Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla has announced the assignment of Saudi and international artists for AlUla’s Wadi AlFann. Meaning ‘Valley of the Arts’ the ambitious permanent sculpture park planned for the AlUla desert will see pioneer Land Art  American artists James Turrell, Agnes Denes and Michael Heizer, as well as established Saudi names Ahmed Mater and Manal AlDowayan present their pieces in 2024 along the 65-square-kilometer space. 


To curate the project, Saudi officials have enlisted Iwona Blazwick, former director of London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery. 

james turrell, agnes denes + michael heizer to exhibit art installations at AlUla’s arts valley
rendering of Ahmed Mater’s work




‘Wadi AlFann is unprecedented in its ambition,’ Iwona Blazwick said in a released statement. ‘It will set a new global example for experiencing art in dialogue with nature, celebrating the human creativity that unites communities across the world and inspiring current and future generations of artists. A display of such epic scale, set in a terrain as monumental as the AlUla desert, has the potential to shape the course of art history in real time.’


AlUla’s Wadi AlFann will offer a profound opportunity to experience art on a monumental scale in dialogue with nature while it continues with Saudi Arabia’s vision of making the region a leading global destination for the arts. Land Art is an artistic style that aims to draw attention to the environment and the importance of preserving it. First seen in the USA in the late 1960s, Land Art seeks not to hold artworks in museums and closed galleries, but instead display them in open museums and galleries located in the heart of nature.

james turrell, agnes denes + michael heizer to exhibit art installations at AlUla’s arts valley
rendering of Manal AlDowayan’s work


For AlUla’s Wadi AlFann, James Turrell plans to create more than one piece, including a tunnel and a Skyspace. Known for his large-scale and site-specific artwork that uses land as the medium, Michael Heizer, will create lineal engravings on the sandstone rock, creating a direct relationship with the geology of the area while highlighting the details of the Quweira sandstone. Last but not least, 90-year-old Agnes Denes will carve a series of pyramids into the rocks which will explore civilization, advancement and achievement.


Ahmed Mater, one of Saudi Arabia’s most influential contemporary artists, is planning to create a colossal immersive experience with subterranean elements and mirrors. As for Manal al-Dowayan, she will be presenting Oasis of Stories, a piece that will pay tribute to the mud-brick houses found around AlUla’s Old Town.

james turrell, agnes denes + michael heizer to exhibit art installations at AlUla’s arts valley
render of Ahmed Mater’s work


This is not the first time the deer of AlUla has seen artistic interventions. For the past years, the Desert X AlUla exhibition has been taking place there. Its first edition (read more on designboom here) welcomed 9,000 visitors, while the second one (read more on designboom here) grew to 24,000 visitors.


project info:


name: Wadi AlFann

location: AlUla desert, Saudi Arabia