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RIYADH: As part of this year’s Misk Art festival, the eponymous cultural organization invited Princess Adwa bint Yazid — founder of L’Art Pur and the Arts and Skill Institute — to curate an exhibition honoring one of the Kingdom’s most influential art institutions. 

For 25 years, from the mid-sixties until it closed in the 1960s, the Institute of Art Education for Teachers (IAET) in Riyadh developed the talents of numerous students, many of whom went on to become hugely significant on the Kingdom’s contemporary art scene.

PHOTO GALLERY: For more pictures of Misk Art 2018, click here.

 The result of Princess Adwa’s work is “Exhibit 23” (named for the 23 classes of students who graduated from IAET). It features work from 43 artists, including Ali Al-Tokhis and the late Hamad Al-Mawash. One of the aims of “Exhibit 23” is to introduce the new generation of Saudi artists to the work of those who blazed a trail for modern art in the Kingdom.

A scene at the Misk Art festival in Riyadh. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)

“At L’Art Pur Foundation, we care about culture, society and how to develop and support artists from Saudi or elsewhere,” said the princess. “Our mission is to introduce and learn from other cultures. 

Any exhibition of ours must be studied carefully because we are targeting a particular group — people’s interests are different and we want to attract people who are interested. Our role is to support culture, to develop Saudi artists and teach them how to become better artists.” 

 She stressed the importance of teaching children and teens the basics of art — and the value of creating art teachers. 

 “It is also important to focus on having (young people) study art, enter workshops, listen to lectures, meet older artists and learn from them.” Princess Adwa added. “I believe that every human being is creative but how do people develop their creativity?” 

 The princess said she wanted to shine a spotlight on the IAET — which was closed when it became apparent that many artists were interested in attaining an art degree, rather than the diploma offered by the institute — to show people part of the Kingdom’s long history of art. In IAET’s first 10 years, she said, many of its graduates became “the most important artists in Saudi Arabia.”

 “I want to introduce the new generation to the previous generations so that they can learn from each other and create (fantastic) work,” she added. 

Women artists at work during the Misk Art festival in Riyadh. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)

 

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