The Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium, part of Saudi Arabia’s public festival Riyadh Art, has announced the winners of its 2021 event.
Anna Korver from New Zealand claims first prize, while Haider Alawi Al Alawi and Kim De Ruysscher have been recognised for second and third place, respectively.
Over the past three weeks, a total of 20 artists selected for Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium have been producing their works live open air. Using local white marble, the selected sculptors have been tasked with creating works related to Tuwaiq Mountains found along the Najd plateau. The artists were selected from 400 applicants from 71 countries, and those chosen were flown to the kingdom to produce the works.
Korver’s The Lighthouse features angular abstract forms that refer to human figures, while Al Alawi, a Saudi sculptor and calligrapher, was recognised for the textured detail of his work Desert Lines that recalls the landscape and the rippling sand dunes of Saudi Arabia. Belgian artist De Ruysscher’s Unseen explores illusions and concealment with a tableau that looks like draped cloth while also evoking mountain peaks.
Now in its second year, the Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium began in mid-November with a programme of talks and workshops centered around sculpture and public art. The 2021 iteration was themed The Poetics of Space, investigating ideas of light and shadow, matter and negative space.
Following a week-long display of the completed sculptures in Riyadh’s Jax District until December 10, the winning works, as well as the remaining 17 artworks by different artists, will be moved to permanent locations throughout the city in the coming weeks.
Once an industrial area in Ad Diriyah just outside of Riyadh, the Jax District, which opened earlier this year, has been converted into an arts and culture neighbourhood with exhibition spaces, artist studios and art galleries. This week, it will also be the site of the Ad Diriyah Biennale of contemporary art.
This year’s Tuwaiq symposium was curated by Iraqi-Danish artist Ali Jabbar, whose career stretches four decades and who has produced monumental stone and stainless steel sculptures in cities around the world, including Istanbul, Tehran, Ankara, Manama, Beirut and Dubai.