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Sumayya Vally

Curators announced for first-ever Islamic Arts Biennale

DIRIYAH, April 14, 2022

The Diriyah Biennale Foundation has announced the curators for the inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale, the first event of its kind which will showcase the art and creativity of Islamic culture and will take place in Jeddah in early 2023.
 
The distinguished international curatorial team will oversee the Islamic Arts Biennale: Dr Saad Alrashed, leading Saudi scholar and archaeologist; Dr Omniya Abdel Barr, Barakat Trust Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum; Dr Julian Raby, Director Emeritus of the National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC and Sumayya Vally, co-founder of the experimental architecture and research firm, Counterspace.
 
The Biennale will champion innovation while supporting continuing traditions and encouraging the preservation of skills. It will explore spirituality in the aesthetic realm and celebrate both shared heritage around the globe and diversity of artistic expressions and forms. By inviting artists from around the world, it will provide new dialogues and insights.
 
A gateway to the two holiest cities
The location of the first Islamic Arts Biennale, originally planned for Riyadh, will now be the city of Jeddah with its historic and continuing significance as a gateway to the two holiest cities to Muslims across the world, Mecca (officially Makkah Al-Mukarrama) and Medina (officially Al-Madinah Al-Munawwara). The wealth of historical sites such as Bab Makkah, combined with the diversity of the city’s cultural heritage, complement the Biennale’s objective to interlink past, present, and future.
 
Prince Badr bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Culture of Saudi Arabia, noted: “Cultural and artistic exchange are essential in this period of unprecedented growth and development in the creative community in Saudi Arabia. The Diriyah Biennale Foundation is at the forefront of this cultural awakening and flourishing art scene. Our contemporary edition closed in March after attracting critical acclaim, and the Islamic Arts Biennale represents our next chapter.”
 
Aya Al-Bakree, CEO of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, said: “It is a great honour to announce our Islamic Arts Biennale, the first of its kind. It follows another historic moment, when the Diriyah Biennale Foundation presented Saudi Arabia’s highly praised first contemporary art biennale under the title “Feeling the Stones”. 
 
Contextual display of artworks
“Our Islamic Arts edition will once again work with leading practitioners and curators to present a contextual display of artworks and installations curated thematically. It will enable broad audiences to experience and learn about Islamic civilisations and their ongoing legacies within the arena of arts.”
 
In December 2021 the Diriyah Biennale Foundation successfully launched Saudi Arabia’s first contemporary art biennale in the JAX district of Diriyah. The Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale was one of Saudi Arabia’s largest and most significant international displays of contemporary art, a platform for global dialogue and exchange featuring more than 60 acclaimed artists from Saudi Arabia and around the world.
 
The mission of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation in establishing the first Islamic Arts Biennale is to celebrate and enrich the cultural and artistic exchange between Saudi Arabia, as the birthplace of Islam, and communities around the world.
 
The Foundation will host a biennale every year, alternating between the Contemporary Art Biennale and the Islamic Arts Biennale.-- TradeArabia News Service  
 



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