JEDDAH: The Art Residency Al-Balad ended its fourth open studio featuring the work of 10 artists at Rubat Al-Khunji Al-Saghir in Al-Balad in Jeddah at the weekend.
Visitors had the opportunity to engage with the artists’ practices, projects and collaborative endeavors developed during their residency.
Participating artists were Abdulaziz Al-Oraifj and Sara Essa from Riyadh, Ahmed Al-Sindi from Madinah, Amelie Esterhazy from Germany, Damon Kowarsky from Australia, Dina Shehata from Egypt, Donia Al-Shetairy from Yemen, Maan Al-Abbadi from Taif, and Omamah Ashmeel and Somaya Al-Sayed from Jeddah.
Mohamed Ali Ghomriani, managing director of Hafez Projects, said: “We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Culture and Quality of Life Program for developing such an outstanding and dynamic platform for the Saudi artistic scene.
“We believe in the power of the arts and culture sector to fuel creativity, collaboration and shared experiences to connect and inspire our global community.”
He added: “This is the last cycle for this year and we were able to observe artwork presentations, a public reading and a street projection from local and international artists.
“It was indeed a privilege to meet the remarkable artists and discover the contribution they make every day to the Kingdom’s vibrant artistic and cultural life.”
Ashmeel, a visual artist and illustrator, said: “This residency enabled me to work on personal projects and create artwork without any pressure of outcomes.
“I am thankful to Hafez Gallery and the Ministry of Culture for the very supportive artistic journey. It really helped me to grow as an artist and gave me tools to improve myself as an artist.
“Over the six-week training program I learned a lot from my fellow residents and met different people that helped me to exchange experiences and enhance my creative skills.”
Al-Sindi, who was presenting his work in public for the first time, said: “We have so many beautiful landscapes and examples of architecture that need to be shown in different artistic perspectives, and this program definitely helped us to make our dreams come true.”
Kowarsky, who was also participating for the first time, said: “The architecture in Al-Balad is very distinctive and because of the restoration work for the UNESCO heritage listing, the structural design is changing constantly.
“In my drawings I wanted to show something of that transition and how buildings are almost changing by the day to make it a very dynamic and active part of the city.
“This program is reaching out to the world and inviting people from different countries to explore and record its culture and history.”
Art Residency Al-Balad is part of the Ministry of Culture’s Advancing Cultural Entrepreneurship initiative and is sponsored by Saudi Vision 2030’s Quality of Life Program and operated by Hafez Projects.
In 2022 it witnessed four residency cycles that welcomed more than 30 emerging and established local and international artists.