An explosion of creativity swept the Desert Designs Gallery in Khobar, Saudi Arabia last Wednesday. In association with NTI, a Saudi events art and PR company, Desert Designs unleashed the 2nd LOUD Art Exhibition with the aim of inspiring and educating the society at large about the importance of art in the public sphere, and how public spheres can be portrayed through art; the artists experimented with new medias to express their message.
24 artists from around the region came together in one space under one theme; LOUD. Hoping to inspire the masses.
Once arriving at the venue, visitors pass through the array of traditional tribal and Saudi Bedouin handcrafts on the ground floor of Desert Designs, making their way to the gallery space on the second floor; which was, quite literally, overflowing with creativity.
As you walk up the stairs visitor catch a glimpse of what kind of experience they were in for by seeing the images of a Saudi woman climbing the steps to prosperity and reaching her full potential actually going up the art gallery stairs! Artist Mona Kishta wheat pasting figures lead visitors up to the exhibition with their charm and whimsy.
Once guests reach their final destination, they are greeted by the art of anonymous Saudi street artist REE8AA who transmits the people’s issues on the walls of the Saudi Eastern Provence through his art.
The work of young artist Ali Cha’aban stops visitors in their tracks with his satirical pop cultural artwork. Ali’s digital work and typography is dream like and inspired by animation. He tackles consumerism, emotions, western influence, and cultural topics.
On the other side of the spectrum is Mohammad Sharaf, a featured artist of Sketchbook, whose work tackles sociopolitical issues in satire. His pieces are all hand printed on industrial paper.
Amina Al Abbasi and Yousif AlShafei are two artists from Bahrain with an interesting take on the Arabian Culture. Amina working her art work from canvases onto modern day accessories, iPhone covers and pillows! Yousif takes his calligraphic prowess and cerates fun and colorful pieces of furniture that is useable art.
The surrealist/cubist work of Artist Aymen Zedani strikes any viewer with his imaginative interpretation of different emotions with his series Cubic’s. Aymen’s roots are in watercolors. He takes his traditional watercolors and merges digital work with it to create his signature masterpieces.
Fresh graduate of Dar Al Hekmah, Zahar AlSayed displayed her installation discussing genders by portraying the figure of a woman under a “Breakable,” sign, and the figure of man under a “Flammable,” sign.
Using magnets, Zahar demonstrated her concept by saying, “This is about the situations between men and women.”
“Men are always flammable and women are always breakable, and this situation is not recyclable, but changeable.”
“They all reach a point where they break,” she said as she removed the figure of the woman. “And they can Flame,” she added as she removed the figure of the man. “And vice versa,” she concluded as she switched the figures showing that there is not a difference between the two.
Zahar also showed her street signs of Old hijazi sayings that will be shown in New York, London and Al Balad to entertain Saudi’s on their return home from foreign countries. As well as a piece on 3D printing photographs you can touch!
In the middle of the gallery floor sits a 2-meter by 2-meter installation by the daring duo, 19 year old Dalal Al Shaikh and Ghada Al Osaimi. For any Arabs reading this you will most certainly recognize this traditional game that has been a part of many Arabian Gulf families. The artist’s inspiration for this particular installation came after the realization that the beloved game of many GCC families past time was in fact not the product of the GCC, but India. The carrrom board is captioned with “If you don’t have a past you will not have a future” in Arabic, across the “Made in India,” label. “This is to speak to our generation, to be more original for the sake of our descendants,” explained Ms Al Shaikh. The Carrom board is the centerpiece of the exhibition as a reminder of where Arabs started, their traditions and cultures, so they can move forward into the future.
The LOUD Art exhibition will continue until the 7th of June at Desert Designs in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Follow the exhibition on Instagram @loudart.
WORDS: BADRIYA AL-MAHMEED
Images courtesy of NTI Saudi Arabia.