6 incredible things to do at AlUla Arts Festival 2023

The iconic arts festival is returning this weekend… 

AlUla’s iconic arts festival is back, from February 16 to February 28, and from what we know so far, it’s set to be even bigger than the last. The unique festival celebrates all forms of art with workshops, talks, contemporary art, and large-scale installations throughout the landscape.

Despite having over 200,000 years of unexplored history to experience, the UNESCO World Heritage site, AlUla, is also transforming into a hub for art, culture, and entertainment. From carefully curated contemporary art at the award-winning Maraya to giant installations by local and international artists, art flourishes in AlUla – which is no surprise, as the place itself is a work of art.

Here are 6 exhibitions to catch at the upcoming AlUla Arts Festival: 

FAME by Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

The Andy Warhol exhibition will take place from February 17 to May 16, at the record-breaking Maraya arts centre. In collaboration with the Andy Warhol Museum, the theme of the exhibition is Fame: Andy Warhol and will feature 70 pieces from the American pop artist’s collection including renowned paintings of famous icons such as Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali, and Dolly Parton. In addition, there will be filmed portraits of 1960s counterculture figures, rarely seen archival photographs, and one of Warhol’s most mesmerising works to date: Silver Clouds, featuring a room full of floating silver balloons.

Maraya, AlUla, February 17 to May 16, experiencealula.com

AlUla Performing Arts Festival

The Incense Road will become a gathering spot where different cultures from all over the world meet as a mix of international and local artists animate the streets of AlJadidah. For 16 days straight, artists will perform a program offering an exciting overview of performing arts in all forms: acrobatic performances, buskers, musical groups, street theatre, storytelling, and more.

AlJadidah, February 17 to March 4. 7pm to 11pm. experiencealula.com

Art in the Landscape guided hike

With a spotlight on the inspiring desert landscapes of AlUla, guided hikes offer visitors a chance to traverse AlUla’s unique landscape through the lens of art. The Art in the Landscape guided hike will introduce audiences to the Wadi AlFann landscapes, which will be the site of art commissions by the likes of world-renowned artists James Turrell, Agnes Denes, and Michael Heizer and regional heroes Manal Al Dowayan and Ahmed Mater.

Wadi AlFann, experiencealula.com

Living in Colour art tours

Led by Hukat AlFann, the Living in Colour guided tours will take visitors through the community square in the arts district and oasis to see newly commissioned and temporary public art, including community artworks and murals by artist eL Seed, as well as the unique community hand-painted urban carpet in AlJadidah. The duration of the ticketed tour is 75 minutes, though visitors can also conduct a self-guided tour with the help of AlUla Art’s print and digital guides.

AlJadidah, experiencealula.com

Madrasat Addeera workshops

AlUla’s first arts and design centre, Madrasat Addeera, is a cornerstone of AlJadidah – AlUla’s bustling art and cultural district. Free weekly workshops are offered to visitors spanning all types of arts including silkscreen printing – the unique artistic style that made Andy Warhol famous. In these free, hands-on workshops, create handmade silkscreen printed artworks in the pop art style.

AlJadidah Craft Studio, experiencealula.com

Resonant Shell

A compelling and immersive installation has been commissioned by Arts AlUla for AlUla’s Oasis. The artwork, titled Resonant Shell by artists Nathalie Harb and Youmna Saba will provide a meditative experience as visitors enter an architectural structure that acoustically isolates external sounds, bringing to focus a sound work drawn from AlUla’s desert and geology. Located in the Oasis, the site-specific artwork takes the shape of a tower with mudbrick and fabric as its material.

AlUla Oasis, experiencealula.com

Images: Provided