Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale will open to public in Riyadh’s JAX district from Dec. 11

September 14, 2021

Saudi Gazette report

In just under 100 days, the Diriyah Biennale Foundation (DBF) will present Saudi Arabia’s first contemporary art biennale, to be held from Dec. 11, 2021 through March 11, 2022 in the JAX district of Diriyah, just outside of Riyadh. Diriyah is home to a UNESCO world heritage-listed site, At-Turaif, which was the first capital of the Saudi dynasty, founded in the 15th century.

Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale will be the Kingdom’s first international contemporary art biennale, providing a platform for discovery and connection to Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning cultural scene and creative communities.

Developed by a team of international curators led by Philip Tinari (director and chief executive of UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, China) the Biennale will unfold in six sections, with works from nearly seventy national and international artists examining the theme “Feeling the Stones” and engaging visitors in a dialogue around contemporary art.

The Biennale’s location in the area of Diriyah, in the repurposed development of JAX, represents not only a cultural center with a rich exhibitions program, but also a permanent site of dialogue and exchange, welcoming all visitors from the Kingdom and around the world to engage and learn through interactive art experiences.

Minister of Culture Prince Badr Bin Farhan Al-Saud noted, “Cultural and artistic exchange are essential in this period of unprecedented growth and development in the creative community in Saudi Arabia. The Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale is at the forefront of this cultural awakening and flourishing art scene.”

Established in 2020 with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Diriyah Biennale Foundation assumes a critical role in nurturing creative expression and instilling appreciation for culture, the arts, and their transformative power. The Foundation will organize two of Saudi Arabia's first-ever art biennales, this year’s Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale and a second biennale in 2022, which will be focused on Islamic arts.

Commenting on the key role the Diriyah Biennale Foundation (DBF) is playing as a mediator between the Saudi art world and the international cultural community, Aya Al-Bakree, CEO of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, said, “The Foundation’s Biennale is the first contemporary art biennale organized, conceived and hosted in Saudi Arabia. We could not be prouder to provide the platform for this historic moment in the evolution and growth in the arts and culture landscape of Saudi Arabia.

“The Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale is emblematic of our commitment to showcasing the array of local talent in Saudi Arabia, in dialogue with leading artists from around the world. The Biennale will drive cultural exchange, promote dialogue and understanding, and further establish the Saudi Arabian artistic community as an important cultural voice.”

JAX is being repurposed to create a custom-made art space to serve as the home to the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale and present immersive contemporary art exhibitions, offering an interactive experience for all visitors. As part of this interactivity the Biennale has developed a rich program of talks, events and activities for all generations.

September 14, 2021
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