The inaugural event of ‘21,39’ Jeddah Arts signals a newfound presence for Contemporary art in the Kingdom. The event is comprised of exhibitions, educational workshops, artist studio visits, gallery openings and talks, all of which highlight the development of art in Saudi Arabia. Focusing on the history of the Kingdom’s Modern and Contemporary art movements, this first edition presents audiences in Saudi Arabia and the larger Middle East with the opportunity to further explore art at home.
‘21,39’ introduces two key group exhibitions curated by Hamza Serafi that honor Modern and Contemporary art in the Kingdom. The first is Moallaqat, which takes its the title from a collection of seven poems by the most renowned poets of pre-Islamic Arabia. It showcases a selection of works by Manal Al-Dowayan, Dania Al-Saleh, Nasser Al-Salem, Jowhara Al-Saud, Abdulaziz Ashour, Ayman Yossri Daydban, Mohammed Khatib, Maha Malluh, Ahmed Mater, Faisal Samra and Saddek Wasil. The works present and anthology of abstract and literal portrayals of the term “Moallaqat.”
“This exhibition demonstrates that while the world has changed dramatically since the time of the Moallaqat, there is nevertheless a way of life, modes of thought, and cultural foundations that have survived and that have been passed down from generation to generation along with the legend,” says Aya Alireza, Co-Curator for the exhibition.
The other exhibition is Past is Prologue (Al-Madi Kamukkadima) showcasing 24 works of Saudi Modern artists including Abdulhamid Al‐Baghshi, Kamal Al‐Moallem, Abduljabbar AlYahya, Safeya Binzagr and Abdulhalim Radwi. Through their works these artists present a glimpse into the history of 20th century art in the Kingdom. There abstract and real life portrayals reveal a largely unseen body of work since the 1950s to the present.
Commenting on the exhibition, Co-Curator Raneem Farsi says, “The time has come to dig deeper into the foundations and to question ‘when and how did all this start?’, for nothing comes from nothing. Past is Prologue is a tribute to the kingdom’s first generations’ artists, who are the trailblazers and foundation-builders.”
In conjunction with these exhibitions ’21, 39′ also presents a specially curated retrospective of pioneer female artist Safeya Binzagr. A symposium will be held on 6 February presenting a day of talks covering several topics about art in the local, regional and global context as well as the role of Saudi art as a major player in the art world.
For more information visit www.21-39.com