Ancient Arabian Desert Hosts Spectacular Second Edition of Desert X AlUla With 15 New Artworks Exploring Ideas of Mirage and Oasis

Free and open to all, the international exhibition features work by contemporary artists placed in the majestic AlUla desert, home to a lush oasis valley, towering sandstone mountains and ancient heritage sites.

Jim Denevan, Angle of Repose, installation view, Desert X AlUla 2022

The second edition of Desert X AlUla takes place 11 Feb. - 30 March 2022, placing visionary contemporary artworks by 15 Saudi and international artists amidst the extraordinary desert landscape of AlUla, a majestic region of natural and creative heritage in northwest Saudi Arabia, steeped in a legacy of cross-cultural exchange. 

The exhibited works range from a sculpture inspired by the vernacular architecture and natural formations of AlUla to a soundscape installation of audio projections in a rocky cavern. Coral-like forms with temperature-sensitive surfaces reflect the effects of climate change, while an underground greenhouse provides a lush sanctuary for native plants. Installations consisting of stainless steel, camel skins, plastic water gallons and algorithmic patterns feature elsewhere. 

With the theme of Sarab, the exhibition explores ideas of mirage and oasis, both intrinsic to desert history and culture, that have taken on complex worldwide significance over time. The participating artists responded to these ancient concepts, producing works that address dreams, camouflage, fiction, dis/appearance, extraction, illusion and myth, while also examining the dichotomy between the natural and man-made worlds. 

The first site-responsive exhibition of its kind in Saudi Arabia, Desert X AlUla is a collaboration between Desert X and The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) established to advance new cultural dialogue through art. Building on the legacy of Desert X in California, Desert X AlUla draws on principles of land art, offering an opportunity to experience art on a monumental scale in dialogue with nature. A highlight of AlUla Arts Festival, Desert X AlUla 2022 also includes training programmes, workshops, family events, dance and music performances and other community activities.

AlUla is a place of extraordinary human and natural heritage, holding 200,000 years of unexplored history. It is home to the 52-hectare ancient city of Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by the Nabataeans over 2,000 years ago and comprising more than 100 tombs. historically lying on the incense trade route and once capital to the ancient Kingdom of Dadan, AlUla has been at the crossroads of cultural exchange for millennia.

Today, AlUla is a living museum of heritage, arts and nature, rekindling its legacy as a vital cultural destination. By 2035, AlUla will be home to 15 new landmark destinations for culture, heritage and creativity, each designed in careful dialogue with the region's unique natural landscape, including museums, galleries, research centres and arts districts.

Desert X AlUla 2022 takes place under the curatorial vision of Reem Fadda, Raneem Farsi and Neville Wakefied. The exhibiting artists are: Shadia Alem, Dana Awartani, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Claudia Comte, Shezad Dawood, Jim Denevan, Stephanie Deumer, Sultan Bin Fahad, Zeinab AlHashemi, Alicja Kwade, Shaikha AlMazrou, Abdullah AlOthman, Khalil Rabah, Monika Sosnowska and Ayman Zedani. 

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Source: Desert X AlUla

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