Desert X AlUla Unveils Artists for Second Edition
Alicja Kwade and Claudia Comte are among the 15 artists who will show in Saudi Arabia next month.
Rashed AlShashai, A Concise Passage (2020), installation view at Desert X AlUla. Photo Lance Gerber. Courtesy the artist and Desert X AlUla.
Desert X AlUla has announced the artists who will show monumental-scale work when the exhibition returns to the ancient city, 1,100 km from Riyadh, from 11 February to 30 March.
Works being developed for the event include tapestries made of yellow kufuor gallons—plastic containers used in Ghana to store water—by Serge Attukwei Clottey, coral-like forms with temperature-sensitive surfaces by Shezad Dawood, and a camel-skin sculpture by Zeinab AlHashemi.
The artists, all of whom have spent time in AlUla, were asked to explore ideas surrounding oases and illusions under the theme 'Sarab', Arabic for mirage.
'The oasis pertains to ideas of finding prosperity or heaven, while the mirage is a universal symbol of the mysteries of imagination and reality,' said Reem Fadda, who is curating this year's event alongside Desert X director Neville Wakefield, and Raneem Farsi, co-founder of AR Art Advisory.
'They also connote the incomprehensible beauty and abundance of nature in its most bereft state–the desert–and humans' obsessive desire to capture and control it,' she said.
Five of this year's artists are from Saudi Arabia.
'Having worked for many years on the development and representation of the Saudi art scene, I can see that today Saudi artists are getting more attention and opportunities than ever before, both locally and internationally,' said Raneem Farsi, the event's co-artistic director.
The second edition will take place at a new site, a valley where visitors encounter works between towering rock formations.
Desert X AlUla is a collaboration between Desert X, the biennial outdoor sculpture exhibition founded in California's Coachella Valley in 2017, and the Saudi government's Royal Commission for AlUla. While the event is free and claims to be open to all, it has its critics.
Three of Desert X's board members, including artist Ed Ruscha, resigned when the partnership was announced due to the Saudi regime's human rights record. According to the most recent report on Saudi Arabia by Human Rights Watch, repression of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly intensified, grossly unfair trials continued, and the death penalty was used for a wide range of crimes.
The full list of participating artists follows below. —[O]
Artists Participating in Desert X AlUla 2022
Shadia Alem, b. Saudi Arabia, based in Paris.
Dana Awartani, b. 1987, Saudi Arabia, based in Jeddah.
Serge Attukwei Clottey, b. 1985, Ghana, based in Accra.
Claudia Comte, b. 1983, Switzerland, based in Basel.
Shezad Dawood, b. 1974, United Kingdom, based in London.
Jim Denevan, b. 1961, United States, based in Santa Cruz.
Stephanie Deumer, b. 1989, Canada, based in Los Angeles.
Sultan Bin Fahad, b. 1971, Saudi Arabia, based in Los Angeles.
Zeinab AlHashemi, b. 1985, United Arab Emirates, based in Dubai.
Alicja Kwade, b. 1979, Poland, based in Berlin.
Shaikha AlMazrou, b. 1988, United Arab Emirates, based in Dubai.
Abdullah AlOthman, b. 1985, Saudi Arabia, based in Riyadh.
Khalil Rabah, b. 1961, Palestine, based in Ramallah.
Monika Sosnowska, b. 1972, Poland, based in Warsaw.
Ayman Zedani, b. 1984, Saudi Arabia, based in Riyadh.