As the global spotlight on climate change continues to shine brighter, artists in Saudi Arabia aim to tackle the ongoing environmental crisis and increase dialogues on sustainability in the Middle East through 21,39 Jeddah Arts, an almost three-month-long contemporary art festival featuring gallery exhibitions, workshops, and panel discussions with many of the region’s leading creatives.
Organized by the Saudi Arts Council with support from the Ministry of Culture, the seventh edition of the event titled “I Love You, Urgently” encourages artists, architects, and designers from the Arab world to engage in conversations on pressing climate concerns to provide a local context on an international issue and explore tangible solutions for a sustainable future in more creative outlets instead of the traditional “scientific vernacular,” stated the Saudi Arts Council in an official release.
Highlighting the personal nature of each individual’s experience with the global “environmental emergency,” the 21—largely local—creators participating will share their artistic interpretations of the crisis, from Islamic painting techniques and calligraphic installations to ethically-made clothing and digital print collages.
“I have long been delighted and fascinated with the concepts and positive attitude of biomimicry, as well as with the notion that, by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies, we already have the solutions to a sustainable future,” said curator Maya El Khalil. “I hope 21,39 Jeddah Arts 2020 is a catalyst for new ways of thinking about how we live.”
Named for the geographic coordinates of the Saudi city, the annual 21,39 Jeddah Arts program nurtures the burgeoning contemporary art scene and promotes the Kingdom’s unique culture in various locations across the city.
“As a culturally rich melting pot, Jeddah is a place of exchange for new ideas, and we look forward to presenting a multifaceted program that we hope will be the springboard for dialogue between local and international artists and audiences, and which will give voice to young people through an extensive educational outreach program,” said HRH Princess Jawaher bint Majed bin Abdulaziz, Chairwoman of the Saudi Art Council.
In a country that is undergoing an extreme transformation with the opening of its long-closed borders to foreign tourism and the implementation of the Saudi Vision 2030 initiatives, the Kingdom is well on its way to becoming a hub for a cultural exchange of ideas.
“I Love You, Urgently” will run from January 28 until April 19 at Gold Moor Mall and Rabat Al Khunji in Jeddah.