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The Works of Saudi Arabia’s Top Contemporary Artists Is Currently on Display at Ithra

Some of the best contemporary artists in Saudi Arabia are taking center-stage at Ithra, also known as the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, in a fascinating exhibition entitled “Zamakan: Notions of Time and Space Complexity Tour.” According to the center’s website, the exhibition showcases 11 Saudi-based artists who use their art “to ponder universal questions,” such as where we as humans came from, what the future is, and how space and time shapes their individual view.

Flow #2, 2019 by Ahmad Angawi

In a recent piece by Harper’s Bazaar, it was reported that “Zamakan’ is curated by Candida Pestana, and the exhibition highlights works by Maha Malluh, Dana Awartani, Ahmad Angawi, Omar Abduljawad, Moath Alofi, Aziz Jamal, Muhannad Shono, Abdullah Al Othman, Sara Abdu, Ayman Zedani, and Zahra Al-Ghamdi.

The Doors of Thad, 2019 by Moath Alofi

Playground, 2019 by Aziz Jamal

Speaking to the magazine, Pestana explained that “Zamakan is a contemporary word for the Arabic language […] It combines two words: space and time. It has been used in the Arab world more in regards to science fiction or physics. Each artist’s work investigates these elements differently through use of the environment behind each material and the inherent stories within the materials that they use.”

Oil Candles, 2019 by Maha Malluh

What Lies Behind the Sun, 2019 by Zahra Al-Ghamdi

“The idea is for the works to create a passage through time and examine notions of how space and time influence someone’s outlook […] The only thing that these artists have in common is their cultural background. The way that they respond to the elements of space and time is completely different,” she continued.

Sound of the Desert, 2018 by Abdullah Al-Othman

Located in Dhahran, Ithra has been labelled “the first incubator of knowledge of its kind in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” It opened its doors last year, after being under construction since 2008. It comprises 100,000 square meters of cultural facilities, including the 200,000-book library; a 930-seat auditorium; a smaller auditorium for a cinema; the Idea Lab offering design exhibitions and workshops; Knowledge Tower, a multi-room venue; a museum; and archives.

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