Nasser Al Salem

The Secrets of Alidades: new Jeddah show celebrates the theme of the universe

July 8, 2021 - The National - Mariam Nihal

The Saudi Art Council launched on Wednesday launched its eighth iteration of the 21,39 Jeddah Arts exhibition, titled The Secrets of Alidades. Curated by French academic Fabien Danesi, the event is showing the works of 35 artists and celebrates the theme of the universe by taking visitors on an interstellar journey. It had initially been set to open to the public in March, but was delayed owing to the pandemic.

Saudi artist and explorer Moath Alofi says his work is an extended message from the past to explore the beauty and treasures of the kingdom.

Basmah Felemban, also from Saudi Arabia, created a sonic getaway with an interactive video game installation titled The Jirri Tribe Stop (2021). It took her two years to develop the game centred on the main characters, which are catfish that try to maintain the sea's balance.

Moving away from his familiar calligraphy this year, Nasser Al Salem, from Jeddah, created his first sculpture, The First Space Shuttle, 2019-201, inspired by nomads who used tents as their habitat, but borrowing from the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule design. “This idea of mobility creates a link between nomadic Bedouins and astronauts in their use of space and their engagement with nature,” Al Salem says.


Ministry of Culture holds ‘Scripts and Calligraphy: A Timeless Journey’ exhibition

June 14, 2021 - Saudi Gazette report

The Ministry of Culture organizes an exhibition showcasing the history of Arabic calligraphy under the title "Scripts and Calligraphy: A Timeless Journey," scheduled to be held from June 16 to Aug. 21, 2021 at the National Museum, Riyadh.

The exhibition highlights the stages of the Arabic Script’s development since its very beginnings and the artistic relationship between calligraphy, contemporary art, and artificial intelligence through an exceptional journey of knowledge, featuring Saudi and international master calligraphers, contemporary artists, and designers.

The sections and contents of the “Scripts and Calligraphy: A Timeless Journey” exhibition are divided into five stages, namely, the origins of the Arabic script, the development of calligraphy, master calligraphers, calligraphy and contemporary art as well as calligraphy and artificial intelligence.

This section features works by a number of Arab designers from different majors and nationalities, namely: Ebtissam AlGosaibi, Hussein Alazaat, Hamza Al Omari, Khalid Mezaina, Rasha Dakkak, Ranim Al Halaky, Xeina AlMalki, Farah Behbehani, Margherita Abi Hanna, Milia Maroun, Mohammed Khoja, May Aboulfaraj, Nasser Al-Salem, Nadine Kanso, and Noor Saab.

The exhibition is the first of its kind combining classic Arabic calligraphy with artificial intelligence. In this path, artist Michel Paysant presents a new version of his device entitled "Eye Calligraphy Studio — A Constellation of Letters", which is one of the devices capable of exploring the roots of calligraphy and its deep mechanisms.


Light in a time of darkness

March 24, 2021 - By AFP - Global Times

As the world slowly begins to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia seeks to reengage its population with cultural activities. Noor Riyadh - which translates from Arabic to "Light of Riyadh" - is a citywide light and art festival illuminating the Saudi capital of Riyadh for the next three months.

Due to the global pandemic, 2020 was hardly characterized by cultural events or communal gatherings. But globally, society has gradually begun to emerge from a state of self-preservation, lockdowns and solitude, and begun a return to normalcy. As the Saudi public re-integrates into post-pandemic society, the Noor Riyadh festival aims to transform urban spaces into art that immerses and engages the community.

The second half of the festival, which takes the theme "Light Upon Light," is a retrospective exhibition tracking light art from the 1960s to the present. It runs until June 12 in the King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center.

Saudis are eager to leave the challenges of 2020 behind and look to a "brighter future," according to Director of Riyadh Art Khaled Al-Hazani. The festival, "a celebration of light and art on an unparalleled scale," has already proven popular with Saudis, who have flocked to see the exhibitions on display. Lulwah Al Homoud, one of the Saudi artists exhibiting her work, considers the inaugural festival as the beginning of a "golden age of Saudi art," she says.


Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present

March 23, 2021 - Rebecca Anne Proctor _ Arab News

The artworks, which encompass a range of media, including music, sculpture and performance, can be found in two main areas: The King Abdul Aziz Historical Center and the King Abdullah Financial District, where visitors can also view “Light Upon Light,” an exhibition of light art from the 1960s to the present, which is on view until June 12.
While the global art community will have to view the artworks virtually, Saudis have already been flocking to the venues in record numbers.
“One of the most critical aspects of Vision 2030 is the flourishing of the Saudi creative economy, which we are trying to foster, and this is one of the main highlights of Noor Riyadh as a program,” Anas Najmi, adviser to the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, told Arab News. “Despite all of the challenges of the pandemic, we managed to give the experience to 15,000 visitors in just one day. Secondly, over 1,200 jobs were created as part of the Noor Riyadh festival, half of which are for Saudis.”


‘Light Upon Light’ a groundbreaking lighting extravaganza for Saudi culture

March 21, 2021 - Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — The “Light Upon Light” Exhibition, which is being held at the King Abdullah Financial District as part of the first edition of Noor Riyadh, is the largest group art exhibition that monitors the artistic movement in the lighting arts since 1960s until todate.

It includes 30 masterworks of light art divided into four sectional “rays” that survey light as an artistic medium: “Perceiving Light,” “Experiencing Light,” “Projecting Light,” and “Environmental Light.” Each ray blends time and unites established artists of diverse geographic origin.

From immersive installation to video and sculpture, visitors to “Light Upon Light” will experience a richly illuminated exhibition in all its spatial and sensory phenomena. This historical presentation of light art is a groundbreaking event for culture in Saudi Arabia. Noor Riyadh, one of the world’s most exciting festivals of light and art combining the highest quality of light artworks across the city, began on March 18 and will run through until April 3. Filled with spectacular installations, the fest will light up the night sky of the capital city of Riyadh.

The “Projecting Light,” pavilion presents artworks that use the transmission of light to create the work instead of focusing on light as a medium. In 2019, Saudi artist Sultan Bin Fahd worked on the art piece titled “Once he was a ruler”, which is a collection of photographs, in which ancient sculptures depicting the kings of the ancient Lihyan Kingdom in Northern Arabia are shown, where he modified them by placing layers of X-ray images, and these images were collected, superimposed in illuminated light boxes at the event.

Through his abstract drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations, the artist tackled cultural issues related to his homeland in the Kingdom. The artist also re-narrates historical stories and novels using art, and transmits these narratives through contemporary means to reconstruct them with a personal character.

While Saudi artist Dana Awartani is participating in the event with her work “Divan Al Majhoul 2021, which combined textiles, hand embroidery and poetry.


"نور الرياض"..السعودية تشهد انطلاق احتفالية تبرز إبداع فن الضوء

March 19, 2021 - CNN Arabic

دبي، الإمارات العربية المتحدة (CNN) -- شهدت المملكة العربية السعودية، مساء الخميس، انطلاق احتفالية "نور الرياض" والتي تضمنت عرض أعمال فنية تفاعلية تعتمد على الإضاءة في مواقع متعددة بأنحاء مدينة الرياض

وتضمنت الاحتفالية مشاركة 60 من كبار الفنانين في مجال فنون الإضاءة، ينتمون لأكثر من 20 دولة حول العالم، منهم 23 من الفنانين السعوديين، وفقاً لوكالة الأنباء السعودية "واس"


وتشتمل احتفالية "نور الرياض" على 60 عملاً فنياً، تضم جميع أشكال فنون الضوء، من بينها أعمال تاريخية وهندسية وضوئية، ومنحوتات، وعروض للإضاءة، وعروض تفاعلية، وقطع حركية، وتركيبات وأعمال خارجية، ومجموعة من أشكال الفن الخفيف، يتاح لسكان وزوار مدينة الرياض الاستمتاع بها عن قرب في مختلف أرجاء المدينة، مع تخصيص مركزين رئيسين للاحتفالية في كلٍ من مركز الملك عبدالله المالي ومركز الملك عبدالعزيز التاريخي بالمربع


Saudi Arabia: Magic light festival to illuminate Riyadh

March 4, 2021 - Samir Salama, Associate Editor

The festival, dubbed Noor Riyadh, will also feature workshops, discussions, tours, presentations, volunteer programmes, cinematic and musical events, and recreational and educational activities.

“It aims to improve the city’s quality of life in line with the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and to enhance the cultural and artistic aspects of the city, by transforming Riyadh into an open art gallery that blends the traditional with the contemporary,” said Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Minister of Culture.

Prince Bin Farhan said the festival sought to enhance community interaction, spread art and beauty throughout the city, and enrich the daily life of its residents and its visitors, by promoting art in public places and the local art movement, and encouraging more creativity and innovation.



Grants scheme for Saudi artists aims to ease coronavirus pressures

May 26, 2020 - Hala Tashkandi _ Arab News

RIYADH: A Saudi art gallery has launched an initiative to provide financial grants to help support the work of artists in the Kingdom during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Athr Gallery in Jeddah recently announced its Maan (Arabic for together) project in a bid to cushion the impact of the virus outbreak on the local art scene. As part of its mission to keep the arts sustained and accessible to a wider audience, Athr has collaborated with seven artists, whose limited-edition works will be sold to fund the grants.

The artists contributing their pieces are Ahmed Mater, Ayman Yossri Daydban, Dana Awartani, Manal Al-Dowayan, Muhannad Shono, Nasser Al-Salem, and Sultan bin Fahad.


From California to Saudi Arabia: Desert X lands in Al Ula

February 10, 2020 - Stephanie D'Arc Taylor_ Evening Standard

Much of the work is exuberant and visually spectacular, from a giant swing set by the Danish collective Superflex (which first appeared in Tate Modern in 2017) to a 25ft-tall silver fuselage-type installation by American artist Gisela Colon that calls to mind a sex object outlawed in the kingdom.

Saudi artist and storyteller Muhannad Shono showed his The Lost Path installation, which binds together 65,000 black plastic pipes to wind hundreds of feet through the dunes and cliffs. The work, he says, is meant to invoke a treasure map as well as a reminder of the oil that the tubes once contained and the far-reaching effects of that modern-day treasure.


من كاليفورنيا إلى صحراء العلا... الفن المعاصر في حوار مع الطبيعة

February 5, 2020 - العلا (السعودية): عبير مشخص

في الصحراء نتواضع ونشعر بحجمنا الحقيقي في هذا الكون، يراودني الشعور أثناء رحلة نحو العلا السعودية لمعاينة معرض فني ضخم بعنوان «ديزيرت إكس». ويمثل معرض «ديزرت إكس العلا» أول تعاون دولي لـ«ديزرت إكس» الذي يقام في «كونشيلا فالي» بكاليفورنيا الأميركية وتأسس لربط المجتمعات والثقافات الصحراوية من خلال الفن المعاصر. وينظم المعرض بالتعاون مع المخرج الفني في «ديزيرت إكس» نيفيل ويكفيلد والقيّمتين والمختصتين في الفن المعاصر من المملكة رنيم فارسي وآية علي رضا.

الحافلة التي تقلنا نحو العلا محملة بجمع كثيف ومتنوع الجنسيات واللغات، كل فرد في انتظار المفاجأة المعدة لنا، وعدنا بمعر ض فني كبير وعرفنا بعض الأسماء المشاركة، وها نحن نقترب من ذلك العرض، نشغل الوقت بالأحاديث الجانبية وبالنظر من نوافذ الحافلة لتصافح أعيننا التشكيلات الصخرية الشهيرة في العلا... ولكن لنا حديث آخر مع تلك الإبداعات الصخرية، نحن الآن في الموقع حيث تبدأ عناصر المفاجأة في الظهور شيئاً فشيئاً... على مسافات تكاد تكون متساوية نرى تشكيلات فنية بعضها مكون من قطعة واحدة فقط، وبعضها الآخر من أكثر من قطعة، كل منها يبدو متواضعاً في ظلال الجبال الصخرية، لن يبزها جلالا ولكن يكتفي بأن يكون وجوده هنا نوعاً من الحوار البصري، بين الإنسان والطبيعة، بين ما شكلته الرياح والمياه على مدى قرون لا تعد من أخاديد وأحافير وفجوات في الصخور الممتدة على مدى البصر، وبين ما شكلته يد إنسانية تقدم التساؤلات والتأملات في الحياة ومعانيها.