The 2024 Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale will be held featuring 92 artists from 43 countries. the Biennale is scheduled to run from Feb. 20 to May 24, 2024.
ArtDayMe: The 2024 Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, under the guidance of Artistic Director Ute Meta Bauer, reveals a stellar lineup of participating artists and introduces its curatorial framework, titled “After Rain.”
Symbolizing renewal and revitalization, the title draws inspiration from the earthy scent that follows rainfall.
Set against the backdrop of the historic town of Diriyah, adjacent to Riyadh and home to the UNESCO world heritage site of At-Turaif, the second edition of the Biennale is scheduled to run from Feb. 20 to May 24, 2024.
This edition delves into the role of a contemporary art biennial in a nation undergoing rapid social transformation, featuring 92 artists from 43 countries, including 30 artists from the wider Gulf region.
The Biennale showcases a significant number of newly commissioned works that engage with the current moment of societal transformation.
Notable collaborations include Saudi artist Ahmed Mater and Berlin-based photographer/filmmaker Armin Linke, documenting Saudi futurism since the 1940s.
Emerging Saudi-based Yemeni artist Sara Abdu creates a multisensory experience with towers constructed from artisanally produced bars of soap, exploring cleansing rituals.
Saudi artist Mohammad AlFaraj presents a new work incorporating palm trees and sound, reflecting on the landscape of Al Ahsa, one of the world’s largest oases.
During the holy month of Ramadan, the Biennale emphasizes communal gatherings around sharing food. Britto Arts Trust invites the audience to harvest, cook, and eat in a bamboo architectural structure.
NJOKOBOK operates a juice and tea bar, while Lucy + Jorge Orta invite the public to participate in a meal in the JAX District’s alleyways.
Outdoor spaces in the JAX District will host new spatial installations, including a 70-meter-long canopy by Azra Akšamija and a shading structure made of recycled sheet glass by Anne Holtrop.
“After Rain” unfolds across seven halls, courtyards, and terraces along Wadi Hanifa, a seasonal riverbed in the JAX District. The Biennale Encounters series, launched in April 2023, features performances, concerts, and poetry readings, creating an ongoing conversation with new audiences.
This edition is informed by research trips to regions across Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries, undertaken by the curatorial team, local artists, and international visitors.
“After Rain” brings together artists exploring the complex history of the region, the human-nature continuum, the built environment, and the surrounding landscapes.
Artistic Director Ute Meta Bauer states, “This multifaceted and multi-format Biennale can be seen as a journey, becoming a place for both interaction and contemplation.
“It brings together artists from different parts of the world with artists from Saudi Arabia and the wider region, engaged in shared issues around land, water, food, and healing practices.”
Aya Al Bakree, CEO of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, expressed the foundation’s ambition to deliver world-class international platforms that highlight the transformative power of the arts in Saudi Arabian society.
The list of participating artists includes renowned names such as Hamra Abbas, El Anatsui, Joan Jonas, and many more, representing a diverse range of creative voices.
The Biennale Foundation aims to ignite conversations, broaden perspectives, and engage wider audiences with the arts through collaborative commissions, the Biennale Encounters program, and participatory events.
The Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale is a significant initiative by the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, contributing to the cultural transformation in Saudi Arabia.
The Ministry of Culture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, plays a leading role in these efforts, seeking to bolster the presence of Saudi heritage and culture on both national and international stages.