Inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale in Saudi Arabia extended until May

Held in Jeddah, the event features more than 250 Islamic artefacts and several commissions

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Saudi Arabia's Islamic Arts Biennale has been extended by another month.

The inaugural event, held at the Hajj Terminal of the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, will continue until May 23.

It will allow more visitors to see about 280 Islamic cultural artefacts on display and the more than 50 new commissions and contemporary artworks by new and seasoned regional artists.

"The positive reception from our local, regional and international audiences and the popularity of the exhibition made an extension a natural step and we would like to take this opportunity to encourage those who have yet to visit to take this immersive, multi-sensory journey through the past, present and future of the Islamic Arts," said Aya Al-Bakree, chief executive of the organisers the Diriyah Biennale Foundation.

"For repeat visitors, there will be an engaging line-up of public programming during the additional month to discover newer dimensions associated with Islamic Arts.”

Inside Islamic Arts Biennale

Inside Islamic Arts Biennale

The artworks and exhibition showcase characteristics of the Islamic faith and the roles of sacred cities such as Makkah and Madinah.

Highlights include Epiphamania: The First Light by Nora Alissa, a series of photos depicting pilgrims around the Kaaba, captured from beneath her abaya. Taken from ground level of the holy site, the images draw the audience into the experience itself.

With Wave Catcher, fellow Saudi artist and researcher Basmah Felemban creates an installation that materialises the athan, Islam's call to prayer, into a series of waveforms — evoking the breath that Muslims take in between each verse and word.

"For so long, we have been waiting for a space, and an opportunity to define ourselves in our own image, from our perspective and from our voices. And to be able to share that definition of who we are with the world is very special," the biennale’s artistic director Sumayya Vally previously told The National.

“I hope that even non-Muslims who come to see it will feel something resonant with their own communities and spiritual practices, whatever that may be. Because I think that underneath everything, we're all connected."

Updated: April 23, 2023, 8:00 AM