First Desert x Al Ula festival announces participating artists
After first launching in the Coachella valley in 2017, the Desert X festival is now expanding to Saudi Arabia.
The upcoming exhibition – which will be curated by Desert X Artistic Director Neville Wakefield – will also feature Saudi curators Raneem Farsi and Aya Alireza. It will feature 14 large scale artworks, which will be installed among the ancient rock formations in the Saudi Arabian desert.
Artists include Danish collective Superflex, Wael Shawky, eL Seed and Gisela Colon, as well as Saudi Arabian artists Manal AlDowayan, Zahrah AlGambi and Nasser Al Saleem.
The artists have been asked to create never-before-seen site-specific artworks that “respond to different desert cultures and environmental conditions, and to the historical context of Al Ula, to connect desert communities and cultures through contemporary art.”
A few exhibits have already been talked about, including Lita Albuquerque’s NAJMA, which invokes a female astronaut landing on Earth to spread light and information, as well as Rayyane Tabet’s ‘The Shortest Distance Between Two Points series,’ including huge streel rings meant to reference the TransArabian Pipeline.
First announced in October, the festival was met with criticism by some inside the art world, over the show’s connection to the Royal Commission of Al Ula, a government agency chaired by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Desert X Al Ula will be held from January 31 to March 7, in the Al Ula desert of northwest Saudi Arabia. Head to the official site to know more.