This new exhibition will bring together works of Saudi and international artists that explore notions of identity within contemporary art…

Misk Art Institute (MAI), the leading non-profit cultural institution dedicated to empowering a thriving creative community in Saudi Arabia, presents its newest exhibition titled ‘Here, Now’.

The show will run from 3 October 2021 to 15 January 2022 at Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Arts Hall in Riyadh and online via MAI’s website.

Curated by British critic and writer Sacha Craddock, together with MAI’s assistant curators Alia Ahmad Al Saud and Nora Algosaibi, the multimedia contemporary art exhibition tackles the theme of identity. It explores notions of the self in relation to location and society.

Virtual tours (in English and Arabic) of ‘Here, Now’ will be available online via the MAI’s website alongside additional programming, including workshops for adults and children.

The exhibition will coincide with the Institute’s flagship event Misk Art Week from 1 to 5 December 2021. Fostering dialogue and a creative community, the week-long initiative will be accompanied by a series of public events, ranging from talks to workshops.

‘Here, Now’ highlights

Filwa Nazer, Manal AlDowayan, Sami Ali AlHossein, and Yousef Jaha are amongst the featured Saudi artists. Participating international artists include Piyarat Piyapongwiwat (Thailand); Salah ElMur (Sudan); Sheila Hicks (USA); Vasudevan Akkitham (India); and Young In Hong (South Korea).

The variety of media on show includes paintings, textiles, sculptures, immersive installations, and digital works.

From Young In Hong’s embroidered flowers that counter the transience of the floral to Sami Ali AlHossein’s paintings that depict personal memory as a landscape and visual space – all showcased artists examine the space between the personal and the public, between the outside of perception and the inside of intention.

“I hope that the exceptionally fluid and open process that brought ‘Here, Now’ together is mirrored by the experience of the audience. Layers of curatorial knowledge and familiarity, on my part, have merged with totally new influences, innovations and traditions to produce a sense of perpetual discovery for all,” said Craddock.

Here’s a peek at a few of the artworks exhibited…

I Am Here by Manal AlDowayan

This large-scale piece comes with guidelines for viewers to participate in the work. They are invited to affirm their presence at the exhibition using paint and stencils by recreating the artwork’s title on a gallery wall.

Durational in nature, the superimposed painted affirmations eventually disappear in a visual commentary on the delicate relationship between the individual and the collective. AlDowayan’s works explore the relationship between seemingly opposite notions, such as the traditional and contemporary or local community and the globalised world.

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Tree House by Ayman Yossri Daydban

Through the interactive maze-like stacked sculptures, the Saudi-Palestinian artist deconstructs archetypal narratives related to cultural heritage and identity, as well as the region’s historical relation to Western colonial powers.

Le Palmier by Sheila Hicks

American contemporary artist Sheila Hicks presents a large-scale woven installation originally conceived in Riyadh’s King Saud University, where Hicks set up an art programme in the 1980s. Lying on the ground, looking up at a palm tree and seeing a mass of leaves span out to define a circular series of routes became the basis of her piece, Le Palmier.

‘Here, Now’ will run from 3 October 2021 to 15 January 2022 at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Arts Hall in Riyadh and online on Misk Art Institute’s website.

Images: Provided / Social Media