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Alicia Keys Concert to Art Exhibitions: Everything Happening in AlUla, Saudi Arabia This Weekend

Alicia Keys. Photo: Courtesy of AlUla Moments

There’s a lot to look forward to in AlUla this week as its festive season, AlUla Moments, gets into full swing with a host of events. From an Alicia Keys concert, and the much-loved art exhibition Desert X AlUla, to the first major polo tournament in the desert, there’s something for everyone to join in on.

Read on for everything festival-goers can expect this weekend.

Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo 2022

The Royal Commission for AlUla has joined forces with the Saudi Polo Federation to bring the first major polo tournament to the desert, which will also be streamed on AlUla Moments’ YouTube channel. Taking place at a specially built equestrian center on February 11 and 12, the event will see four teams compete in the desert arena that lies close to the ancient site of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first Unesco World Heritage Site. Participants will be a mix of invited patrons and professional players from around the world and Saudi’s polo community.

Desert X AlUla 2022

The highly-anticipated art exhibition will return for its second edition after its inaugural one in 2020 on February 11 and will run until March 30, 2022, with free entry. Under the theme of Sarab, meaning mirage in Arabic, the immersive exhibition will feature commissioned works by 15 Saudi and international artists in dialogue with the nature and culture of AlUla.

What Lies Within: Works from the Basma AlSulaiman Collection

What Lies Within is a series of exhibitions in AlUla celebrating the legacy of Saudi’s pioneering collectors who have influenced the country’s relationship with the arts. For its first edition, it will bring together works from the past two decades by some of the most significant artists of Saudi Arabia and its diaspora from the private collection of Saudi patron and collector Basma AlSulaiman. Curated by Lulwah Al Homoud, the exhibition will run from February 11 to March 20, 2022.

Cortona on the Move: Past Forward – Time, Life and Longing

19 photographers from Saudi and around the world will showcase their innovative work at this exhibition from February 9 to March 31, 2022. As part of the AlUla Arts festival, the exhibition is taking place in collaboration with Italy’s Cortona On The Move, the acclaimed Italian festival of documentary photography, to curate a special site-responsive experience in AlUla’s new AlJadidah village.

Alicia Keys in Concert at Maraya

Maraya, the world’s largest mirrored building, will host Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys a special “One Night Only” performance on February 11. The intimate concert will see the artist sing some of her hit tracks and new releases from the album Keys. While the concert is sold out, fans will be able to watch it live for free on the Mbc1 TV channel, and on the YouTube channels for Mbc2 and AlUla Moments.

Good Intentions – Women to Women dialogue hosted by Alicia Keys

On the following day, Keys will sit down for a conversation with the first female Saudi Ambassador to the US, HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, and other female entrepreneurs, business owners, creatives, and artists. The invite-only Town Hall event titled Women to Women, is being held with the aim to “spark meaningful dialogue and provide an open and honest venue for women to share world visions, dreams, and support for each other.”

Oasis Reborn Exhibition

After their research-based residency in AlUla, artists Rashed AlShashai, Sara Favriau, Muhannad Shono, Talin Hazbar, Laura Sellies, and Sofiane Si Merabet will unveil their work at a date farm in central AlUla in the exhibition from February 8 to March 31, 2022. The works are set to be the result of immersion in the landscape and interaction with the AlUla community, researchers, and scientists who are investigating the region’s oases.

AlUla Performing Arts Festival

The inaugural AlUla Performing Arts Festival will entertain visitors and locals from February 13 to 22, as part of the AlJadidah art hub. In the roads of AlJadidah village, festival-goers can expect a mix of international and local artists to perform for 10 days 6pm to midnight. Besides acrobatics, busking, musical group entertainment, street theatre, and poetry, Saudi sand painter Alaa Yehya will also tell the story of AlUla’s history with his work, while Shaker Kashgari will do a calligraphy show, and Deya Rambo will create new graffiti art dedicated to different themes each night.

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