After the grand opening on November 5, art buffs in Riyadh have been admiring the stellar artworks on show at South America’s international contemporary art biennial, BIENALSUR. And while visiting the exhibition titled Recovering Stories, Recovering Fantasies, they have been taking in the impressive work of four Saudi artists. Fatima Al-Banawi, Sara Abu Abdallah, Faisal Samra and Ayman Zedani are showing their pieces alongside leading international peers at the Saudi capital’s National Museum.
The works on show provide cultural and artistic experiences that foster cultural exchange and highlight the Saudi Arabian art scene to the world. Modern art installations from the Saudi contingent, supported by the Ministry of Culture, include: A Blink of an Eye by Al-Banawi, Mornings of Hope by Abdallah, Samra's Grip of Hope and Azal by Zedani. The month-long exhibition, which features works from a wide range of international artists, was curated by the renowned artistic-academic director of BIENALSUR, Diana Wechsler.
“The exhibition draws on the diverse cultural horizons of our audiences. It is an invitation to the public to experience the art and reflect on their own personal experiences,” she said.
Additionally, Anibal Jozami, Director of BIENALSUR, said: The objective of BIENALSUR is to introduce new audiences to contemporary art from around the world. We’re incredibly excited to bring a range of beautiful works to Riyadh, including four from Saudi artists.”
The second edition of BIENALSUR, the world’s first travelling contemporary art biennial, is touring around 20 countries and 40 cities, with Riyadh being the first venue in Saudi Arabia, as well as the Arab world. The first edition of the event, which aims to become a global platform for reflection on contemporary art and strengthen intercultural dialogue and understanding, was held in 2016, with exhibitions held in 45 cities around the world.
A MINISTRY’S VISION
BIENALSUR’s arrival in Riyadh underlines the cultural transformation underway in the Kingdom, which is guided by the Ministry of Culture. The ministry’s vision, launched earlier this year, supports artists and creatives to thrive and contribute to the growth of the sector. Earlier in 2019, the ministry supported three Saudi conceptual artists from the Kingdom’s flourishing arts scene to exhibit their works at BIENALSUR in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Visual arts are one of the 16 sectors the Ministry of Culture is overseeing. Since Saudi Arabia is home to a wealth of talented artists worthy of global attention, the ministry is supporting domestic and international initiatives that contribute to the flourishing of arts and culture in the country and create opportunities for local artists and creatives to be recognised globally.