After saving the dates for the inaugural edition of Saudi Arabia’s Ad-Diriyah Biennale, culture vultures can now examine its theme. The much-anticipated event taking place from December 7 2021 until March 7 2022 is set to run with the “Feeling the Stones” theme. A metaphor for change and experimentation, it is
at once improvisational, incremental and iterative.
For Arabia’s first contemporary art Biennale being held at the JAX district in Ad-Diriyah, dubbed the “Jewel of the Kingdom,” the organizers were inspired by the idea of “Crossing the river by feeling the stones.” It’s a slogan that emerged during the 1980s as a metaphor for action at a time of social and economic transformation.
“We hope that this exhibition will expose new generations of viewers to global contemporary art, not just as a mode of visual expression but as a space for critical thinking,” said Philip Tinari, Director and Chief Executive of UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing and first curator of the Biennale. “The art scene in Saudi Arabia finds itself at a crucial juncture, and art has an important role to play in reflecting on key issues of the moment.”
Wejdan Reda, founder of Jeddah’s Sahaba art consultancy joins Tinari on the curatorial team, as does Shixuan Luan, curator at UCCA, and Neil Zhang, assistant curator.
Featuring over 70 international and national artists, the Biennale will take place in a 27,000 square metre area, located in JAX’’s newly converted creative district. The exhibition will unfold in six sections examining themes that include memory and preservation, cultural transmission, social engagement, the Anthropocene and the spiritual.
Overseen by the Ad-Diriyah Biennale Foundation, the yearly cultural Biennale will be alternating each year between a contemporary visual art and an Islamic art exhibition. The Ministry of Culture initiated the Ad-Diriyah Biennale as part of its efforts to support the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategic framework and Quality of Life Program. And the exciting adddition to calendars aims to create new connections between the Saudi and international art worlds, bringing new trends in global contemporary art to Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning cultural scene.
Art Dubai kicks off tomorrow!https://t.co/5eykBX8zRb— About Her (@AboutHerOFCL) March 28, 2021
Plus, by bringing together a diverse cohort of international artists and industry specialists, the event will also give local Saudi artists an opportunity to engage with and learn from leading experts. As the first dedicated space intended to showcase homegrown talent in the arts, the Ad-Diriyah Biennale provides local artists the chance to exhibit their works to global audiences as well as the local ones too.