Minister of Culture opens Saudi pavilion at Venice Biennale

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Saudi Gazette report

VENICE — Minister of Culture and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Misk Art Institute Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Bin Farhan inaugurated on Wednesday the pavilion of Saudi Arabia at the 58th Venice Biennale 2019 Art Exhibition. The event, which runs until Nov. 24 2019, is commissioned by the Misk Art Institute under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture. Noura Al Kaabi, minister of culture and knowledge development of the United Arab Emirates, several officials and artists participating in the festival also attended the opening ceremony.

Saudi Arabia is taking part in the Venice Biennale, titled “May you live in interesting times,” after a hiatus of eight years. Following the ceremony, Prince Badr toured the Saudi pavilion, during which the visitors listened to a presentation about Saudi Arabia and the nature of the artwork under the theme “After Illusion ...”. The Kingdom’s participation at the Biennale runs parallel with the government’s initiative to promote the country’s culture and its various art forms. “Saudi Arabia is partaking in the event to encourage Saudi art and help local artists showcase their work internationally,” the minister said on his twitter account.

The work of art was presented by the Jeddah-based land artist Dr. Zahrah Al-Ghamdi, which has been curated by Saudi artist Eiman Elgibreen. The installation consists of 50,000 pieces and the title “After Illusion” showcases the endless possibilities to reach the goal and self-knowledge, after the phases of doubt and uncertainty, in an attempt to restore confidence and optimism.

On the sidelines of the event, Misk is publishing a special booklet, which documents works put to display and communicate the message intended by the Saudi pavilion. It also offers an introduction for the development of cultural and artistic work in Saudi Arabia and future aspirations sought in this field. Reviews from a number of local and international intellectuals are also included.

The booklet also mirrors the Biennale’s title ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ by reflecting on Saudi culture and having a positive take on “uncertainty” as a gateway for openness, transformation, and survival.


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