With Participation of International Artists, AlUla Arts Festival Kicks Off with New Art Projects

With Participation of International Artists, AlUla Arts Festival Kicks Off with New Art Projects

The third annual AlUla Arts Festival, under its new banner of Art Unframed, with an expansive program of events, exhibitions, and creative initiatives, will take place across 22 days in the stunning landscape of the ancient oasis of AlUla.

Inaugurated in 2022, and part of the annual AlUla Moments calendar of events, the AlUla Arts Festival features an exciting mix of creativity, including local, regional, and international artists, performers, curators, collectors, and more.

The winner of the largest art prize in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Obaid Alsafi, unveils his winning artwork, Palms in Eternal Embrace. The sixth annual prize run by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is the first in collaboration with Arts AlUla, as part of a wider partnership between both organizations to combine their respective efforts to support creativity.

Wadi Al Fann presents Manal Al Dowayan, one of Saudi Arabia's most significant contemporary artists, in the lead-up to her new land-art commission, Oasis of Stories, a large-scale labyrinthine installation inspired by AlUla Old Town, which will be permanently placed in AlUla’s monumental desert landscape in 2026. During AlUla Arts Festival, two adjacent exhibitions -- featuring drawing, ceramic, soft sculpture, painting and weaving -- take place in AlJadidah Arts District, at the heart of AlUla’s community.

The first exhibition marks a milestone in the development of Oasis of Stories: on display are hundreds of drawings gathered from the artist’s participatory workshops with communities across AlUla. These drawings and stories will eventually be inscribed into the walls of Oasis of Stories, enabling AlUla’s residents to leave their permanent trace in Wadi Al Fann.

A parallel exhibition presented in collaboration with Sabrina Amrani Gallery, titled, “Their Love Is Like All Loves, Their Death Is Like All Deaths,” delves further into AlDowayan’s practice, with works including: soft sculptures made of tussar silk printed with images related to AlUla’s heritage; labyrinth-like drawings inspired by AlUla Old Town; engraved clay works made of mud gathered from across Saudi Arabia; and wall pieces featuring Sadu textile weaving, a technique traditionally used by Bedouin women.

AlUla presents two Artist Residency exhibitions, the Visual Art Residency exhibition “The Shadow Over Everything,” and the Design Residency exhibition “Unguessed Kinships,” which will run until April 30, emphasizing AlUla's emerging role as a focal point for cultural exchange and artistic innovation in the region.