Saudi Arabia's Islamic Arts Biennale reveals 2025 opening date

Held at Jeddah's Western Hajj Terminal, event will explore Islamic heritage via contemporary art and historical relics

The second Islamic Arts Biennale will run from January 25 to May 25, 2025.  Photo: Hareth Al Bustani / The National
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Saudi Arabia's second Islamic Arts Biennale will open on January 25, 2025, organisers have revealed.

The only biennale dedicated to the arts of Islamic civilisation will return to the Western Hajj Terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah for a four-month period until May 25, the Diriyah Biennale Foundation announced on Sunday.

Consisting of five galleries, the 2025 Islamic Arts Biennale will include a curated exhibition combing the work of contemporary artists and historical objects in a vast outdoor space.

Makkah and Madinah – two of the most significant cities in Islamic culture – will be celebrated at the event with their own pavilions.

The Homage gallery will showcase the patronage behind two significant collections of art reflecting high points of Islamic civilisation and AlMadar – the largest gallery from the inaugural biennale – will return to draw attention to the diversity of Islamic culture around the world.

An international curator team has been put in place for the 2025 programme and includes Amin Jaffer, director of The Al Thani Collection; Abdulrahman Azzam, an author and historian who was part of the AlMadar team in 2023; and Julian Raby, who also worked on the inaugural event.

A sustainably constructed prayer space will be designed by the winners of the AlMusalla Prize international competition. Architects from the UAE, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the UK are among the competition finalists and the winning firm is to be announced later this year. The modular room will welcome both Muslim and non-Muslim visitors.

Muhannad Shono, a Saudi artist known for his thought-provoking work on imagination and reality who represented the kingdom at the 59th International Venice Biennale in 2022, has been named as the event's Contemporary Art Curator.

Building on the success of the first exhibition in 2023, which attracted some 600,000 visitors and was extended for a month, the 2025 showcase will bring a feast of artworks back to Jeddah, with galleries, workshops, events, lectures and more on the agenda.

As well as appreciating the art and exhibitions, visitors will be able to wander around the 110,000 square metre space at the Western Hajj Terminal. The space is being incorporated to be as much a part of the event as the art on display.

Jeddah's wealth of historical sites, such as Bab Makkah and Al Balad, are also likely to appeal to cultural visitors.

Updated: June 09, 2024, 6:30 AM