Artists were paid tribute in a ceremony to mark the end of the art week. People of importance that were present at the event included, Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Emirati Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Noura Al-Kaabi, Misk Foundation Secretary-General Bader bin Mohammed Al-Asaker and several ambassadors.
The Misk Art Week was hosted at Durrat Arriyadh from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 and was set up by the Misk Art Institute of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk). With over 250 artists featured at the art event, there was a strong focus on the development of Saudi Arabia’s art scene and cultural direction.
The Art Street and Misk Global Forum collaboratively emphasized the link between Saudi Arabia’s history of art and current contemporaries, which encourage current artists from the Kingdom to convey their culture through their work whether they are in the country or abroad. The Art Street initiative featured works of Riyadh based artists who create pop art, portraiture and murals, drawing in visitors from across the KSA and international waters.
Top artists who participated in the Misk Art 2018 event included, Nora Al-Qahtani, Ruhaifa Ba’asfar, Manal Bahanshal and Amal Felemban, whose work is shown at Manal Art Studio and Gallery Studio in Jeddah. The gallery also hosts exhibitions, workshops and art courses.
Speaking to Arab News, Al Qahtani spoke about her message through her work, “I love to address a woman’s personality in my pieces. Usually, people say men are absent in my work, but they are not. Men appear through the stories of women and their feelings in my paintings. Men appear indirectly in the background images, the memories, and through the elements of my paintings.”
Glm Rsas Group’s Saeed Aboud discussed his group’s objectives for Misk Art 2018, explaining, “We are working on a 10-meter mural; our exhibition contains four murals, each telling a certain story. We like to combine old heritage drawings and color them with modern pop colors. For example, we painted the Masmak palace with a pop pink color. We are also planning to work on a 3D mural. Each mural takes from two to three days to complete.”
Also speaking about being a part of the art expo, Dubai-based female Saudi artist from Jeddah, Hayfaa Hisham Hasanaian said, “I am happy because this is my first participation with Misk Art in Riyadh. I came with an open heart to meet and interact with people and visitors of Riyadh. I have always loved painting because I was encouraged by my family and friends. I started taking serious steps from painting as a hobby to becoming a professional painter. Now I have a daily routine that always involves painting.” Explaining that each of her pieces of art convey a particular idea, Hasanian gave an example, “I have a painting that represents circles that look different. Each circle represents our personal experiences and differences, but at the same time are similar and harmonious, and are integrated with each other and our relationship with the universe.”
Art Street gave emerging artists a platform to showcase and sell their art whilst also offering them an opportunity to communicate with other professional artists from the region. Renowned artists who were present at Misk Art 2018 shared their delight at the success of the event as it attracted all walks of Saudi society whilst allowing artists, collectors, exhibition and museum owners, students and arts academics an opportunity to meet.
Prince Badr honored 43 Saudi Arabian artists at the event’s closing ceremony for their position as “pioneers in the artistic field and the establishment of the cultural movement in the Kingdom.”
Ahmed Mater, who is the Executive Director of the Misk Art Institute stated that 2018’s event aimed to highlight the great number of talented artists of the Kingdom, as well as being a place to celebrate the accomplishments of artistic trailblazers and an opportunity to attract international artists and schools.