5 Saudi Art Spaces To Know

BY Ayesha Sohail Shehmir Shaikh / Oct 8 2019 / 17:04 PM

As the Kingdom faces a wave of political change, the art scene is also hauled in a new direction with budding artists and pioneering galleries rapidly on the rise. Here are the ones nurturing creativity and intercultural exchange more than ever...

5 Saudi Art Spaces To Know

Edge of Arabia, Saudi/London


It began with a small group of artists hanging out in the KSA mountains of Aseer. British artist Stepehen Stapleton and Saudi artists Ahmed Mater and Abdulnasser Gharem's unlikely friendship flourished into a non-proft space called Edge of Arabia, an internationally renowned platform encouraging exchange between the Middle East and the rest of the world through free exhibitions and public programming for contemporary Arab art and culture. Since launching in 2003, the space has hosted over 1.5million visitors.

Visit edgeofarabia.com to find out more. 

Farah Salem, 'The Dove' (2015). Performance photography

Ithra, Dharan


Comprising a cinema, library and a museum (for children too), Ithra is a cultural hub housed in the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture that is a first of its kind in the region. The architectural marvel was developed by Saudi Aramco and inaugurated by King Salman bin Abdulaziz in 2017. 

Visit ithra.com to find out more.

Maha Malluh, 'Oil Candies' (2019). Compressed oil barrels. Variable dimensions

Athr Gallery, Jeddah


A multidisciplinary space for established and budding artists, Athr serves to nurture dialogue between contemporary artists around the world with a focus on the Middle Eastern ones. Until 5 October, it is showcasing The Silence is Still Talking, a solo exhibition by Riyadh-based artist Muhannad Shono. Curated by Rahul Gudipudi, the evocative new works explore ancient mythologies, questioning the narratives which shape our everyday realities. 

Visit athrart.com to find out more.

Aya Haidar, 'I love you as much as the power cuts daily' (2019). Neon light installation. 36x150 cm

Gharem Studio, Riyadh


Hidden on an ordinary street in Riyadh, non-profit organisation Gharem Studio is a space for young Saudi artists to collaborate, learn and express themselves. Founded by one of the biggest names in the Kingdom's art world, 46-year-old Abdulnasser Gharem, it is a home for filmmakers, visual artists, dancers, musicians, photographers and writers to share their ideas and produce organic work freely without the influence of society. Featured are works by Ajlan Gharem, Naif Shaqqaf and Shaweesh, to name a few.

Visit gharemstudio.com to find out more.

Ajlan Gharem, 'Paradise Has Many Gates' (2016). Plexiglass, aluminium, rolled steel. paint, electric lights

Hafez Gallery, Jeddah


Founded in 2014 by Qaswara Hafez, this gallery sparks dialogue between Middle Eastern and international artists through modern and contemporary art with a focus on the positive change the works contribute to society. It was one of the few Saudi-based galleries to participate at the 12th edition of Art Dubai, exhibiting works entitled The Seventh Day (2019) by Egyptian artist Ibrahim El Dessouki and Creation (1989) by Abdulhalim Radwi - one of the most respected artists in the kingdom.

Visit hafezgallery.com to find out more.

Ali Cha'aban, '12PM Class (Critical Thinker)' (2019). Persian rug

From Harper's Bazaar Arabia's October Issue