where these works have been first exhibited and that makes us very proud. We hosted the Haj exhibition this year that had a wonderful response of over 100,000 visitors and we’ve had another exhibition in the British Museum recently on the Arabian horse, which is in a sense, a gift, in celebration of the Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. Out of Britain is our way of bringing a little bit of Britain and the British culture here to Saudi Arabia,” he added.
To further support the ongoing exhibition, a series of workshops will be conducted, and lectures for artists and teachers will be delivered by Professor David Rayson from the Royal College of Art on June 15, and by Andrea Rose, Director of Visual Arts at the British Council on June 16 at Athr Gallery.
In view of the organized exhibition, the British Council is seeking to generate a similar response to the landscape of Saudi Arabia by launching a nation-wide online art competition - Out of Arabia.
The competition, which is open to the residents of Saudi Arabia, aims to receive creative interpretations of a similar theme of the Saudi landscape in the medium of visual arts.
Winning artworks will be exhibited at the National Museum in Riyadh and Foyer Gallery of the British Council’s Headquarters in London.
The broad initiative of the exhibition along with its supporting academic program and competition also intends to identify new artists from the region to support a proposed exhibition slated for early 2015, at Brunei Gallery in London, which will bring together works of emerging contemporary Arab artists — an extension of the region’s response to Out of Britain.
The exhibition in Jeddah is currently running at Athr Gallery until June 30.
Gallery hours: Saturday — Thursday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
For information on the exhibition visit:
For more information on the online competition Out of Arabia, visit: http://en.britishcouncilprojects.org/out-of-arabia/home
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