Hayy Jameel’s Exciting Five-Month Opening Season
The exhibitions and installations are accompanied by a wealth of new commissions, workshops, tours and talks…
Hayy Jameel, designed by waiwai
Jeddah’s culture vultures will be hard pushed to decide what to see during Hayy Jameel’s opening season. The new 17,000-square-metre waiwai-designed creative complex in the Al Mohammadiyyah area of the port city is offering a highly collaborative, innovative five-month lineup of wide-ranging exhibitions and programmes. Kicking off on December 6 with a focus on visual arts, guests will be able to enjoy works from over 45 artists and creatives from around 20 countries, as well as existing and newly-commissioned works by 19 Saudi artists. And whether it’s an installation made of chocolate, an immersive light work or audiovisual structures, the works are rooted in the context of Jeddah yet touch on urgent and relevant global themes. The event that runs through until April 20, 2022 will also include the inauguration of partner creative spaces and Saudi’s first independent audio-visual centre once spring is in the air.
Jonathas de Andrade, "O Peixe" (The Fish), 2016.Courtesy of The Galleries -Vermelho, Continua and Alexander and Bonin
Organised by Art Jameel, the independent establishment that supports artists and creative communities, the opening season will be celebrating Hayy Jameel’s varied elements each month. December 2021 inaugurates Hayy Arts, a “neighbourhood museum,” and a roster of new exhibitions, commissions, projects and installations revealed across the creative complex. Hayy Arts’ inaugural programmes include an international group exhibition with 21 artworks called “Staple: What’s on your plate?” Co-curated by Art Jameel’s Rahul Gudipudi and Delfina Foundation, the exhibition looks at themes of trade, exchange, coloniality, labour, tradition, myth and neo-imperial food production through a plethora of media that spans chocolate sculptures, beehives, print and audiovisual installations sampled from Jeddah. It features works from artists like Leen Ajlan, Mouza Almatroushi and Mariam Al Noaimi.
Rashed AlShahai, "Searching for Darkness," 2021. Courtesy the artist and Hafez Gallery. Photo © Riyadh Art 2021
Additionally, there’s “Illuminate: a Noor Riyadh Capsule,” featuring a series of large-scale, immersive light installations by 11 Saudi artists, including Dana Awartani, Manal Al Dowayan, Maha Malluh and Marwah Al Mugait, The major light works are on tour and adapted from the inaugural 2021 Noor Riyadh festival organised by Riyadh Art. Another highlight is “Paused Mirror,” a newly-commissioned collection of portraits of Saudi artists by Osama Esid, who has a background in portraiture and explorations of historical photography methods. “Paused Mirror” draws on Esid’s “wet plate collodion” portraits and landscapes and is developed via a collaborative journey through the Kingdom.
Nasser Almulhim's portrait
The Hayy Jamel Façade Commission, a new annual programme that gives one artist the opportunity to develop a major public work for the 25-metre “canvas” on the front of the building is yet another must-see. This year, it has been awarded to Riyadh-based painter and sculptor Nasser Almulhim, who is adorning the pedestrian facing Façade with an intricate design titled “Contours on Collective Consciousness.” The piece is inspired by the regional folklore “The Dove, The Partridge and The Crow,” which recounts the story of birds in a time of famine and hunger.
Hayy Learning and Hayy Studios Programmes
Hayy Jameel, design by waiwai (detail of the saha, the community courtyard)
Hayy Arts will be accompanied by the Hayy Learning and Hayy Studios programmes. Hayy Learning is a community-focused education platform with a rolling programme that embraces in-person and virtual learning, research and apprenticeships. One of the family-oriented initiatives is the Hayy Field Guide, a customisable journal designed for children and young adults to record their adventures at Hayy Jameel through thought-provoking exercises, an interactive map and unique collectable stamps. An activity-packed learning kit also playfully narrates the exhibition for young learners.
Abdul Latif Jameel (centre) with management, 1980s
Meanwhile, three programmes will occupy Hayy Studios, the production spaces on the top floor of the complex. “The Hospitable Ear” is a research project and workshop led by Julia Tieke and programmed by Zainab Ali Reza. A collaboration between Art Jameel and the Goethe Institute, the extended workshop, attended by Jeddah-based creatives, explores the local soundscapes of the city and the competing rhythms of its sprawling and fast-developing neighbourhoods. The second offering, “A Menu and its Leftovers: Finding the Voices in Jeddah’s Food Histories,” is led by food researcher, writer and filmmaker Salma Serry. The series of workshops looks into the unique voice of Jeddah’s food culture as materialised in family recipes, generational cookbooks and ephemera, as well as the collective cultural appreciation for the act and ritual of convening and cooking. Plus, there’s the three-part workshop series “There is an Edible Gold,” which is in collaboration with local apiary Beeways and part of artist Moza Almatrooshi’s commissioned work on view at Hayy Arts. The workshop series takes an interdisciplinary approach to the rich lives of bees hosts beehives from nomadic apiaries as they make their seasonal journey south from Al-Jawf Province to the Asir region.
Hayy Residents, Hayy Cinema and Hayy Community
Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel. Courtesy of Art Jameel
During January and February 2022, Jeddah’s cultural entrepreneurship will be marked with the launch of the first Hayy Residents’ spaces. The homegrown partner tenants are like-minded pioneering Saudis who have each shaped their respective fields. Their renewed and compelling new concepts range from contemporary art and design to performance and culinary arts and publishing and design houses.
Then in March and April 2022 there’s the exciting opening of Hayy Cinema to look forward to, and the programme is bound to excite. Saudi’s first bespoke independent audio-visual centre includes a 165-seat theatre, a community screening room and a multimedia library and educational space.
In addition, guests can help to celebrate the Hayy Community through a series of programmes, workshops, screenings and a special Ramadan calendar.