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Sara Alissa and Nojoud Alsudairi, Invisible Possibilities, When the Earth Begins to Look at Itself, Desert X AlUla 2024

AlUla Arts Festival lines up exhibitions and creatives

ALULA, 21 days ago

The third edition of AlUla Arts Festival, under its new banner of Art Unframed, will take place from February 9-March 2, showcasing an expansive programme of events, exhibitions, and creative initiatives in the ancient oasis of AlUla.

Inaugurated in 2022, and part of the annual AlUla Moments calendar of events, the festival features an exciting mix of creatives including local, regional, and international artists, performers, curators, collectors and more.

Desert X AlUla 2024

Following two exhibitions since 2020, the international open-air art exhibition Desert X AlUla returns for its third edition from February 9 – March 23, 2024, placing visionary contemporary artworks by Saudi and international artists amidst the extraordinary desert landscape of AlUla.

This year’s exhibition, under the curatorial vision of Maya El Khalil and Marcello Dantas – as well as artistic direction from Raneem Farsi and Neville Wakefield – features 15 newly commissioned artworks.

Wadi AlFann

This edition of Desert X AlUla will be situated across three locations for the first time: in the desert landscape of Wadi AlFann; amongst the black lava stone terrain and breathtaking views of Harrat Uwayrid; and at the AlManshiyah Plaza, which reveals the many layers of history and cultural confluence you find in AlUla.

Wadi AlFann presents Manal AlDowayan, one of Saudi Arabia's most significant contemporary artists, in the lead-up to her new land art commission, Oasis of Stories, a large-scale labyrinthine installation inspired by AlUla Old Town, which will be permanently placed in AlUla’s monumental desert landscape from 2026.

AlJadidah Arts District

During AlUla Arts Festival, two adjacent exhibitions – featuring drawing, ceramic, soft sculpture, painting and weaving – take place in AlJadidah Arts District, at the heart of AlUla’s community.  

A parallel exhibition presented in collaboration with Sabrina Amrani Gallery, titled, Their Love Is Like All Loves, Their Death Is Like All Deaths, delves further into AlDowayan’s practice.

More than Meets the Eye – Arts AlUla presents an exhibition of contemporary works by Saudi artists on loan from collectors in Saudi Arabia, hosted at Maraya.

Curated by Dr Effat Abdullah Fadag, the exhibition will re-canonise the history of the contemporary art movements in Saudi Arabia, documenting the story of artists and the role of collectors in the development of the art scene.

The exhibition will run from February 9 – April 27 and is part of the pre-opening programme for the future contemporary art museum in AlUla.

Contemporary Artists

With works by pioneering Saudi artists such as Abdulhalim Radwi, Mohammed Alsaleem and Mounirah Mously alongside leading contemporary Saudi artists such as Ahmed Mater, Muhannad Shono and Dana Awartani, the exhibition explores connections, influences and shared stories from across generations of Saudi artists.

Ithra Art Prize – the winner of the largest art prize in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Obaid Alsafi, unveils his winning artwork, Palms in Eternal Embrace.

Ithra Annual Prize

The 6th edition of the annual prize run by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is the first in collaboration with Arts AlUla, as part of a wider partnership between both organisations to combine their respective efforts to support creativity in Saudi Arabia and the wider region.

This year’s theme Art in the Landscape, called for submissions of public artwork proposals that are site-specific to AlUla and that present interpretations of AlUla’s unique landscapes and natural heritage.

The winning large-scale site-specific installation will exhibit for six weeks amid the 2.3 million date palms of the AlUla Oasis.

Artist Residency Exhibitions

AlUla Artist Residency- Arts AlUla presents two Artist Residency exhibitions, the Visual Art Residency exhibition, The Shadow Over Everything, and the Design Residency exhibition Unguessed Kinships, which will run until April 30, 2024, emphasising AlUla's emerging role as a focal point for cultural exchange and artistic innovation in the region.

The exhibitions showcase pieces created by international artists and designers invited to participate in the AlUla Artist Residency Programme, founded in partnership with the French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula).

Located in two distinct outdoor venues, the exhibitions will be hosted at Mabiti in The Palm Grove, and Madrasat Addeera.

AlUla 1445

AlUla 1445 – featuring images by artist Hassan Hajjaj who is renowned for work that merges contemporary art, fashion and cultural identity. He photographed local people and residents in February 2023 in an outdoor studio at Madrasat Addeera. The subjects include farmers, sports teams, merchants, craftspeople and the creative community.

Design Space AlUla

Design Space AlUla – February 2024 will mark the opening of Design Space AlUla, a focal point for showcasing AlUla's wide-ranging design initiatives contributing to the vision for AlUla.

Located in the AlJadidah Arts District, Design Space AlUla provides exhibition, workshop and archive space, and is designed to foster collaboration amongst design professionals, students, and design enthusiasts, whilst strengthening AlUla’s legacy across the cultural sphere as a catalyst for creative inspiration and design.

The inaugural exhibition, Mawrid: Celebrating Inspired Design, curated by Sara Ghani, will introduce the design thinking process behind 10 recent AlUla-inspired designs across design, architecture and urban planning. The launch programme, taking place between February 15-17 will include keynote presentations, masterclasses, workshops, panel discussions and design tours. TradeArabia News Service

 

 




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