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A New Exhibition in AlUla Displays Private Artworks by Some of Saudi Arabia’s Most Significant Artists

Al Ula Expo

Manal Al Dowayan, I Am Series, 2005. Photo: Courtesy the artist and Basma AlSulaiman

A new exhibition curated by Lulwah AlHomoud will feature works from the private collection of Saudi patron and collector Basma AlSulaiman. Taking place at Maraya in AlUla from February 11 to March 20, 2022, What Lies Within will bring together works from the past two decades by some of the most significant artists of Saudi Arabia and its diaspora. Featured are Manal AlDowayan, Shadia Alem, Zahrah AlGhamdi, Dana Awartani, Abdulnasser Gharem, Maha Malluh, and Ahmed Mater, among others.

AlSulaiman, who dedicates her collection to the loving memory of her son Mohammed Al Juffali states, “I have sought to make my collection available to as many people as possible all over the world by embracing technology and creating a virtual museum. To now be bringing these works to physical audiences in AlUla continues my desire to make art accessible to the public. This dynamic and varied exhibition is a testament to the innovation and creativity of a generation of key Saudi artists whose works explore a range of themes around heritage, identity, and place.”

AlUla Expo

Ahmed Mater, Magnetism, 2009. Photo: Courtesy the artist and Basma Alsulaiman

The exhibition is the first in a series in AlUla celebrating the legacy of pioneering collectors and patrons in Saudi Arabia. Without a doubt, AlSulaiman is a pioneer in the art world. A decade ago, she founded BASMOCA (Basma AlSulaiman Museum of Contemporary Art), the first virtual museum in the world to use cutting edge gaming technologies inviting wide audiences to view works and engage as avatars within its museum space.

AlUla Expo

Lulwah AlHomoud, 2021. Photo: Mohammed Othman

Each artist selected for the forthcoming exhibition has a unique, holistic approach to the past, present, and future. AlHomoud, who designed Vogue Arabia’s June 2021 cover, shares, “Some art collections go beyond preserving memories and visual culture, because they reflect a journey that can also shift how the public responds to art. Basma AlSulaiman’s passion and belief in Saudi artists has led her to acquire some of the most significant artists in the Kingdom alongside her international collection over the years.”

Look out for a new iteration of Alem’s The Black Arch (2011/2022) with site-specific audio and visual elements, connecting AlUla and Mecca. The work is exhibited for the first time in Saudi following its debut at the Venice Biennale. AlDowayan’s black and white photographic portraits of highly skilled working women that address women’s historical contribution to Saudi society will also be on display, as will Mater’s miniature Magnetism (2009) combining art, science, and the concept of religion and identity. A highlight of AlUla Arts, the inaugural arts festival is one of four distinct festivals under the winter events calendar of AlUla Moments.

What Lies Within Maraya in AlUla, from February 11 to March 20, 2022

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