Islamic Arts Biennale to Launch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2023
The event comes hot on the heels of Saudi Arabia's inaugural Diriyah Biennale, which opened in December 2021.
Zahra Al Ghamdi, Birth of a Place (2021). Exhibition view: Feeling the Stones, Diriyah Biennale, Riyadh (11 December 2021–11 March 2022). Courtesy Canvas and Diriyah Biennale Foundation.
Barely a month after the Diriyah Biennale wrapped its inaugural edition, the event's organisers have announced the launch of another Saudi biennial. The Islamic Arts Biennale will take place in the port city of Jeddah in early 2023.
'Our Islamic Arts edition will once again work with leading practitioners and curators to present a contextual display of artworks and installations curated thematically,' said Aya Al-Bakree, CEO of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, in a statement.
The new event will be curated by archaeologist Dr Saad Alrashed, architects Dr Omniya Abdel Barr and Sumayya Vally, and Dr Julian Raby, Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art.
With the introduction of the Islamic Arts Biennale, the Diriyah Biennale Foundation will host a new biennale every year, alternating between the contemporary art event in Diriyah and the Islamic arts event in Jeddah.
'A soft power logic infuses the Diriyah Biennale,' Stephanie Bailey wrote in a feature story for Ocula Magazine in January. She said the event drew connections between 'the decades defining China's economic miracle in the late-20th century, and Saudi Arabia's 21st-century future outlined in the ambitious economic and social reform programme Vision 2030.'
Instead of looking abroad to inform Saudi Arabia's future, the Islamic Arts Biennale aims to bring viewers up to speed on Islamic art's past.
'It will enable broad audiences to experience and learn about Islamic civilisations and their ongoing legacies within the arena of arts,' Al-Bakree said. —[O]