JAX district locations.
Muhammad Yusuf, Feature Writer
The Diriyah Biennale Foundation (DBF) announced its ongoing activities as part of the public program of the first Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale (DCAB, December 11 to March 11, 2022). Open to the public, the festival takes place in the JAX district of Diriyah, Riyadh. An array of activities ranging from lectures and panels of international artists and experts to fun experiences for families and children, ensures that the Biennale is a hub for engagement and learning related to the arts. DCAB’s program is designed to inspire a creative dialogue between cultures, while benefiting the local ecosystem and laying the groundwork for lasting public engagement.
It draws inspiration from the art and culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and beyond, facilitating educational explorations, sharing of knowledge and best practices with access to leading voices in the field. Commenting on the way the Biennale program was designed, Aya Al-Bakree, CEO of DBF, said: “We are delighted to welcome all audiences to the Biennale and invite them to explore the visual culture of Arabia. Arabia and elsewhere.
“Our programs are a crucial part of this invitation and have been designed to provide an inclusive and stimulating experience for everyone. “We hope that the activities and conversations will provide local and international visitors with exceptional opportunities to make discoveries, excite their curiosity and stimulate their creativity.” Raneem Farsi, program designer for the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, said: “Our aim is to reduce the barrier to entry and engagement in the art sector, and to support transfer and knowledge exchange, creating an engaging program based on education, exposure and experience.
“Public programs generally act as the arm of larger initiatives to encourage inclusion and spread awareness to create relevant impact in the community. “By animating cultural and creative rhetoric in society, we develop and improve the dialogue between the world of contemporary art and all the others. In partnership with the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), the public program offers school tours that aim to promote greater integration of art and culture into the daily life and learning of local students. With specially developed educational kits, tours will hopefully play a vital role in enhancing the next generation’s understanding and interest in art.
Teacher kits and training programs are also launched as part of the objective of empowering educators and tour guides in interaction with students and ensuring the continuity of knowledge transfer beyond the walls of the Biennale. . Commenting on the partnership with DBF, Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO, DGDA, said: “We are extremely happy to partner with the Diriyah Biennial Foundation and welcome artists and visitors to this historic event. “This is the perfect opportunity for us to re-establish Diriyah as a center of culture and heritage in the Middle East.
Diriyah has a proud history as a hub of artistic talent in the region, where music, dance and the visual arts have flourished. “We are committed to establishing Diriyah’s position in the Kingdom by cultivating an exceptional and flourishing art scene. The Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale is just the beginning. As part of the current program, DCAB is offering an arts camp for children aged 7 to 14. The camp is slated to launch in January 2022 and is designed by Funtasia, an educational platform rooted in interaction and socio-emotion. learning which was established by Elisa Sednaoui.
It offers workshops that approach learning as a hands-on, experiential event to complement children’s formal education. Sednaoui is a model, actress, philanthropist and director of Italian, Egyptian and French origin. In 2013, she created the Elisa Sednaoui Foundation, dedicated to the promotion of creative learning and extracurricular initiatives for young people. “What is contemporary art? What is the role of a curator? What is art law? What is a Biennale? They will be led by various experts including Brian Butterfield, Dr Eiman Elgibreen, Dr Effat Fadag, Dr Amy Mechowski, Dr Thomas Schneider and Yayoi Shionoiri.
Designed for participants of all ages and levels, the workshops offered as part of the public program offer many opportunities to develop visitors’ skills and broaden their artistic practices. They range from one hour to three day sessions exploring a variety of topics including glassmaking, block printing, mud brick architecture, reformulation of ‘sadu’ and set design. Misk Art Institute will also bring its expertise to the Biennale programs with multiple skill building workshops designed for adults and young people. For art lovers, a series of masterclasses are offered by the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Urban Arts Projects (UAP). These are 3-day specialty courses designed to help artists and art professionals propel their growth in the arts and culture sector.
Classes develop both theoretical and practical skills that are vital to the Kingdom’s art scene, such as art law, public art production, arts management, and self-presentation in the world of art. The Biennale’s diverse program also provides plenty of opportunities for families and visitors to engage in fun and entertaining experiences, including treasure hunts, open mic nights, quiz nights, art murals and more. again. An immersive wall – developed by Midwam – presents a changing art puzzle that challenges children’s general artistic knowledge.
Based in Jeddah, Midwam is a virtual reality company specializing in VR, augmented reality, experience design and robotics. Created in 2020 by the Saudi Ministry of Culture, DBF is the organizer of DCAB, the very first art biennial in Saudi Arabia. A second biennial in 2022 will be devoted to Islamic arts. JAX is a renovated estate comprising over 100 warehouses in the Diriyah area. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture has launched the regeneration of JAX to become the new benchmark arts and culture district for the country, with ranges of exhibition spaces, workshops, artists, art galleries, installations and platforms.