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Saudi Arabia, first Islamic Arts Biennale to open in Jeddah

Best of tradition and modernity in multisensorial version

20 January, 17:32

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, JANUARY 20 - The first Islamic Arts Biennale will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from January 23 to April 23, 2023. Conceived to connect past, present and future and divulge the wealth of this type of art through 60 contemporary masterworks, as well as 15 works that have never been shown to the public and 280 manufacts, it will be hosted at the iconic Western Hajj Terminal of the airport King Abdulaziz, which won the Aga Khan prize, as part of a unique multisensorial experience, the Saudi culture ministry said in a statement.

    'Awwal Bait', or 'First home', a reference to the holy Ka'bah of the Mecca, is the theme chosen for this historic inaugural edition of the Biennale which will present more than 60 well-known and emerging artists from around the world, with the objective of showcasing the beauty and diversity of the Muslim world. Curated by a heterogeneous and multidisciplinary committee of experts, it will present, among other things, an unprecedented exhibition of finely worked historic objects, originally set in the Prophet's mosque in Medina and at the holy mosque Masjid Al-Haram of Mecca. Over 18 local and international institutions, including the Authority of Haramain, the Museum Benaki of Athens and the Louvre in Paris will present masterpieces from their collections.

    "For a long time, the world has perceived Islamic arts through a precise lens, which often has restricted or defined borders", said the director of the Biennale Farida Alhusseini.

    "With this initiative, we are trying to amplify the definition and allow a more profound and nuanced exploration", in line with the crucial moment for the cultural development of Saudi Arabia, said the director.

    Culture, art, spirituality, closely connected, will be there for a global public, added Omniya Abdel Barr, member of the Barakat Trust at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London; four galleries and two pavilions will showcase the artworks on daily rituals and Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, which will showcase the spiritual life of Muslims from around the world.

    In the tents, the filtered light of the sun, sweeping scenarios with the sky and desert will generate a completely different experience from that offered by the closed space of traditional art galleries; with some of the artworks highlighting the skill of craftsmen in embroidered gold creations called 'kiswa' and the binding of the Koran of Kign Fahd Quran Printing Complex, besides the treasures of the presidency general for affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque (Authority of Haramain).

    For further information, it is possible to consult the website: (ANSAmed).

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