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“After Rain”: Seven Highlights at Diriyah Biennale's Second Edition

The Diriyah Biennale's second edition, titled "After Rain," is inspired by post-rain scents, echoing a Saudi poem. Artistic director Ute Meta Bauer explores Saudi Arabia's influence on the event, addressing urgent themes like water scarcity and climate migration, and fostering dialogue through art. Held in Riyadh's JAX District, the biennale encourages reflection on the changing landscape. Bauer highlights art's ability to evoke emotions and critical thought. Admission is free, and the event is running until May 24.

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ALIA FARID: ‘In Lieu of What Was’

In a dimly lit space, oversized fiberglass sculptures by the Kuwaiti-Puerto Rican artist highlight water accessibility, depicting diverse vessels from traditional pots to plastic bottles, inspired by Kuwait's water infrastructure. Co-curator Ana Salazar underscores the artist's commentary on Kuwait's freshwater scarcity, accompanied by a film depicting climate change's impact on an Iraqi marshland.

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CITRA SASMITA: ‘Timur Merah Project XII: Rivers With No End’

The Balinese artist draws inspiration from Islam's spread across the Asian archipelago for a large-scale wooden artwork symbolizing a waterway and the transmission of knowledge. Carved wooden pillars evoke the architecture of the Indonesian port of Nusantara, while vibrant floral fabrics are reminiscent of local sail designs.

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DANA AWARTANI: ‘Come, Let Me Heal Your Wounds’

The Saudi artist collaborated with a Kerala community, using medicinal plants to dye textiles. This inspired her 'healing cloths' piece, mapping damaged historical sites across the Arab world with ripped and mended fabric panels in subdued hues.

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EL ANATSUI: ‘Logoligi Logarithm’

The Ghanaian artist's 'snakelike' installation comprises narrow folds of hundreds of bottle caps, taking three weeks to install. Addressing colonialism, consumerism, and waste, Anatsui's exploration of the 'unfixed form' may be interpreted aesthetically and politically, metaphorizing opaque political systems.

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Using textile portraiture, the Polish-born Roma artist challenges perceptions of the Roma, Europe's largest minority group, shaped by centuries of persecution. The series focuses solely on individuals with plain backgrounds, reflecting the title's intention of portraying them as "Wonderful People."

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SAMIA ZARU: ‘Life Is a Woven Carpet’

The experienced Palestinian artist and educator unveils a towering hanging artwork composed of ropes adorned with clay and glass fragments sourced from ancient Palestinian structures. Symbolizing life's intricate tapestry, the piece features knots and gaps, encouraging viewers to engage with its myriad openings from various perspectives, fostering unrestricted exploration.

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SARA ABDU: ‘Now That I’ve Lost You in My Dreams, Where Do We Meet?’

Fragrant soap bars in curved walls symbolize emotional ties to absent loved ones, inspiring reflection and acceptance. Encouraging new connections, each bar bears a word from the title, sparking contemplation on the link between physicality and memory in this installation.

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