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artists unite in saudi arabia for tuwaiq sculpture 2023 to explore 'energy of harmony'

art 412 shares connections: +1260

a gallery without walls

 

A garden city in the desert, Saudi Arabia‘s capital of Riyadh celebrates its fourth edition of Tuwaiq Sculpture festival and symposium. The annual exhibition was first launched in 2019, and this year it brought together thirty artists from both Saudi Arabia and across the world for twenty-six days of live sculpting along the northern outskirts of the city in Durrat Al Riyadh. As the event was open to the public, visitors were offered an up-close view of the creative process in action to witness the transformation of raw Riyadh stone into works of art.

 

Following the near month-long period of live sculpting beginning on January 8th, 2023, the newly completed artworks were displayed as part of an exhibition which punctuated the festival, running from February 5th — 10th. In addition, interactive workshops and activities were held which guided visitors in a first-hand exploration of their own artistic processes. In the horizon of Durrat Riyadh, in the Banban district (about 37 km north of the Saudi capital), we visited Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023.

saudi arabia tuwaiq sculptureTuwaiq Sculpture 2023, exhibition view | image © designboom

 

 

thirty artists from twenty countries

 

This artistic event, which in its name declares its homage to the mountain range that crosses the central area of ​​Saudi Arabia, is organized as part of Riyadh Art  (the executive director is the architect Khalid Al-Hazani) and curated by Marek Wolynski. Many of the artists at Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023 are academics in the field of sculpture and have exhibited works internationally. While over six hundred applicants responded to the call for entry, only thirty artists were selected to participate. This year’s group of sculptors represent twenty different countries, including Austria, China, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Switzerland, along with a strong showing of artists representing Saudi Arabia. Following the exhibition’s conclusion, the thirty sculptural works will be scattered across Riyadh to displayed as permanent works of public art, transforming the capital city into a ‘gallery without walls.’

saudi arabia tuwaiq sculpture
‘I am beginning to see the light,’ Stefan Esterbauer, Austria | image © Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023, a Riyadh Art program

 

 

learning from the desert landscape of riyadh

 

As part of Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023, artworks are carved entirely from Saudi Arabia’s granite and Riyadh stone, also known as sandstone. The use of this local material serves to symbolize the theme of this year’s symposium, ‘Energy of Harmony,’ as artists from twenty countries work side-by-side to learn from the unique geology of Saudi Arabia, interpreting the materiality of its desert landscape through their own artistic lens.

 

For the first time since the launch of Tuwaiq Sculpture in 2019, the symposium has used stone sourced from quarries in Riyadh, specifically granite and sandstone, also known as Riyadh Stone,explains Sarah AlRuwayti, Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium Director.This choice bears symbolic significance; it is a way to highlight Saudi Arabia’s rich history with the medium, from ancient artifacts to rock carvings and modern- day sculpture. Now these artworks will not only be part of Riyadh, but also part of each artist’s legacy, leaving a momentous mark on the city.’

saudi arabia tuwaiq sculpture
‘Harmony in Diversity,’ Qian Sihua, China | image © Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023, a Riyadh Art program

 

 

carving a space for female artists in saudi arabia

 

Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023 is helping to carve a route for women in the region to enter into the largely male-dominated sculpture trade, as many of the artists participating this year are women — including Saudi Arabian sculptor Noha Al-Sharif, who is noted for her expertise in Islamic art and her use of porcelain and textiles Her work titled ‘Vision’ explores the female body and hybridizes elements from both humans and birds. Another female sculptor representing Saudi Arabia at this year’s exhibition is Wafa Alqunibit. Her piece, ‘Harmony’ shows the use of Arabic calligraphy to render the Islamic religion’s ninety-nine names of God.

saudi arabia tuwaiq sculptureartistic process | image © Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023, a Riyadh Art program

 

 

Tuwaiq Sculpture is part of the broader Riyadh Art program for the Royal Commission Riyadh City (RCRC). The group will ultimately transform Riyadh into a ‘gallery without walls,’ with over one-thousand public artworks on display across the city. Since its launch in 2019, the symposium has engaged with ninety renowned local and international artists and thousands of visitors.

tuwaiq-sculpture-riyadh-saudi-arabia-designboom-035a

artistic process | image © Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023, a Riyadh Art program

saudi arabia tuwaiq sculpture
artistic process | image © Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023, a Riyadh Art program

tuwaiq-sculpture-riyadh-saudi-arabia-designboom-037a

artistic process | image © Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023, a Riyadh Art program

 

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'Vision,' Noha Al-Sharif, Saudi Arabia
'Vision,' Noha Al-Sharif, Saudi Arabia
'Rain Stones,' Rob Good, United Kingdom
'Rain Stones,' Rob Good, United Kingdom
'Existence,' Nilhan Sesalan, Turkey
'Existence,' Nilhan Sesalan, Turkey
'Harmony,' Wafa Alqunibit, Saudi Arabia
'Harmony,' Wafa Alqunibit, Saudi Arabia
'Harmony in Diversity,' Qian Sihua, China
'Harmony in Diversity,' Qian Sihua, China
'I am beginning to see the light,' Stefan Esterbauer, Austria
'I am beginning to see the light,' Stefan Esterbauer, Austria
'Connection,' Bertha Shortiss, Switzerland
'Connection,' Bertha Shortiss, Switzerland
'The Sun and the Moon,' Aleksandre Phophkhadze, Georgia
'The Sun and the Moon,' Aleksandre Phophkhadze, Georgia
'Expansion,' Sylvain Patte, Belgium
'Expansion,' Sylvain Patte, Belgium
'Door of Water,' Tatsumi Sakai, Japan
'Door of Water,' Tatsumi Sakai, Japan
'Ocean Ripple,' Liliya Pobornikova, Bulgaria
'Ocean Ripple,' Liliya Pobornikova, Bulgaria
'When it rains,' Yannick Robert, France
'When it rains,' Yannick Robert, France
'Wind Blast,' Agnessa Petrova, Bulgaria
'Wind Blast,' Agnessa Petrova, Bulgaria
'Synergy,' Roland Hoeft, Germany
'Synergy,' Roland Hoeft, Germany
'Continuous Points,' Talal Altukhaes, Saudi Arabia
'Continuous Points,' Talal Altukhaes, Saudi Arabia
'Lockdown Window,' Marino Di Prospero, Italy
'Lockdown Window,' Marino Di Prospero, Italy
'Synergy Equilibrium,' Sasho Sazdovski, Macedonia
'Synergy Equilibrium,' Sasho Sazdovski, Macedonia
'Harmony of Trust,' Lyudmyla Mysko, Ukraine
'Harmony of Trust,' Lyudmyla Mysko, Ukraine
'Empower,' Mohammed Al Thagafi, Saudi Arabia
'Empower,' Mohammed Al Thagafi, Saudi Arabia
'The waves of the soul,' Ikram Kabbaj, Morocco
'The waves of the soul,' Ikram Kabbaj, Morocco
'Meeting Point,' Fahad Aljebreen, Saudi Arabia
'Meeting Point,' Fahad Aljebreen, Saudi Arabia
'Riyadh's Eye,' Mohammad Al-Faris, Saudi Arabia
'Riyadh's Eye,' Mohammad Al-Faris, Saudi Arabia
'The Gate of Light,' Ana Maria Negară, Romania
'The Gate of Light,' Ana Maria Negară, Romania
'Energy of Water,' Vasilisa Chugunova, Russia
'Energy of Water,' Vasilisa Chugunova, Russia
'Riyadh's Eye,' Mohammad Al-Faris, Saudi Arabia
'Riyadh's Eye,' Mohammad Al-Faris, Saudi Arabia
'Crescendo,' Damjan Komel, Slovakia
'Crescendo,' Damjan Komel, Slovakia
'Permanence,' Azhar Saeed, Saudi Arabia
'Permanence,' Azhar Saeed, Saudi Arabia
'Let's Blossom Together,' Rajaa Alshafae, Saudi Arabia
'Let's Blossom Together,' Rajaa Alshafae, Saudi Arabia
'Elevation,' Mohamed Elsayad, Egypt
'Elevation,' Mohamed Elsayad, Egypt
'Understanding,' José Millán, Spain
'Understanding,' José Millán, Spain

project info:
Tuwaiq Sculpture is a cultural operation strongly desired and supported by the Saudi government through the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, within the ambitious ‘Vision 2030’ strategic framework of diversification of the economic system with attention to the increase of infrastructure, culture, tourism, education and healthcare.

 

exhibition title: Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023

founder: Riyadh Art under the Royal Comission Riyadh City (RCRC) | @riyadhartofficial

location: Durrat Al Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

live sculpting dates: January 8th 2023 — February 3rd, 2023

exhibition dates: February 5th — 10th, 2023

curator, jury chairperson: Marek Wolynski
symposium manager: Sarah Alruwayti

video: © designboom

photography: © designboom, Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023

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