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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