This year’s 21,39 Jeddah Arts explores facets of places you love

The ninth edition of 21,39 Jeddah Arts, titled “Amakin,” is showcased at the Saudi Art Council until June 3…

21,39 Jeddah Arts opening

The Saudi Art Council (SAC) has launched its ninth edition of the 21,39 Jeddah Arts exhibition, taking visitors on a new adventure into “Amakin”.

The new exhibition, curated by art historian Venetia Porter, displays works by 27 local and international artists. Inspired by a line from a song by popular Saudi singer Mohammed Abdu – “al-amakin kullaha mushtaqah lak”, which translates to “all the places long for you”, it urges participating artists to take visitors into their makan, or a place they love, be it real or based on their imagination.

Taysir Batniji

On view until June 3 at the SAC headquarters at Gold Moor, works on display in “Amakin” include neon works, paintings, artists’ books, sculptures, photography, poetry and film.

The spotlight

Walking into the “Amakin” exhibition, visitors will be greeted by a neon sign created by Abdullah Al-Othman that reads ‘The Bride of the Red Sea’. Inside are works by renowned Saudi artist Safeya Binzagr and the late Abdulhalim Radwi, known for his monumental sculptures on the Jeddah Corniche. Jeddah-native, 82-year-old Safeya is the only artist in the country to have her own museum.

Abdulhalim Radwi

Other exhibits include a film set in Jeddah by Mohammed Hammad, photographs evoking al-Balad by Emy Kat and Reem Al Faisal, as well as textiles highlighting the heterogeneous nature of the city by Bashaer Hawsawi.

Bashaer Hawsawi & Catalina Swinburn

Then, taking visitors to eastern Saudi Arabia is a series of photos by Bader Awwad AlBalawi, who documents the changing nature of North Khobar, and Talib Almarri’s photographs of the dreamy Al-Asfar Lake.

Talib Almarri

Ancient Arabia is highlighted through the Mu’allaqat, the famous poems reputed to have hung on the walls of the Ka’aba at Makkah. They were also the inspiration for the first 21,39 Jeddah Arts, in a painting by Dia al-Azzawi.

Dia al-Azzawi & Safeya

Fascinated by the process of drawing and printing? Visitors will appreciate Badr Ali’s printmaking techniques, Sara Abdu’s abstract works painted with henna, and the contemporary stories as told by Imran Qureshi, using traditional techniques of the Mughal painters.

In the final work in the exhibition, Aisha Khalid from Makkah displays richly embroidered textiles recalling the Kiswah, the fabrics that cover the Ka’aba.

Shadia Alem

The “Amakin” exhibition will also be hosted by Ithra in Dhahran from June 30 to September 30.

The name 21, 39 Jeddah Arts is derived from the geographic coordinates of the city (21.5433°N, 39.1728°E ) and is a non-profit initiative by the Saudi Arts Council.

21,39 Jeddah Arts, Saudi Art Council, Gold Moor, Gate 2, Al Zahra District, 7216 Ahmad Al Attas St, Jeddah 23425, Mon to Thurs 2pm to 10pm, Fri 5pm to 10pm & Sat 10am to 10pm. Until June 3. @sacsaudi

Images: Provided