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Graffiti Brings The Streets Of Saudi’s Al-Khobar To Life

In the quiet seaside town of Al-Khobar in eastern Saudi Arabia, 21 graffiti artists, men and women, recently took to the streets with paints and tools to bring the city’s historic neighborhood to life. According to Arab News, this living art exhibition entitled “Alfan Sharqy” (“Art is Eastern”) is believed to be the first-ever street graffiti project in the Kingdom.

The exhibition, which brought in artists from across the country, was organized by Saudi artist Madawi Albaz, founder of Dawi Gallery in Al-Khobar, under the sponsorship of Princess Abeer Bint Faisal Al Saud.

The creation of the project saw the painting of six houses and the transformation of an entire neighborhood on the southern side of Al-Khobar, completed in just 10 days. Albaz explained to the news site that she has always had this dream to spread art around the Kingdom and is thankful that her dream is now becoming a reality.

“I wanted to give Saudi artists the opportunity to show their talents and decorate the neglected houses. This is a different experience, with a big challenge that included a large population and old streets. […] The initiative goes hand in hand with Vision 2030, offering talented youth the chance to spread art and beauty.”

The Kingdom has been transforming its social and economic spheres through sweeping reforms in line with its Vision 2030 national strategy, which is being spearheaded by 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Part of this transformation has been the billions of dollars in investments made towards the advancement of its cultural and art scene.

Today, Saudi Arabia has already witnsessed the lifting of a decades-old ban on public cinemas, the creation of the Misk Art Institute, and the increase of concerts, festivals, and other public events. The coming years are set to see the opening of an opera house in Jeddah, the completion of a Las Vegas sized entertainment city near Riyadh, the opening of the Hayy creative hub in Jeddah and the Snøhetta-designed King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dammam, and international acts such Cirque du Soleil, the world-renowned circus and entertainment troupe.

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