Curtain Call for Noor Riyadh’s Citywide Installations as Exhibition Continues to Enthrall

Noor Riyadh leaves a lasting legacy on the city of Riyadh through light, art and community engagement.

Today marks the end of the citywide installations as the success of Noor Riyadh’s inaugural edition with more than 300,000 visitors is celebrated.

April 3, 2021 Riyadh – Saudi Arabia: As the citywide installations of Noor Riyadh, one of the world’s most exciting festivals of light and art, come to a close, residents are celebrating the inaugural festival’s positive impact on the city and its community with more than 300,000 people having enjoyed the event to date.

Since opening on March 18, Noor Riyadh’s 2021 theme of – ‘Under One Sky’ – has united more than 60 artists from over 20 countries, as well as residents of Riyadh, domestic tourists and international visitors, showing the power of inclusivity and shared humanity through art, all across the festival’s 13 locations in Riyadh.ali-alruzaiza_tribute-to-ali-alruzaiza_2021_video-projection_masmak-fort_2-copy

While the citywide installations provided over two weeks of fascinating light art for all to enjoy, the excitement has not yet concluded, with the exhibition ‘Light Upon Light: Light Art since the 1960s’, remaining open until June 12, at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD).

Speaking on the conclusion of the citywide installations, Director of Riyadh Art, Khaled Al-Hazani, said: “Noor Riyadh has united local and global communities through an immersive program specially designed to inspire and delight. Art has the power to transcend boundaries and nurture a universal dialogue, and the festival has successfully provided a platform which is accessible to all. As the festival continues through the exhibition ‘Light Upon Light: Light art since the 1960s’, we look forward to continuing to engage our united community, and to developing this further through the other upcoming programs under the umbrella of Riyadh Art.”karolina-halatek_beacon_2021_mixed-media-_photo-by-karolina-halatek

Despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival has thrived through special activities, both in-person and online, to maximize participation and community engagement through safe, creative, personal and immersive experiences. Noor Riyadh has offered residents and non-residents of Riyadh the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of inspiring talks, tours, musical and cinematic performances, workshops, and family activities. Through the light art exhibition at KAFD, visitors can continue to enjoy workshops and tours until mid-June, with prebooking mandatory.

Advisor of brand and marketing to the Royal Commission for Riyadh City Hosam Al-Qurashi said: “This festival is a magnificent opportunity to bring together a global community to enrich the art and culture sector in Riyadh. The positive reaction of international and local visitors alike, as they experience the artworks created by all the artists of Noor Riyadh, is very inspiring. Noor Riyadh is a groundbreaking phenomenon in the cultural development of the city, and I look forward to witnessing the public’s ever-growing affinity with both the festival and its artists.”ali-alruzaiza_tribute-to-ali-alruzaiza_2021_video-projection_dimensions-variable_masmak-fort

As well as providing awe-inspiring light art installations and a diverse program of special activities, the festival offered the opportunity for over 200 volunteers to enter the creative industries and gain professional experience. The project prioritized direct engagement with the community, and those that participated had the unique chance to be part of the positive changes within the arts and culture field in Riyadh.

Instrumental to the success of this debut edition of Noor Riyadh were its partners: General Entertainment Authority, Riyadh Municipality, Diriyah Gate Development Authority, King Abdullah Financial District, King Fahad National Library, Riyadh Front, Kingdom Tower, Digital City, JAX District. 100% of Noor Riyadh’s ticket revenue, over SAR 300,000 to date, will go to two nominated charities: Kafeef, which supports the visually impaired and their families, and Saudi Autistic Society. 

Noor Riyadh executive director, Miguel Blanco-Carrasco commented: “Noor Riyadh successfully united local citizens and international visitors alike through the power of light and art and we thank our partners for their support in making this possible. The impact the festival has had on the community has been incredible, and I am certain the experience will leave a lasting impression. With such a breadth of special events, it really was, and will continue to be, a festival for everybody to enjoy.”

Noor Riyadh is the first initiative of Riyadh Art, a project comprising of more than 1,000 public art installations across Riyadh city and supported by one annual festival and one international sculpture symposium. The groundbreaking festival moves Riyadh one step closer towards the Vision 2030 goal of establishing the city as one of the world’s most livable.


Noor Riyadh: Annual Festival of Light & Art Illuminates Riyadh ‘Under One Sky’ from March 18, 2021


Over 60 artists participating from more than 20 countries with almost 40% from Saudi Arabia.

Light Upon Light: Light Art since the 1960s exhibition is the largest ever retrospective of light art


March 04, 2021, Riyadh – Saudi Arabia: Noor Riyadh, a first of its kind annual festival of light and art, illuminates Riyadh ‘Under One Sky’ from March 18. Over 60 artists from more than 20 countries will be exhibited with close to 40% hailing from Saudi Arabia.

Noor Riyadh’s launch edition includes over 60 artworks comprising large scale public installations across Riyadh, a landmark exhibition Light Upon Light: Light Art since the 1960s, and a diverse program of special activities including tours, talks, workshops, family activities, film and music, many of which are available online to reach a wider audience.

The uplifting event is the first program of the Riyadh Art project to launch and is expected to leave a lasting legacy, inspiring creative expression and nurturing the city’s creative economy. Comprising of more than 1,000 public art installations across ten programs and supported by two annual festivals, Riyadh Art is one of the four major projects under the mandate of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City. His Highness Prince Badr bin Farhan Al-Saud, Royal Commission for Riyadh City Board Member and Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Riyadh Art project, states that the project comes to turn Riyadh into a gallery without walls, and to transform the capital into one of the world’s most livable, environmentally friendly and sustainable cities in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals.

Noor Riyadh honors Riyadh’s rich cultural heritage and areas of natural beauty through a carefully curated program, whilst creating a dialogue between tradition and modernity and the city’s past and future. The 2021 theme ‘Under One Sky’ reflects Saudi Arabia’s long-held tradition of international exchange at the crossroads of east and west with a program of both international and Saudi artists.

This inaugural edition unites many exciting names in light art, bringing to the city of Riyadh some of the biggest international and regional artists, while providing a transformative platform to an expanding roster of emerging local artists. Among the 63 participating artists are Saudi artists Ahmed Mater, Lulwah Al Homoud, Ayman Zedani, Rashed AlShashai and Maha Malluh, and international artists Daniel Buren, Carsten Höller, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Yayoi Kusama and Dan Flavin.111

Noor Riyadh’s 2021 theme, ‘Under One Sky’, is a catalyst for artists to create works that respond to inclusivity and shared humanity. It alludes to the universal human impulse to gather around light, to look into the flames of a campfire and to gaze at the stars. Whilst the theme in its English translation is instantly relatable to an international audience, the words in Arabic (تجمعنا سماء واحدة) literally mean ‘we gather under one sky.’ Encompassing all forms of light art, including sculptures, projections, interactive shows, kinetic and immersive pieces, Noor Riyadh brings outdoor citywide installations to the residents of Riyadh.

The citywide installations include more than 30 works of art across multiple locations with two main hubs, the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and the King Abdulaziz Historical Center (KAHC), and will illuminate the city from March 18 to April 3, 2021.

Light Upon Light: Light Art since the 1960s is a landmark retrospective exhibition of light art divided into four sectional “rays” that survey light as an artistic medium: “Perceiving Light,” “Experiencing Light,” “Projecting Light,” and “Environmental Light.” Each ray blends time and unites established artists of diverse geographic origin. This historic exhibition is a groundbreaking event for culture in Saudi Arabia and will showcase 30 works of art from March 18 until June 12, 2021 and will be held at the King Abduallah Financial District Conference Center.

With inclusivity and access to all at its core, much of Noor Riyadh’s program of activities is scheduled virtually and across the city to maximize participation and community engagement through creative, personal and immersive experiences. Talks, tours, workshops, performances and volunteering will provide young participants with increasing opportunities to enter the creative industry and gain professional experience.  A schedule of special activities with ticketing details to manage crowds under strict regulations to protect the health and safety of visitors can be found on Noor Riyadh’s website.

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