Diriyah Biennale Foundation recently revealed the curatorial team of Saudi Arabia's inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale, highlighting the past and present art of the Islamic culture. Among the curators is Sumayya Vally, co-founder of Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace, responsible for designing the 2021 Serpentine Pavilion. Taking place in Jeddah in early 2023, the Islamic Arts Biennale will foster artistic exchanges and further establish Saudi Arabia's status within the art scene.
Alongside architect Sumayya Vally, the distinguished curatorial team includes Dr Saad Alrashed, leading Saudi scholar and archaeologist, Dr Omniya Abdel Barr, Barakat Trust Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Dr Julian Raby, Director Emeritus of the National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. The Islamic Arts Biennale follows Saudi Arabia's first contemporary art biennale that took place in December 2021, under the patronage of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation.
I have visited Jeddah as a pilgrim many times. The location has so much embodied meaning that speaks to both communal and individual experiences. Alongside my curatorial colleagues, I am inspired by the opportunity to present a range of works in this extraordinary setting. I hope many will join us in December for an exploration that is open to all. — Sumayya Vally
The two newly established art biennales represent an opportunity for cultural exchanges between Saudi Arabia and international communities, working with leading practitioners and curators and fostering artistic voices from around the world. The event will take place in early 2023 in the dynamic city of Jeddah, which marries tradition and a cosmopolitan atmosphere.