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“Reframe Saudi,” a Virtual Experience and Exhibition, Premieres in New York

This month, New Yorkers got the rare chance to dive into Saudi Arabia without having to leave their city, thanks to “Reframe Saudi,” a 15-minute 10,000-kilometer journey made possible with the help of virtual reality (VR) headsets.

In a gallery on New York’s renowned Park Avenue, visitors were able to explore the Kingdom through the documentary directed and written by Matteo Lonardi. The event also had a panel discussion on VR and Contemporary Art, moderated by Marisa Mazria Katz with director Lonardi, World VR Forum Director, Salar Sahna, and Saudi Artist Ahaad Alamoudi.

Saudi Arabia today has entered a new phase in its advancement, socially and economically, under the diligent leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. This film touches on this new and exciting journey, by showing the perspectives of a new generation of contemporary artists, transporting the viewer to the studios of artists between the cities of Jeddah, Abha, and Riyadh.

According to the Misk Art Institute website, “Reframe Saudi” aims at taking audiences through an immersive experience, into an “exhibition of works by featured artists, becoming witness to the vivid profusion of cultural narratives shaping life in the changing Kingdom. The exhibition includes an immersive Virtual Reality installation, a curated display of portrait photographs and artworks and a behind the scenes film.”


Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Lonardi said, “I always talk about contemporary issues in society through artists specifically through VR. I have done something similar for Tehran. I worked with many artists especially Ahmed Mater who watched Reframe Tehran. I pitched the idea to him and Stephen Stapleton, and they really wanted to do it. It took us two years to do it.”

The film’s executive producers are Ahmed Mater and Stephen Stapleton, nd it features nine artists: Dana Awartani, Ahmad Angawi, Rashed Al Shashai, Ajlan Gharem, Jameela Mater, Ahaad Alamoudi, Fatima Jaber, Ali Mogawi, Ayman Yossri Daydban, and Latifa Algosaibi.

The Misk Art Institute organized the New York edition of “Reframe Saudi” in collaboration with CULTURUNNERS, the World VR Forum, and Phillips. Part of the Misk Foundation, which is the non-profit foundation established by the Crown Prince to empower the Kingdom’s youth, the Misk Art Institute is working on turning the Kingdom into a hub for grassroots cultural creativity, diplomacy, and global exchanges.

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