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Inaugural Exhibition: Riyadh's First Modern Art Museum Showcases Argentine Bienalsur

The Museum of Contemporary Art (SAMoCA) in Riyadh's JAX district was officially opened by the Saudi Ministry of Culture. In addition to having a permanent art collection, this museum has tight ties to another museum in Diriyah, which hosts three temporary exhibitions as well as a number of annual cultural and creative events.

Saudi artist, Saeed Gebaan, expressed his enthusiasm about this important development, highlighting the presence of older modern works by previous generations of artists. He underlined that this space serves to further the notion that tourists from all over the world may experience the region's inventive art forms and tangible origins.

With the topic "Imagine: Dreams, Utopias, Fantasies," the inaugural exhibition features a portion of the travelling Bienalsur, the International Contemporary Art Biennial of South America, which got underway in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July 2022. It includes artistic creations from more than 400 artists from 27 nations, ten of which are Saudi citizens.

Gebaan was thrilled that his work was selected for display in Riyadh, aiming to inspire people to come and experience the region's creative spirit. In his dynamic installation "Soul," sand gradually rises and then descends to its initial position, raising concerns about the nature of existence and visual paradoxes.

Shahd Youssef's artwork, "Great Smog," offers a potential solution to air pollution inspired by London's historical deadly fog. The artwork involves processed charcoal-like material coated with biochar, which actively reduces CO2 in the atmosphere. Youssef's work is a reflection of her focus on finding solutions within the cause itself.

Saudi-Syrian artist Hatem Al-Ahmad presented "To Speak in Synergy," a video installation depicting a community performance where volunteers in Abha, where the artist resides, painted juniper trees with copper sulfate calcium. This act of collective action addresses the ongoing destruction of ecosystems and represents hope for healing.

By providing a venue for showcasing the finest current artistic practices from both domestic and foreign artists, the SAMoCA seeks to empower artists and advance contemporary art in Saudi Arabia.

The exhibition will be open to the public until December 31 in the JAX district, contributing to the country's ongoing efforts to enhance the quality of life and encourage international cultural exchange. Tickets can be obtained through the ministry's Discover Culture page at

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