ALULA: AlUla is hosting an innovative photography exhibition featuring the work of 19 artists from around the world, including Saudi Arabia.
As part of the AlUla Arts Festival, AlUla has collaborated with Cortona On The Move, the acclaimed Italian festival of documentary photography, to curate a special site-responsive experience in AlUla’s Al-Jadidah Village until March 31. The festival is known worldwide for its focus on visual narrative, celebrating creativity through images that tell stories.
The first edition of the collaboration is titled “Past Forward — Time, Life and Longing,” where leading local, regional and international photographers will have their works exhibited on walls and in courtyards. The exhibition is co-curated by Arianna Rinaldo, artistic director of Cortona On The Move from 2012 to 2021, and Saudi-based visual artist Kholood Al-Bakr.
The concept at the heart of the exhibition is the idea of time. The artworks selected for Cortona On The Move AlUla are connected to the passage of time, whether on a personal and human level or from a global and environmental point of view. Key themes explored in the exhibition include family, friendship, memory, change and the future.
Alongside the exhibition, visitors can engage with a variety of activities including guided tours, meetings with the photographers, photography workshops, screenings and social evenings open to all audiences.
Industry-specific activities will also take place, such as training workshops with international photo editors and professionals from associated fields.
An artist residency program will accompany the exhibition, including mentorship and masterclasses to foster cultural exchange and artistic development. In this way, the project aims to develop the skills of local artists and enrich both visitors and the wider community.
Serving as a crossroads between three continents and a gateway between East and West, AlUla was built from successive civilizations and acted as a place of cultural exchange for millennia.
The Royal Commission for AlUla’s long-term plan is to reinvigorate, protect and preserve AlUla.
RCU’s Director of Arts and Creative Planning Nora Al-Dabal said: “Photography and AlUla go hand in glove. Photographers come from all over the world to capture our landscapes, heritage sites and culture. There is already a vibrant photography community in AlUla, and they will no doubt be very excited to engage with this program.
“Our focus on the arts in AlUla has been magnified recently with many great initiatives and collaborations announced. We see this latest collaboration with Cortona On The Move as an important step (in) AlUla’s development as a center for creative collaboration ...
“Our choice to partner with Cortona On The Move was motivated by their expertise and shared values in delivering exceptional cultural experiences and enabling creative communities and local people to be truly inspired to take their art form and interest to the next level.”
Veronica Nicolardi, director of Cortona On The Move festival, said: “Collaborating with RCU in this special project dedicated to the historic and culturally rich city of AlUla is very exciting for us, especially as this is the first time Saudi Arabia is collaborating with a European festival of photography.”
Festival co-curators Rinaldo and Al-Bakr stated: “[The exhibition] promises to be a creative amalgamation of art, culture, history, and life in the form of images. The exhibited artists from across continents explore different perspectives of photography and combine a multitude of themes, fusing the past with the future to produce a truly one-of-a-kind experience that draws from the cultural heritage of AlUla while looking towards its future.”