Listening to: Imagine | The Beatles
Opening of Young Saudi Artists exhibition at Athr Gallery
I knew about the exhibition a few weeks earlier because I was collaborating with Yousef Alshaikh on “This” | An installation of five 5.5 x 5.5 cm micro portraits. The first dilemma was finding a printer that could print these 5 micro portraits on canvas. Thankfully, I remembered PHOTOPIA, founded by Abdullah Kurdi.
I submitted the files on Jan 9th at 2.30 p.m. I went back and forth between: Athr gallery to choose a wall, take measurements and check the lighting, Jarir to check out canvases, Souq Ghurab to buy spring cords, and Aramex to pick up the magnifiers. Thank God everyone I was dealing with was very helpful, from the staff at Athr gallery, to the salesman at Ba’aghil store in Souq Ghurab.
Tuesday Jan 11th: At 7.30 pm, Abdullah Kurdi enters PHOTOPIA with canvases in hand, and a halo around his head. I had everything we needed, except that we still needed to work on the actual installation. I rushed back to Athr to find everyone working very hard. We all had a mission: to make sure everything was perfectly in place before the opening.
The workers made my job so easy. All I had to do was brief them and supervise.
At 10.30 pm, my job was done. I left at 11.30 pm, and they were still working very hard.
Wednesday Jan 12th, 2 hours before the opening
5 p.m.: Showtime!!
Dr. AbdulAziz Khojah, Saudi Minister of Culture and Information, arrives at 5.30 pm. The media was ready with their cameras, and since they were actually paid to do this, I didn’t want to get in their way.
Photographers Mr. Samer Al Owfi and Mr. Wael Al Suleimani were so kind to send me my pictures. I’m so happy that they documented these moments.
For those who couldn’t make it to the exhibition, you can still catch the artwork until Feb 15th! If you can’t, then don’t worry; I’m bringing the event to you right here! Below are most of the artwork exhibited. I apologize for not covering everything, but I’m sure you will love what I managed to cover.
Notice how they’re somehow mirroring his body language? I love event photography haha. Here’s what Mr. Jeffrey Hill had to say about the exhibition:
“This exhibition is so important for not only Jeddah, but all of Saudi Arabia. Although it is common belief that Saudi Arabia doesn’t have much interest in modern artistic expression, this exhibition shows quite the opposite. The amazing ingenuity, the boldness of design, and artists’ creative energy all show brain power. All of us here have an obligation to promote their work and give them maximum space and power to showcase their work in KSA and overseas.”
“Dipped like a Dorito! I just couldn’t get myself out! The atmosphere was enchanting. For someone who wasn’t used to these kinds of events and crowds, they would’ve found it intimidating and overwhelming at first. I myself am one of those. But as I blended in, Mrs.Inspiration rose. After Her long slumber in the back of my head, I started to yield to Her demands. I was dipped, drenched, and I was digging it. The various types of art, and the immense amount of thought put into each piece… It was “like bubblegum to the eyes” like my friend Yousef Alshaikh says, and fizzy candy to the brain!
It is honestly difficult deciding what I liked most, cause I definitely
liked almost everything. What I loved the most was meeting those artists
and being able to get a glimpse into the brain-shaped galaxies placed
inside their heads, such as Sarah Abdu and Eyad Maghazil, whose works simply
reached out and tickled the passionate and creative Yasmine. Meeting Yousef Alshaikh of course was another story. The dude’s probably the most energetic, creative human being I’ve ever met. When it was finally time to go, I left -unwillingly- with my soul fed, my craving mind satisfied, and with growing eagerness for more and more galleries and exhibitions. Putting nails up Soraya’s heels wasn’t the plan, but it was her explanatory tour that doubled all the excitement 😀 Many thanks to Soraya “
I believe I should explain the “nails up my heels”; I was at the gallery for over 6 hours. “Nails up my heels” was the least that could be said about my state, but it was all worth it! So, what did I think of the exhibition? I thought it was the most brilliant exhibition I’ve attended in Saudi Arabia. Starting from the venue, the wonderful ambience, classical music, splendid catering, to the passionate artists and their amazing work.
BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT!!!
The painting below by Saad Bin Mohammed (right) was one of my favorites. I really must go back to take a high res photo of it.
If you have any questions about any of the artwork or artists, please don’t hesitate to ask; I will do what I can to answer them 🙂