JEDDAH: A six-month-old art space in Jeddah sees 2022 as the year when every element of the building gradually unfolds and launches.
Art Jameel is already on its second exhibition in its museum block Hayy Arts.
Toward the end of the year, it will open Saudi Arabia’s first arthouse cinema Hayy Cinema and show films from the Kingdom, the Arab world and further afield that would not necessarily get screened in multiplexes to offer audiences in the Kingdom something new.
Antonia Carver, director of Art Jameel, said the people of Jeddah had a “hunger” for art events and that every event hosted by Hayy Jameel had been full.
“Usually when you launch new museums or art initiatives anywhere in the world it tends to be the usual suspects who visit, people who are already into art tend to come,” she told Arab News.
“I think what’s really interesting about the Jeddah public, we can contrast it with other places around the world, is that the audiences we’re getting here are exceptionally broad. All ages, backgrounds, and areas of Jeddah are coming to Hayy Jameel with a great intellectual curiosity looking for a cultural experience.”
She said the launch of these initiatives would impact the future of the Saudi art scene.
“We’re in an unprecedented moment in the Saudi art scene right now. We have the greatest level of government support for the scene and we can see that through the Diriyah Biennale and the Islamic Biennale. At the same time, you have this groundswell of activity from the independent initiatives.”
Art Jameel is launching an initiative called Little Hayy, a specialist children’s learning zone for the arts.
“It’s lots of fun educational learning and edutainment. It’s a way of learning for kids through the arts, which is fun and interactive. That’s something that we were asked by the community to provide, and we always want to be as responsive as possible to build here at Hayy Jameel something for everyone.”
Carver said music was important for people in Jeddah and that the venue would provide more music events. Next week, there is a collaboration with MDL Beast.
“We’re debuting new initiatives in music, again being responsive to the community. We’ve realized that music is very central to Jeddah and there aren't many opportunities for young musicians to hone their talent."
Art Jameel and MDL Beast are holding a forum for young musicians in Saudi Arabia so they can learn about the industry. In the evening, there is a public event with DJs and performances in the main courtyard.
Other spaces opening during the year are Athr Gallery, concept store Homegrown, publishing house and cultural consultancy Al-Mohtaraf, AlComedy Club, culinary atelier Sofia’s Bistro, and design studio Riwaq Dahr.