Saudi Arabia has announced that next year’s installment of Jeddah Arts, also known as 21,39 will launch on the 28th of January, 2020. Under the theme “I Love You, Urgently,” this 7th edition aims to be a global call to action “in response to the environmental emergency from the specificity of a local context.” This year’s event has asked participants to address three specific themes through exhibitions, talks, and commissions that will take place across the gallery spaces of the Art Council, as well as in Al-Balad, Jeddah’s historic city center.
According to Arab News, the curator of 21,39, Maya El-Khalil, explained that “[t]he title is an unexpected address. As it departs from the scientific vernacular, it emphasizes the highly personal dynamics we are living today” and the three key themes of the show “are ideas of biomimicry, the imitation of the models, systems and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems, of adaptability and of specificity, how to think of alternative and symbiotic ways to inhabit our planet from a local context.”
The news site also quoted Princess Jawaher bint Majed bin Abdul Aziz, chairwoman of the Saudi Art Council, as saying, “The city of Jeddah has long been at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s contemporary art scene, and we are excited to bring creative responses to environmental concerns to the table with the 7th edition of 21,39 Jeddah Arts.”
This annual initiative, which derives its name from the geographical coordinates of the city of Jeddah (21.5433°N, 39.1728°E), is seen as a key event in the Kingdom’s cultural calendar and as integral to Saudi Arabia’s cultural development. Indeed, according to UBS.com, the bank being one of the initiative’s key sponsors, 21,39 is a non-profit organization established by the Saudi Art Council, created with the aim to contribute to the local community through promoting art and culture in Jeddah and beyond.