Riyadh: The AlUla Arts Festival returns this year with an extensive range of exhibitions and artistic attractions from Feb. 16-28.
With some programs extending until May, the festival will take place in the scenic historic landscape for 12 days with an events calendar that has attracted artists from all over the world.
The 2023 theme is “Living in Color” to reflect colorful works of art and performances including an exclusive 70-piece exhibition by famed US pop artist Andy Warhol.
In collaboration with the Andy Warhol Museum based in the US, museum director Patrick Moore curated an exhibition featuring the mesmerizing installation “Silver Clouds,” iconic prints of Hollywood stars, various photographs, and paintings.
Commenting on the significance of the exhibition, Moore said: “FAME is intended to be an introduction to the aspect of Warhol that I believe is most fascinating to many young people, including Saudi youth, as Andy Warhol’s journey, which started as a child staring at the movie screen and collecting publicity stills, is becoming more common through the rise of social media. FAME is an opportunity to further extend Warhol’s legacy by reaching new audiences through the display but also the talk programs and screen-printing workshops that will run in parallel to the exhibition.”
Held at the Maraya, the “FAME: Andy Warhol in AlUla” exhibition will also include a performance titled “13 Most Beautiful,” which pairs large-scale projections of silent films by Warhol with a performance by the American rock act Dean and Britta.
Warhol’s films and documentary will be playing at the outdoor cinema and cafe Cinema Al-Jadidah, as part of AlUla Cinema Week. The film program is in partnership with the Red Sea International Film Festival and will include a photography exhibition honoring female icons of Egyptian cinema.
The festival will offer visitors the chance to partake in multiple tours: Art in Landscape Guided Hike will explore the Wadi Al-Fann landscape, Living in Color Guided Tours will take guests to the Community Square in the Arts District and Oasis to view commissioned art, and Of Myrrh and Silver Scent Walking Tours will explore the ancient Incense Road.
The “Palimpsest of Time” is an exhibition being hosted at Hotel Mabiti. It will feature 13 current and previous artists from the AlUla Artists Residency program.
The Madrasat Addeera Program will host workshops for visitors to join in wood carving, textile weaving, palm frond weaving, geometry and decorative design.
Additionally, from Feb. 20 to 28, several up-and-coming photographers will have the chance to join the AlUla Canon Young People’s program to learn more about visual storytelling.
With an extensive range of exhibitions and activities, the AlUla Arts Festival is set to be one of the most exciting events for artists and creatives in the region this year.
Farah Alturki, a Saudi screenwriter and producer, told Arab News: “My background is in film and TV, and there’s a lot that one could learn from art, especially in our field. The festival is happening here in our country, and in one of the most scenic locations in Saudi Arabia. It’s quite hard not to go.”
Alturki has been to AlUla before to attend the Desert x AlUla 2022, an open-air art exhibition.
“Attending the AlUla Arts Festival will nurture my creative energy. I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere and all (the) art works that I can manage to see and experience.”