‘I Love You, Urgently’ gains global attention and unprecedented public engagement in its first month

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JEDDAH — Following unprecedented public excitement and engagement, the Saudi Art Council concluded the first month of its flagship event, 21,39 Jeddah Arts. This year’s seventh edition of the event is supported by the Ministry of Culture and carries the title “I Love You, Urgently”.

Curated by Maya El Khalil, the exhibition attracted more than 330 high profile visitors and thousands of art enthusiasts from all five continents. Moreover, the scheduled educational and artistic activities have managed to engage more than 7,000 students during the first month of the three-month exhibition. The exhibition opened its doors for visitors on Jan. 28 and will conclude it functions on April 18.

“Each year, with every edition of 21,39 Jeddah Arts, the Saudi Art Council curates an extensive educational program open to the public for the duration of the three-month art initiative. Young people are at the core of this program, and the seventh edition will continue building on the work by the Saudi Art Council to augment education in the arts across Saudi Arabia,” said Nada Sheikh-Yasin, director of the Saudi Art Council.

The exhibition was also visited by Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, the minister of culture and knowledge development in the United Arab Emirates, and Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, member of the federal Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates and minister of state for foreign affairs, who expressed their admiration of the level of creativity demonstrated by participating artists.

The Saudi Art Council headquarters at Gold Moor Mall was the host to several workshops, talks and other functions aimed at specialized targets, public in general and students. These workshops included participations from creatives and thinkers, such as Dr. Sami Angawi, Christina Dean, Francisco Carballo, Dr. Lina Qattan, Dr. Nourah Gabrah and Rana Bakash.

They addressed topics such as architect Frei Otto’s relevance today to Saudi Arabia and the region as it moves forward in an environmentally unstable context; the impact of heavy urban and industrial development on the natural environment; the approach to environmental sustainability on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast; the mass movement of people caused by climatic changes in the context of Saudi Arabia; the fashion industry’s challenge of finding new models of sustainability; and art and artists’ role in fighting climate change.

The premises of the Saudi Art Council also hosted the launch of the book, “The Light Beings”. The council also showcased Shaker Kashgari’s and Alex Domingo’s passionate journey of enlightenment that lasted 3 years, with the aim to enrich Islamic Art with an innovative form that integrates Spiritual Thought into the Digital Age.

Kids and students’ workshops included; Kids Origami, Family Carpeting, “Aleph” Nature prints, Upcycling and Mixed Media Art. On the other hand, adult courses and workshops included: Fundamentals of Motion Graphics, which takes place every Monday, Arabic Typography Elements every Tuesday for the duration of 8 weeks, in addition to weekly photo Walks in Al Balad.

Sheikh-Yasin pointed out that this year’s edition of 21,39 Jeddah Arts brings together more than 60 local and international artists, architects, designers and thinkers to pose questions around environmental sustainability and explore alternative and symbiotic ways to inhabit our planet through a city-wide program of exhibitions, commissions, talks and debates, and an extensive public education program.

Encompassing painting and drawing, film, sculpture, performance, installation, sound and scent-based works, visitors to I Love You, Urgently can discover works by: Ayman Zedani, Aziz Jamal, Cristiana De Marchi, Daniah Al Saleh, Duran Lantink, Fahad Bin Naif & Alaa Tarabzouni, Farah K. Behbehani, Filwa Nazer, Maha Nasrallah, Manal AlDowayan, Marwah AlMugait, Mohammad Alfaraj, Mohammed Kazem, Muhannad Shono, Obadah Aljefri, Omar Abduljawad, Nojoud Alsudairi, Raja’a Khalid, Sultan Bin Fahd and Zahrah Alghamdi.

The 7th edition of Jeddah Art 21,39 is made possible by the support and sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture, Al Mansouria Foundation, UBS and Van Cleef & Arpels and AMAALA. — SG


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