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La Biennale di Venezia 2021: A Look At The Saudi National Pavilion

The Saudi Pavilion, commissioned by the Architecture and Design Commission, will be presented as an experiential exhibition rooted in archival research.

Saudi Arabia will be represented for a second time at La Biennale di Venezia. And the team representing the Kingdom at the Venetian event’s 17th International Architecture Exhibition includes architects Basmah Kaki, Hessa AlBader and Hussam Dakkak. The new generation creatives, living in Jeddah, Kuwait and London respectively, are partners in design and research practice Studio Bound, and they will work alongside Brooklyn-based curators Uzma Z. Rizvi and Murtaza Vali.

Basmah Kaki

Murtaza Vali

Taking place from May 2 until November 21, the International Architecture Exhibition theme this year is "How Will We Live Together?" And “Accommodations,” the Saudi exhibition, analyses a series of spatial and social encounters in which the histories, protocols and gestures of quarantine, hosting and housing in Saudi Arabia are intertwined.

Hessa AlBader

Envisioned as several spaces within a space, the three-part exhibition will invite visitors into the realms of quarantine through which they will explore the interlocking relationship between inclusion and exclusion. “Accommodations” will examine the evolution of enclosures as they respond to external contexts, derive new meanings from novel situations and redefine the relationship between the individual, the community and the other. Through its structure and design, it will invite moments of exploration, retrospection and analysis.

Hussam Dakkak

“The exhibition traces the history of enclosures, examining how the built environment and urban fabric adapts to accommodate emergency conditions and how the meaning and use of such spaces shift over time,” curators Rizvi and Vali said. “Through the Saudi Pavilion, we hope to inspire a greater understanding of the tensions between the acts of separation inherent in quarantine and the acts of accommodation required to continue living.”

Uzma Z. Rizvi

Situated once again within the Venetian Arsenale, a complex of historic shipyards, the exhibition will be simultaneously experienced in Venice and online, allowing audiences around the world to engage with the question posed in this year’s theme.

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