Dhahran exhibition features 32 Saudi artists’ works interpreting the planet

Jasmine Bager

DHAHRAN: A new exhibition kicked off in Dhahran on Thursday with 32 Saudi artists showcasing their interpretation and connection to Earth using various mediums and styles.

Presented in collaboration with the Dammam Culture and Arts Association, a branch of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, Ithra’s “From Earth” exhibition focuses on each artist’s relationship with the natural heritage and varied landscape of Saudi Arabia.

The work incorporates multimedia, plastic artworks, installations, sculptures, serial artworks, photography and Arabic calligraphy.

Through a mix of invited artists and an open call by Ithra, participants submitted their artworks and a jury of experts made the selection.

The display is presented in a carefully curated labyrinth, down a long path from the entrance and into gallery two at the museum.

“The exhibition aims to depict a wide range of perspectives, to echo the tangible and intangible aspects of the artists’ experience, and to showcase the artists’ interactions with the Saudi environment — reflected through original and unique works of art,” a statement from Ithra reads.

Farah Abushullaih, head of museums at Ithra, told Arab News she was excited to have been introduced to so many emerging artists. It was a chance for anyone interested to join.

“This is the first exhibition of its kind in Ithra — the first time we have collaborated with a local entity to create an open call for artists who are emerging rather than more established.

“It’s a nice mix between the open call artists and a few commissioned artists who are top tier that we wanted to create the dialogue between the emerging and established artists,” she told Arab News.

“In terms of the order and the curation of this exhibition because of the variety of the theme, the curation and the flow of this exhibition is more open to the different things that we’re discussing in terms of getting ‘From Earth.’

“Each artist has a specific angle that they’re representing in terms of ‘From Earth’— what it means to them. There are artists that are using different materials that are from our land, audio visual artists who are creating audio visual installations related to the land. We also have artists who are depicting their feelings through paintings, and the different mediums throughout this exhibition,” she said.

Abushullaih said the quality and professionalism of the artists exceeded their expectations.

“Compared to what we’ve seen a few years before in terms of emerging artists, you can tell that they have done their homework. They’ve researched the topics extremely well. The quality of the production of the work is at a very high standard. And then thankfully, we had no problems whatsoever with the quality of installations,” she said.

Yousef Al-Harbi, the director of the Dammam Culture and Arts Association who partnered with Ithra on this exhibit, echoed Abushullaih’s sentiments.

He congratulated the artists who were in attendance on opening night and was impressed by their dedication and talent.

“The exhibition carries many concepts, symbols, and connotations that have influential and motivational aspects. Earth is the concept, idea and symbol, which artists choose to explore as it encourages them to passionately excel creatively, as well as pay tribute to their own roots to progress forward. The artists use Earth as an inspiration to promote a sense of belonging to the land and its details which are reflected within and which they carry wherever they go,” Al-Harbi said.

The exhibition plans to offer workshops, local meetups, masterclasses and lectures to expand dialogue and collaboration.

Visitors can enjoy the space between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. until Aug. 9.

Tickets start at SR35 ($9) and can be booked via the Ithra website or App. Tickets are free for those with the art and premium memberships.

Courtesy: arabnews