Building walkers, heritage art realm to captivate Jeddah Season visitors

July 01, 2019

Saudi Gazette report

The Historic Jeddah Season, currently on in Al-Balad District — a UNESCO World Heritage Site, brings together a diverse range of art and cultural experiences, entertaining shows for all ages, variety of cuisines from all over the world and unforgettable shopping experiences whilst giving visitors a chance to learn about the rich history and culture of Jeddah.

This week, the Historic Jeddah Season is taking visitors on a journey of art, entertainment and unique flavors with special attractions across its cultural, entertainment and food and beverage tracks.

In the cultural track, visitors have the chance to immerse themselves in the artistic realm in partnership with the Saudi Art Council (SAC) and the Saudi Ministry of Culture. Historic Jeddah Seasons will host site-specific artworks curated by Zahra Bundakji at Rubbat Al-Khunji House as part of Athr Gallery. The exhibition aims to diffuse the notion of public and private spaces by creating an experience that transcends visual and audio dimensions. The audience’s first encounter is with Reem Al-Nasser’s sounds omitting from Al-Khunji’s windows. Immersive in its nature, this sound installation can be experienced from both in and outside the exhibition area. The audience can instinctively follow soundwaves and be guided by suspense and mystery. This setting not only enables visitors to hear authentic sounds from the ancient neighborhood, but also guides them through the space, searching throughout the area in wonder and curiosity.

Also located in the piazza of Rubbat Al-Khunji House, an outdoor exhibition and visual study called The City in my Playground, a collaborative work between Zahra Bundakji and artist Mohammed Al Faraj, where he and children of the neighborhood take ownership of the streets through activities, explorations, and guided workshops.

As part of SAC’s art and culture events, Sharbatli House is also hosting an aleatory created by Nasser Alshemimry. The term aleatory refers to the random interactions of different sound sources to generate a whole one large sound that is more than the sum of its parts. Legendary musician John Cage pioneered the use of aleatory in his compositions. Aleatory allows the composition to be ever evolving and influenced by the environment, surroundings, and observers. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a Book Fair Co-space at the Historic Jeddah Season. The Book Fair is designed as a co-space of knowledge at the Sharbatli House Annex, which has been repurposed to offer a space that brings people together by presenting a design bookshop, reading space and lush gathering spot. It is a quiet modest' space, serving as a canvas for community engagement and debate.

In the entertainment track, visitors can experience gravity-defying stunts by Building Walkers, a group of internationally renowned performing artists. The idea of the Building Walkers show is to merge artistic expressions through a fusion of music, dance and acrobatics together with the personality of the venue. Using structures and buildings to create performances makes each show of the Building Walkers uniquely reflective of the heritage and artistic dimension of the hosting venue. According to the creators, the show currently playing at Historic Jeddah Season is inspired by the people of Al Balad and the smiles of children watching the show in awe many meters high in their own neighborhood.

The key performing artists in the Building Walkers show are Diego Stanga and Mateo Tavela. Diego is an art director, choreographer and teacher at the Argentine School of Acrobatics and Aerial Dance. He specializes in acrobatics, dance, urban interventions and performances on buildings facades. Mateo is one of the members of the Aerial Dance Company, which specializes in dance and acrobatics with harnesses.

“A show like the one we have developed for Al Balad, connects us more with the public, its emotions and reactions and the local culture in a heritage setting. We are extremely proud to have this opportunity to be able to walk on these beautiful walls with so much history,” says Diego. “We love Jeddah for its culture, its history, its architecture, its food and, above all, the hospitality, warmth and friendliness of its people.” The Building Walkers performance is scheduled every night from 8 to 9.30 p.m. at the yard besides BaEshin in Al-Balad District.

More details about the Historic Jeddah Festival can be found at

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