Jeddah open-air public museum (Photo: courtesy of JAW)
Returning for a second edition, the Jeddah Art Week (JAW) kicked off Saturday 1 February at Al Fursiya, and is scheduled to run for six days. The initiative intends to invigorate the local art scene in the city, and the kingdom at large, as well as place the Saudi contemporary art landscape in the global context.
This year, Jeddah Art Week is set to feature a rich line-up of events, including 12 exhibitions, a series of public performances, and an international conference discussing global visual culture. Sotheby's will also unveil a collection of works by Middle Eastern and international artists, including Damien Hirst.
"Oval With Points" by Henry Moore (Photo: courtesy of JAW)
Jeddah Art Week 2014 intends to "showcase Jeddah’s creative art and design culture, all the while increasing the city’s involvement with the international art community," reads the JAW press release.
In keeping with the JAW's vision to motivate audience viewership of public spaces in Jeddah from a different, more creative perspective, the opening event on 1 February saw Tunisian street artist eL Seed, alongside five local Saudi artists, paint a building in Jeddah's Old Town in the former’s trademark "calligraffiti" style.
Jeddah's open-air public museum was also unveiled on 1 February. The newly renovated museum on the city corniche features recently restored sculptures by celebrated artists including Henry Moore, Alexander Calder and Juan Miro.
Among the highlights of the week-long art extravaganza is a photography exhibition showcasing works by 15 Jeddah-based Filipino photographers "who wish to present the city as it has never been seen before," says the press release.
In an effort to place Saudi art in the spotlight, the JAW features an exhibition dubbed "Limited Edition," organised by Arabian Wings, a grassroots organisation and proponent of Arab visual arts which will showcase the works of 22 local artists.
One of the programme highlights is a large "border-crossing" collective exhibition dubbed Edition #1, showing more than 100 works on paper, some of which are by renowned contemporary artists Banksy and Anish Kapoor.
A very promising initiative is the JAW's one-day international conference, titled "Global Art and its Networks" which will be held at Dar Al Hekma, a leading female university in the city. Organised by Ibraaz (www.ibraaz.org), a prominent critical forum on the Middle East and North Africa, the conference will feature a series of lectures and panel discussions tackling the development of art in a historical context.
"JAW has certainly become a time of year where creative forces from all communities can collide, gather and share, and we very much look forward to welcoming all cross sections of society to celebrate Jeddah's vibrant art scene," says JAW founder Lina Lazaar.
More info on Jeddah Art Week here.