Art by Sarah Abu Abdallah
In an effort to diversify its oil-dependent economy, Saudi Arabia has been investing heavily on empowering the Kingdom’s women and enriching a number of key sectors as well such as the arts, culture, and heritage, in line with its national Vision 2030 strategy.
Earlier this year, for instance, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman launched the Misk Institute, an artistic arm of his philanthropic Misk Foundation. As reported by The National, the newly established Institute has already been tasked with supporting the first Saudi Arabia Pavilion at the International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale this spring, a cultural exchange program in California, and a festival in New York dedicated to Arab artists. In addition, the Kingdom announced in February its upcoming art complex, Hayy: Creative Hub, a three-story, multi-disciplinary cultural complex spread across 17,000 square meters of land in Jeddah.
As arts and culture continue take center stage in the Kingdom, and as Saudi women increasingly work on leaving their mark in this changing climate, let’s take a look at three of the latest names on the scene, as suggested by artist Hend Al-Mansour in a recent Arab News article:
1. Manal AlDowayan is a contemporary artist whose work includes black and white photography, sculpture, video, sound, neon, and large-scale participatory installations. Her artistic practice revolves around themes of active forgetting, archives, and collective memory. Some of her well-known projects include “If I Forget You Don't Forget Me,” which looks at social groups like the oil men and women of Saudi Arabia.
Sarah Abu Abdallah
2. Sarah Abu Abdallah holds a master’s degree in Digital Media from Rhode Island School of Design in the United States. She has shown her work across the globe, most recently in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, the BAM Film Festival, and the Serpentine Galleries 89 plus Marathon, London. In 2013, she featured in the Sharjah Biennial, the Venice Biennial, and Global Art Forum 7’s fellowship program in Art Dubai.
Art by Nouf Alhimiary
3. Nouf Alhimiary is a young, emerging artist whose practice centers around vintage media and antique cameras. Based in Jeddah, she is currently completing English Literature studies at Effat University. In 2012, she was awarded the Most Creative Youth Art Prize for her work “The Sacrifice,” which was later displayed as part of the British Museum exhibition “Hajj: A Journey To The Heart of Islam.” Alhimiary also writes about art for Arab News.