RIYADH: A Saudi art student’s digital work has been showcased on a giant screen at one of the world’s biggest music festivals.
Ahaad Alamoudi’s colorful falcons creation went on display at the third edition of MDLBeast’s Soundstorm event held in the desert outside of Riyadh.
The moving digital images featured on a horizontal 128-meter screen near to the festival’s DownBeast stage.
Alamoudi, who is currently studying for a Ph.D. at the Royal College of Art in London, said the falcon was a traditional symbol that not only represented the transformations taking place in Saudi Arabia but also the importance of preserving the country’s natural environment.
The Jeddah-born artist’s work appeared alongside acts by top international music stars, Saudi DJs, and rap and hip-hop performers in the first presentation of its kind at the festival.
It was one of three commissioned artworks displayed at the event through a collaboration between independent arts initiative Edge of Arabia, and YallaSwap, a web3 platform bringing the next generation of digital content to the Arab world through digital collectibles, unique experiences, and community.
One of them, by Riyadh-based pixel artist KldPxl, aimed to capture the beauty and loneliness of the modern world through complex digital compositions such as empty gas stations and desert highways.
Also on display was the work of graphic designer Yusef Alahmad who specializes in Arabic typography with a focus on the cross-cultural aesthetics between the Western and Arab worlds.
The artist told Arab News: “Music and art are two of my biggest passions and combining them in one project was especially rewarding.
“I felt really honored to have my work displayed at MDLBeast and potentially seen by over 100,000 local and international attendees.”
Alahmad gained a master of fine arts degree in graphic design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and currently works as art director for Edge of Arabia.
YallaSwap founder, Bader Tazrouti, told Arab News: “The majority of visitors to MDLBeast are local Saudis and we wanted to provide them with local digital art to appreciate.
“We are a web3 marketplace for the Arab world localized through content. We were with top-tier local artists and through curation, with Edge of Arabia, we want to emphasize the local context for these creatives and their aesthetics.”
The works used the latest technology to try and push the boundaries of creativity, while adhering to tradition.
Edge of Arabia founder, Stephen Stapleton, told Arab News: “The works are surreal, technological, and exciting; a collision of past, present, and future and a reflection of what is happening in society.
“The work is made for the people, and this is why we chose these three artists — they want to reach the broader population through their art, not just the art crowd.”
Through their digital medium, the works aimed to reflect the electronic music experience — dizzying, escapist, and inspiring.
Similar to the growing community of Saudi electronic music stars and DJs, these contemporary artists are attempting to pay tribute to their country’s rich heritage while innovating and expanding through technology and contemporary culture.
The first YallaSwap meetup was organized in October in collaboration with Edge of Arabia, and Badiya Studio/Jazzy Spa Sounds, whose founders Warchief and Chindy performed at the DownBeast stage on the opening day of this year’s Soundstorm.