Following four successful editions, the 2019 Shara Art Fair opened its doors this week to art lovers and collectors from across Saudi Arabia. According to Saudi Gazette, the five-day event, which is organized by the Saudi Art Council and supported by UBS, saw the participation of six art galleries from across the Kingdom, each showcasing works from Saudi Arabia and beyond. In addition, the fair for the first time since its establishment hosted four independent female artists not represented by galleries: Amena Tinwala, Hera Abed, Rae Mearkle, and Zainab Mumtaz.
Speaking to the news site, Nada Sheikh-Yasin, manager at the Council, said, “Shara is about bringing together under one roof galleries that are in different fields and different areas of art to support their artists and sell their work, and to create a professional artistic culture […] Sponsoring and supporting emerging talents is our core purpose as the Saudi Art Council. We consider ourselves an incubator and launch pad for new artists that would contribute to the richness of the Saudi art scene.”
Amongst the participants were: Athr Gallery, a contemporary art project space and gallery founded in 2009 by Hamza Serafi and Mohammed Hafiz; Loai Hakeem’s Noor Gallery; Dukkan Dar Al Hekma, an initiative by Dar Al Hekma University’s visual communication department; and Inside/Outside, an art collective comprising artists “who banded together from their respective practices to communicate an artistic dialogue, relevant to the concept through the body of their work.”
Ali Janoudi, head WM Central Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa at UBS and Vice Chairman of the Board, UBS Saudi Arabia, congratulated HRH Princess Jawaher bint Majed bin Abdulaziz, chair of the Council, on the continued success of the fair. He also shared his views on UBS’s decision to support the fair, saying, “Our ongoing partnership with the Saudi Art Council underlines our commitment to contemporary art in the Kingdom and the region. By supporting Shara Art Fair, we are able to provide our clients and audiences with access to the most important galleries, dynamic artists, and artworks in the region today.”