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All Critically Acclaimed Exhibitions Happening at AlUla Arts Festival

Some exhibits are ending as soon as March 23rd, whilst others will continue throughout the year.

Patrick Davies

All Critically Acclaimed Exhibitions Happening at AlUla Arts Festival

With this year’s AlUla Arts Festival already receiving critical acclaim across many of its exhibitions, time is running out to visit some of these showstopping showcases of Saudi and international modern and contemporary art. While many exhibitions stretch on throughout the year, deadlines for others are fast approaching.

“This year’s AlUla Arts Festival has been an incredible success on all fronts,” Nora Aldabal, Arts and Creative Planning Director at the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), tells SceneTraveller. “We’re thrilled with the way it has reached out and inspired the local and international communities.”

Ticket sales for this year’s edition of the festival have increased by 73% compared to last year, demonstrating the growing attraction of international aficionados who come to witness dynamic displays of artistic prowess. These exhibitions are showcased within several galleries or set directly amidst the breathtaking desert landscape of AlUla.

With that in mind, we've compiled a list of the top 10 exhibits you shouldn't miss, as some conclude as early as March 23rd while others extend throughout the year.

Desert X AlUla

Until March 23rd

As one of three flagship events at this year’s AlUla Arts Festival, ‘Desert X AlUla’ showcases contemporary artworks by Saudi and international artists against the backdrop of AlUla's expansive desert landscape. The exhibition features 16 artworks from various parts of the world, and the entire site is open for free access to all visitors.

Wadi Al Fann Presents Manal Al Dowayan

Until March 23rd

This year at Wadi Al Fann, two exhibitions feature new works by Manal Al Dowayan, one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent contemporary artists. The exhibition ‘Oasis of Stories’ offers visitors an opportunity to delve into over a thousand stories of community, while ‘Their Love Is Like All Loves, Their Death Is Like All Deaths’ reflects Al Dowayan’s continuous exploration of AlUla's communities, traditions, and narratives.

Ithra Art Prize ‘Palms in Eternal Embrace’ by Obaid Alsafi

Until March 23rd
 
Obaid Alsafi's ‘Palms in Eternal Embrace’ represents a poignant fusion of technology and nature, working in harmony to combat climate change. This artwork earned Alsafi the sixth Ithra Art Prize, which focused on ‘Art in the Landscape’. Through his emphasis on local materials and community engagement, the artist celebrates AlUla's natural heritage.

More than Meets the Eye

Until April 27th
 
The 'More than Meets the Eye' exhibition at Maraya presents the works of prominent artists from Saudi Arabian private collections, showcasing paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, and video projects spanning the past 25 years. This exhibition underscores the diversity and creativity within Saudi modern and contemporary art.

Hassan Hajjaj Exhibition

Until April 27th

In this outdoor exhibition, Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj presents a collection of portrait photos featuring the people of AlUla. The final works adopt a Pop Art style, celebrating and glorifying consumerist goods and labels while blending Western icons with symbols of Hajjaj’s North African heritage.

AlUla Design Residency Exhibition

Until April 30th

The 'Design Residency Exhibition' showcases the innovative creations and traditional craftsmanship of local artisans. It features cutting-edge designs and prototypes combined with time-tested techniques, offering a glimpse into the seamless blend of tradition and modernity within AlUla's breathtaking natural setting.

Artist Residency Visual Arts

Until April 30th

In addition to the Design Residency, the visual arts residency is also showcasing artworks from six artists across various mediums. These artists represent diverse backgrounds and nationalities, each offering their unique perspective through photography, installation, poetry, film, and more. Immersed in AlUla during their residencies, they have translated their inspiration into their chosen disciplines, resulting in a compelling display of creativity and cultural exchange.

ATHR Gallery Exhibition

All Year

Since its establishment in Jeddah in 2009, ATHR has been instrumental in nurturing Saudi Arabia’s art scene by supporting both emerging and established artists from the Kingdom and the wider Arab region. With new exhibitions introduced every two months, ATHR continues its commitment to fostering artistic talent and promoting cultural exchange.

Madrasat Addeera Workshops

All Year

Madrasat Addeera stands as AlUla's inaugural Arts and Design Centre, serving as a vibrant hub within the bustling AlJadidah Arts District. It hosts weekly workshops open to both the local community and visitors, focusing on a variety of traditional handicrafts. These workshops are conducted by the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, established by King Charles III in 2006, with the mission of revitalising traditional crafts to bolster local economies.

Daimumah Workshops

All Year
 
Workshops at Daimumah offer a unique blend of nature, heritage, and art within AlUla's agricultural heartland. This lush oasis setting has been artfully transformed into a cultural and artistic hub, fostering connections and creativity between visitors and the local community.

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