Jeddah: A recent art exhibition in Jeddah showcased the work of 22 young Saudi artists from different regions of the country.
The exhibition, which is the sixth edition of the Young Saudi Artist exhibition, will run until December 31.
It is being held at Athr Gallery which has been instrumental in supporting artists and providing them with a professional platform to showcase their artwork for more than a decade.
Shedding light on the theme of the exhibition “In the midst of it all,” artist and independent curator Zahra Dar Bundakgi, told Gulf News that the theme was chosen, keeping in mind the kingdom’s social changes taking place at a bolting speed.
“So many changes are happening around us, and so who are we in the midst of it all? Our surroundings shape our identity, but right now, every day, something changes, and you can barely catch up. So, how do we, in this fast-paced, ever-changing time, do we form identities, cultural identities that can be sustainable for the next generation. How can we leave something for them to see, learn, or be part of?”
The young artists, some of who showed their artworks for the first time, brought interesting perceptions of the theme to the exhibition.
While some artists viewed change as a sign of progress and optimism, some thought of it as going back and connecting with their roots; others questioned patriarchal mindsets and finding their voices in the transformative society, among others.
The artists used different mediums such as oil paints, leaves, threads, clothes, wood, audiovisuals, programming, photos, sounds, and sound bytes, to showcase their thought process.
Cultural mediator and multidisciplinary artist Ftoon Al Thaedi’s showed her inner art piece about connecting with her heritage through an enchanting performance.
The 21-year-old Riyadh-born artist sheds light on oud and henna — two things that spiritually connect her with her grandmother and mentally with her heritage.
“This inner art piece started with an inner identity conflict. I always thought I was stuck in between the past and the present in a way where I felt as a young woman I thought I identified very much with the west. And, that’s how I thought progression would be until I hit a point where I was mature enough to understand that I was drifting away from my heritage, which I had enjoyed a lot as a child,” she said.
Growing up Al Thaedi’s grandmother used to put henna in her hair and on her hands.
So, she copied the pattern from the oud bottle that her grandmother used to put in her hair after washing off the henna.
“I felt that the abstract pattern in the form of two lines, and one dot represents me as a person right now and makes me embrace my culture and spiritual practices as a young woman.”
Painter and mixed media artist Hana Kanee’s series of 3 hijab-wearing women, who are smoking, playing cards, and social networking, are a cool representation of today’s Saudi women.
The women can be seen cringing, eye-rolling, and giving a disbelieving look.
“I’m trying to represent today’s Saudi women who hear things against what they want to do. I’ve tried to capture their expressions when they hear comments or get unsolicited advice or stares from people around them. They’re annoyed, yet they’re not speaking out,” said the 27-year-old Jeddah-based artist.