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RIYADH: Stepping into The Saudi Gallery exhibit that is running on the sidelines of Misk Art 2018 in Durrat Arriyadh, I couldn’t help but remember my recent interview with the CEO of the MISK Art Institute Ahmed Mater when he said: “This is Saudi Arabia’s Renaissance age.”
Curated by the Jeddah-based Athr gallery, the mini contemporary and modern art fair showcased eight galleries and presented the work of dozens of talented artists.
A diverse collection of creativity bounced off the walls, demanding to be seen, read and stared at. From paintings to sculptures, the myriad art forms on show commanded attention.
“We decided to bring artists who are mostly Saudi or lived in Saudi (Arabia) or who have shown in Saudi (Arabia) for a long time,” Mohammed Hafez, Athr gallery’s founder, told Arab News.

A piece by artist Abdul Haleem Radawi. (Basheer Saleh/AN)“We basically broke the gallery into two main sections: The main works, on the left and right-hand walls, and smaller works by either emerging artists or established artists as we wanted to bring in a selection of accessible works so that younger collectors or buyers could find them interesting,” he added.
The exhibition featured an array of artistic forms, something that Hafez believes is important.
“There are works from all over Saudi Arabia. We made a point of showing different mediums: Photography, calligraphy, neon (work), video and installations.”
From the Desert Designs gallery, representative Raneen Bukhari told Arab News that the drive to showcase the work of a range of artists was as important as presenting different forms of art.

Artwork by Abdullah Al-Sheikh, a Saudi artist who studied in Iraq. (Basheer Saleh/AN)“We have four artists — people who started 20 years ago and those who have just started their journey,” she said. “We’ve been working with a lot of artists through the years, but we wanted to highlight the ones that have really good audience connection.”
Needless to say, I felt the connection and as I left the thought struck me that the country we live in today is more colorful than it has ever been.
Misk Art 2018 and The Saudi Gallery exhibit are set to run until Nov. 3, 2018.

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