BIENALSUR 2019 concluding its 2nd edition in Riyadh after traveling across 23 countries

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Hailing from South America, Bienalsur is the first world-traveling contemporary art biennale. It began in 2016 in Buenos Aires before finally ending in Riyadh. (Photo/Supplied)
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Hailing from South America, Bienalsur is the first world-traveling contemporary art biennale. It began in 2016 in Buenos Aires before finally ending in Riyadh. (Photo/Supplied)
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Hailing from South America, Bienalsur is the first world-traveling contemporary art biennale. It began in 2016 in Buenos Aires before finally ending in Riyadh. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 01 December 2019

BIENALSUR 2019 concluding its 2nd edition in Riyadh after traveling across 23 countries

  • The Riyadh show, hosted by the Ministry of Culture, is the international exhibition’s first stop in Middle East

RIYADH: The biennale event is hosted by the Ministry of Culture within the Quality of Life Program in collaboration with National University of Tres de Febrero, Argentina. The grand opening for the biennale was on Nov. 5 and it will run until Dec. 5

The second edition of the world’s first contemporary travel art biennial “BIENALSUR 2019” will be closing its 2019 edition in Riyadh after traveling across five continents and 43 cities in 23 countries. 

During its global tour, it showcased works of 400 artists in more than 100 venues worldwide.

The exhibition featured several international artists, four of whom are Saudi: Fatima Al-Banawi, Sara Abu Abdallah, Faisal Samra and Ayman Zedani, showcasing their creativity to the world with 16 masterpieces. 

Biennale is an Italian word that translates to “once every two years.” 

But what makes BIENALSUR special is that this biennale travels around the world, aiming to strengthen cultural ties through art works.

Hailing from South America, it is the first world-traveling contemporary art biennale.

The first edition started in 2016, and the second edition launched in June. 

It started in Buenos Aires before finally ending in Riyadh, the first stop in the Middle East.

Being a part of the BIENALSUR journey supports the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision reform plans and the Ministry of Culture’s ambitions by highlighting Saudi culture through contemporary art.

“Our participation in this edition of BIENALSUR is helping to build bridges of understanding between cultures. Dialogue is so important. I am delighted that our talented Saudi artists can be part of creating that dialogue,” said Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, minister of culture.

The second edition — titled “Restoring Stories, Restoring Imagination” — invites the audience to explore contemporary art and have an experience that reflects their own lives. 

The works in the biennale encourage intercultural dialogue and understanding through providing the audience an unforgettable experience.

A blink of an eye

The reason behind Fatima Al-Banawi calling her work “A blink of an eye” is because major changes happen in our lives within a blink of an eye. It is a video performance piece that shares five stories from the other story project.

It highlights many people’s stories in a way when the audience see it they think it is one person’s story, but in reality it is a collection of many.

“I want to personalize the lives of others, and that is why it is called the other story,” Al-Banawi said. “When we separated ourselves from the screen of our phones, we think that these experiences only happen to these people, but not to us, and through the installation the viewer can interact with a story in a deeper way.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• BIENALSUR 2019 will be closing its 2019 edition in Riyadh after traveling across five continents and 43 cities in 23 countries.

• Four Saudi nationals were among several international artists featured in the exhibition.

• Saudi artists Fatima Al-Banawi, Sara Abu Abdallah, Faisal Samra and Ayman Zedani, are showcasing their creativity to the world with 16 masterpieces.

• The event is hosted by the Ministry of Culture within the Quality of Life Program in collaboration with National University of Tres de Febrero, Argentina.

• The grand opening was on Nov. 5 and it will run until Dec. 5

“When I work on storytelling, I am speaking in a universal language, and through the Vision 2030 Saudi Arabia is addressing a universal language by using arts, culture, storytelling and filmmaking to speak to the local and the global society,” Al-Banawi said.

“One thing I always remind myself and my colleagues is to go ‘glocal’ — going local but also global, when you go glocal you are real, raw and original. You have pride in your heritage. You are not following any international standard. When you go local you go real, and when you go real you can go international,” she said.

Azal

Ayman Zedani’s work explores how time is tangible. “I turn time into a physical element,” said Zedani.

Zedani has an outstanding way of turning time to a physical masterpiece, which the audience can interact with.

“Azal” is an interactive installation that records time in a physical way. It highlights how time can be tangible. The installation is made of dyed liquid poured inside pottery cups. The ink bleeds through the cup, ensuring that the process is an active part of the art. 

This process means that no two cups are identical, they are different patterns that emerged from the ink seeping into the two cups. 

The result is an object that acts as a timing piece, archiving the ink-seeping process.


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 3 min 31 sec ago

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne madeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Madeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne madeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.