Arts & Music, Exhibitions

Last Week in Art in Jeddah

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The first of February saw the opening night of the very first art exhibit under the umbrella of 21, 39 initiatives for launching the Jeddah Art Week. Cocooned in a makeshift art gallery in Gold Moor mall, the exhibit, operating within the comprehensive theme of safar, Arabic for ‘travel’, saw massive crowds and artwork of an even larger scale.


Last Week in Art

The first of February saw the opening night of the very first art exhibit under the umbrella of 21, 39 initiatives for launching the Jeddah Art Week. Cocooned in a makeshift art gallery in Gold Moor mall, the exhibit, operating within the comprehensive theme of safar, Arabic for ‘travel’, saw massive crowds and artwork of an even larger scale.F8BEC70E-CB4D-4394-884C-648C85FB7B74

The Rise of Contemporary

It was pretty significant to note the exhibit’s focus on the cornerstones of modern, simplistic art. Amongst the pieces displayed was a truly striking work by Zahra AlGhamdi, crafted on-site with earthly mediums such as cotton, sand, and water. The three-dimensional wall-borne work resembled a scrappy, vertical map of Al-Balad, Jeddah’s very own old-town.

Interestingly: the artwork embodied a love for contemporary art that was surprising in a culture famed for worshipping colour and tradition. Also: an interesting way to gauge the generational interest in contemporary art! (i.e. My uncle was not a fan.)96E24524-DAEF-43C8-976A-1655AF15CFB0

Safar as a Theme

Though the theme may come as a slight surprise due to the artwork’s creative manifestation of local culture, safar makes perfect sense when it comes to the exhibitions themselves. The curated work repeatedly capitalizes on the concepts of motion and connection, and, perhaps most significantly, the entire experience requires movement between five venues across Jeddah; spanning from the modernity of a shopping mall and KAEC (King Abdullah Economic City), to Jeddah’s historic quarter and a 1970’s royal palace.IMG_5823

Old and New

Beyond the juxtaposition of venues, the artwork presented in the exhibitions managed to fuse tradition and modernity seamlessly. Two pieces stood out to me: a collection of oil extraction devices coloured to resemble the sheen that pearls are famous for (referencing the old source of Gulf wealth vs. the current source), and a massive sculpture work simplifying and deconstructing Arabesque patterns.

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