RIYADH: Athr Foundation has opened the largest Young Saudi Artist exhibition to date, featuring 25 emerging artists at Ethr Residency, Diriyah.
Launched recently, the eighth YSA exhibition, which will run till March 18, 2024, explores the theme “on purpose,” and features a diverse range of artworks highlighting the Kingdom’s young artistic talents.
Artist Zahiyah Alraddadi presents a moving work titled “Numb,” a painting that shows an individual sitting in darkness, reflecting her battle with anxiety.
Alraddadi has been working on her oil painting for three years to capture her emotional fragility as authentically as possible.
She said: “I have quit art multiple times. I had to change my approach and make art without overthinking. When a self-sabotaging thought tries to drag me down, I allow the feelings to come, but I don’t let myself stop.”
Eventually, Alraddadi stopped erasing her paintings and began painting over them, symbolizing her acceptance.
She said: “From there I tried to build up on each layer, until maybe at some point I can like what I make.”
Artist Yusef Fageeh presents three artworks titled “Electric Series, Triptych,” a collection of hyper-realistic paintings of electric boxes, taking inspiration from power outages in Florida’s recent hurricane.
In a world dependent on electricity, Fageeh’s artwork spotlights the overlooked importance of the power source and how disruptive outages can be.
Speaking about the thought process behind the paintings, he said: “The electricity went out as I was painting these electrical boxes. That was sort of a switch for me of thinking this needs to go further. I started trying to find the images that I thought were the most fitting for this project. The work is about community and things in our community that unite us unknowingly.”
The work is about community and things in our community that unite us unknowingly.
Yusef Fageeh, Saudi artist
Using photographic references and with a meticulous eye for detail, Fageeh produces work that looks almost picture perfect.
His artistic technique relies on the use of adventurous color combinations to manipulate the situation of the painting.
“Something interesting about the painting process itself for me is painting the bricks, because I paint them one by one, and each time I paint a new brick, I basically mix a new color on my palette from scratch. You get into a weird hypnotic state at that point, just painting brick after brick after brick. Sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it’s meditative.”
Saudi artist Latifa Al-Bokhari’s work titled “To Care and Be Cared For,” shows a linen couch with two body outlines.
“I created my art piece by going to design the sofa, then applying the cyanotype, which is a sun UV-sensitive material. Then the next step to have my best friend and I sit on the sofa and print it together,” she said.
Al-Bokhari said that she wanted to create something reflective of special moments spent in safe spaces.
“What inspired it is the experiences I have and feel around my community, my friends, and feeling loved in the safe spaces I’ve encountered in my life. I wanted to reflect that into an art piece.”
The exhibition is curated by renowned artist Rami Farook and a selection committee composed of Ayman Yossri Daydban, Dur Kattan, Wejdan Reda, Hamza Serafi, and Solafa Rawas.
Farook said that he draws inspiration from reading and trying to find his purpose.
“A lot of people are going through the same thing, especially artists, so I thought it would an opportunity for them to explore the subject for themselves and for us to engage with the community about it. Just seeing the term ‘purpose’ will activate it and let some people think about it,” he said.
The foundation’s exhibition aims to empower up-and-coming Saudi artists by collaborating with curators and exhibition specialists to support their creative potential in order to enhance the Kingdom’s creative market.
For more details visit athrfoundation.org.