Palestinian poet and author Mahmoud Darwish once said, “I wouldn’t have walked to the seven hills if it weren’t for the mirage.” Spotlighting one of nature’s biggest mysteries, Desert X AlUla will return in its 2022 edition under the theme ‘Sarab’. Located in the Al Mutadil valley by the starring Elephant Rock, the biennial event is expected to take place from February 11 to March 30.
The event will be curated by the director of the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi, Reem Fadda, and co-founder of AR Art Advisory Raneem Farsi, Neville Wakefield, who previously curated the first edition of the collaborated biennial. The idea of a mirage has always been related to “ideas of survival, perseverance, desire and wealth,” revealed Fadda.
As the biennial dives deep into the surrounding nature, it will explore themes associated with the desert’s deep-rooted history, culture, and underlying themes that “connote the incomprehensible beauty and abundance of nature in its most bereft state – the desert – and humans’ obsessive desire to capture and control it,” according to Fadda.
The complete list of artists participating in the exhibition will be unveiled in January. These names have all dedicated their time working in the AlUla area, where they have developed their works of art. As for the program, educational initiatives are expected to be hosted, along with art mediator training and workshops for teachers. The exhibition will also feature a contemporary art gallery named ‘Perspective’ that will shed light on the works of local artists.
The AlUla region is the kingdom’s hub for gleaming heritage sites, like the Unesco World Heritage site of Hegra, an untouched archaeological site of beautifully carved rocky outcrops and classical pediments and columns.
The former is expected to reopen in 2030 and further develop into becoming one of the kingdom’s most sought-after touristic destinations by 2035, according to the arts and creative planning director at Royal Commission for AlUla, Nora Aldabal.