RIYADH: British artist Banksy’s real identity may remain a mystery, but his work is among the most well known in the world, and 70 reproduced pieces are to go on display in Riyadh — the first time they will be shown in the Middle East.
The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) will be home to Banksy’s reproduced art for two months, celebrating his creations from around the world.
“We celebrate his artwork in Riyadh, a first for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is really a true celebration of who he is,” Mohammed Al-Muhaidib, chief investment officer of Nowaar Entertainment company, which organized the exhibition, told Arab News.
The bright light at KAFD, with signs leading up to the gallery, usher in a hushed excitement for the opening of the “Without Limits” exhibition.
The show hosts visual interactions, such as a 10-minute documentary about the artist. Once finished, visitors are led to another room with an actor portraying himself as Banksy, reenacting the creation of the famed artist’s works.
A reproduction of his most notable work “Girl With Balloon” is among the pieces on display.
Banksy’s art has been a worldwide phenomenon, raising social and political issues all over the globe.
Although the exhibition is dedicated to Banksy, work by another artist, Huda Beydoun, is also on display.
Beydoun’s work was previously featured in 2015 at Banksy’s apocalyptic theme park pop-up exhibition titled “Dismaland,” in the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Banksy for ages and I’ve always admired him as an artist. Displaying my work alongside Banksy is definitely a highlight of my career as an artist. It is the second time after Dismaland,” Beydoun told Arab News.
Her favorite Banksy piece is “Love is in the Bin,” a piece that infamously shredded itself moments after being sold at auction for $1.36 million in 2018. “How it was destroyed after the auction was genius,” she said.
Banksy artworks will also be exhibited in other Saudi cities and the Middle East, said Al-Muhaidib.
The show will open at KAFD in Riyadh on Feb. 20, with entrance costing SR100 ($26.66)