Contemporary art shines in Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah

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The art exhibition will continue until Dec. 26 in Diriyah’s Industrial Zone. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 December 2019

Contemporary art shines in Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah

  • The Saudi artist’s work was fueled by contemplations on discarded items in urban landscapes

RIYADH: Artists from the region have been exhibiting their work in Diriyah’s Industrial Zone as part of the area’s transformation, and the first step to creating a contemporary arts area on the outskirts of Riyadh.
“From Within,” which was inaugurated earlier this month by the Kingdom’s Deputy Minister of Culture Hamid bin Mohammed Fayez, features work by artists from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
The paintings, installations and sculptures deal with the relationship between man and architecture, and how one can affect the other.
“Stripped Away from All Constructs,” by Emirati artist Afra Al-Dhaheri, is a piece of fabric coated in cement that hangs from the wall between two pieces of steel. It explores a romanticised debate of love and hate for the act of demolishing architecture. The cement lines act as a blueprint on the surface of the fabric. The cotton mesh fabric is normally used as reinforcement in construction but, by suspending architectural material from two points and allowing it to drape down as if it were made only of fabric, it becomes an imaginative way of removing a building’s structure.
The installations of Saudi-born conceptual artist Ayman Zedani renegotiate the relationship between the human and non-human, animal and plant, organic and inorganic, land and water.
“The Old Ones,” which is on display at Diriyah Industrial Zone, highlights the consumption of nature in the Gulf. Visitors experience a landscape from a fourth-dimensional perspective, a fictional representation of an ancient land where the desert used to be greener and more vibrant. The project, in part, is homage to the lands that made the Gulf what it is today. On the other hand it is also an attempt to encourage a healing process for its inhabitants.
In the corner of the exhibition, Aziz Jamal’s “Vacant” sits as a collection of dyed cement forms, cast in a variety of objects collected by the artist.
The Saudi artist’s work was fueled by contemplations on discarded items in urban landscapes. The common understanding of space is limited to the space the objects occupy and never encompasses the negatives they accidentally design. The inner crevasses and outlines of things create an almost negative and neglected area of being in an urban landscape, with his work celebrating the neglected.
Bu Yousuf takes a radical approach to the concept of skyscrapers that decorate the Gulf’s skylines and represent its economic progress. “The Nursery” consists of a hospital unit for skyscrapers that is fitted out as a nursery. The babies are skyscrapers made of silicone, referencing contemporary buildings from the artist’s native Dubai. It is an imaginary world where the infant “buildings” need constant care and attention to grow into stable structures.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The paintings, installations and sculptures deal with the relationship between man and architecture, and how one can affect the other.

• The exhibition reveals the creative capacities of Saudi and other regional artists.

• It is also part of an initiative designed to achieve goals in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform program.

The performance aspect of the piece is composed of nurses who are trained to take care of the babies. The artist estimates that the babies were born at 40 weeks and are stable, meaning they can breathe on their own and maintain a regular body temperature, as opposed to premature skyscrapers who require more assistance. His work is a commentary on the need to incubate the different buildings of Dubai and give them the care that meets their needs.
Donia Al-Shetairy presents an installation called “The Cradle of Civilization” which consists of balls inside a hollow space. It turns into a livelier work when light is shed on its moving shadows. The artist expresses human adaptation, the relationship between culture and civilization, and the environment that embraces them.
“From Within” reveals the creative capacities of Saudi and other regional artists, allowing them to showcase their talent as well as helping them to reach a greater number of art enthusiasts and industry practitioners.
It is also part of an initiative designed to achieve goals in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform program. “From Within” runs until Dec. 26.


Preserving heritage means securing the future, says Princess Haifa

Updated 05 July 2020

Preserving heritage means securing the future, says Princess Haifa

  • Saudi Arabia is at the 209th session to discuss international issues related to the fields of education, science and culture

PARIS: Princess Haifa bint Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to UNESCO, said that changes can only be faced with global efforts to achieve the common goals of promoting peace, building cultural bridges between nations, and empowering societies to guarantee a better future.

Saudi Arabia recently participated in the 209th session of the UNESCO Executive Council at the agency’s Paris headquarters. The Kingdom was represented at the session by Princess Haifa and a team of 26 Saudi experts from different sectors that have activities related to the scope of UNESCO’s work, such as education, culture, energy, environment, and training.

Princess Haifa said: “Despite our different cultures and languages, we share our belief that education is a right for everyone, that preserving heritage means securing the future, and that innovation and science are the bridge that will pull us out of this pandemic the world today is living.”

She said that the Kingdom supported African countries and was ready to share its experiences in various UNESCO fields, in addition to supporting action plans related to developing islands as one of its priorities in exchanging experiences, especially since the Kingdom is one of the most advanced countries in the world in the field of water desalination.

Reference was made to the Kingdom’s support for international growth and stability through the G20 presidency, specifically with regard to ensuring the continuity of education in crises, the continuation of efforts to achieve climate adaptation worldwide, and solidarity with the members of the G20 in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a member state of the UNESCO Executive Council, Saudi Arabia is at the 209th session to discuss international issues related to the fields of education, science and culture. These will be evaluated and decided upon, and the executive decisions assigned to them will be voted on, in cooperation with the council’s member states.

The Kingdom’s participation in the meetings of the UNESCO Executive Council also comes as part of its permanent presence in the international cultural and educational organization since its foundation in 1946.