The festival brings art to the people, nurtures local talent and develops the creative ecosystem
Saudi Arabia’s capital is poised to be bathed in light as Noor Riyadh prepares to flip the switch on the world’s largest light art festival. The third edition of the annual celebration of light and art will showcase over 120 artworks by more than 100 artists under the theme “The Bright Side of the Desert Moon” from Nov. 30 to Dec. 16. However, the event is aimed at greater impact — energizing the country’s creative economy by empowering the Kingdom’s artists and stimulating its creative ecosystem.
This year sees the inclusion of more than 35 Saudi artists engaging with their global peers, including Ayman Yossri Daydban, Muhannad Shono, Sultan bin Fahad, Zahrah Alghamdi and the design practice Studio Bound. This cross-cultural exchange also benefits the public, as the curators — Jérôme Sans, Pedro Alonzo, Alaa Tarabzouni and Fahad bin Naif — take visitors on an enlightening journey through contemporary art, placing the urban cityscape in dialogue with the natural landscapes of the desert.
Noor Riyadh’s accompanying exhibition, titled “Refracted Identities, Shared Futures” and curated by Neville Wakefield and Maya Al-Athel, will run until March 2, 2024.
Noor Riyadh offers a platform for the public to interact with art, the people who create it and other creatives in the industry, while its educational programming expands art knowledge among students and teachers. Its apprenticeship program also provides an opportunity for young Saudis to develop their skills by shadowing the people behind the festival — the artists, curators and project directors.
The event also offers a range of activities, from talks and workshops to family-focused fun and guided tours through the five main hubs — JAX District, King Abdullah Financial District, Salam Park, Wadi Hanifa and Wadi Namar.
The festival is part of Riyadh Art, one of the largest public art initiatives in the world, aimed at transforming the Saudi capital into a “gallery without walls.”
“Riyadh Art and the Noor Riyadh festival enhance livability in Saudi Arabia’s capital city by transforming public spaces and creating a movement for artistic expression through community engagement,” said Khaled Al-Hazani, executive director of the Riyadh Art Program. “With a focus on nurturing local talent and amplifying the creative ecosystem, the program contributes to the development of Riyadh’s cultural economy.”
Noor Riyadh supports Riyadh Art’s objectives by creating a global community that sparks creativity, ignites the art movement, encourages self-expression and creates an inclusive culture.