International artists bring diversity to Jeddah’s art scene


JEDDAH: An international multidisciplinary art gallery is opening Thursday, bringing diversity to the art scene in Jeddah.
R Gallery is hosting 13 artists from the Middle East, Europe and the US under one roof in “The Collection” exhibition.
“The idea behind the exhibition and its title… is that the collection of artwork isn’t subject to any intellectual limits,” Mona Haraghi, co-founder and curator of R Gallery, told Arab News.
Displayed artwork will include photographs, paintings, sculptures and visual art from several international art schools.
Many of the pieces have been displayed in galleries in the art capitals of London, New York, Paris and Florence, while others will be debuted at “The Collection.”
Among the standout pieces at the exhibition is Jordanian Hilda Hiary’s piece on Syrian refugees.
There are seven paintings by the late Moroccan artist Farid Belkahia, with poems for each piece.
Belkahia asked Syrian veteran poet Adonis to write him a poem for each painting, said Haraghi.
She has curated exhibitions in the Kingdom and abroad, inviting Saudi artists to exhibitions abroad and international artists to Saudi galleries.
“To enrich the art scene in Saudi Arabia, you have to present artwork from different art schools carrying various ideas that allow constructive debates,” she said.
“It’s more interesting to bring a French, American, Spanish or Italian artist to the Middle East and to take Arab artists to Europe and America.”
The exhibition will bring together old-school photography — developing photos in a darkroom — represented by artist Reem Al-Faisal, while Mona Al-Zubair will showcase her digital photography.
“Every artwork has a beautiful story behind it,” Haraghi said, adding that the artists had the freedom to express their thoughts in their artworks about the subjects that meant the most to them.
The participating artists are Al-Faisal, Saddeik Wassil, Al-Zubair and Abdulaziz Ashour from Saudi Arabia; Ghada Khunji from Bahrain; Hiary from Jordan; Hatem Al-Ahmed from Syria; Belkahia from Morocco; Mohammed Al-Shammary from Iraq; Dougie Wallace from the UK; René Gruau from France; and Bill Claps and Lilian Bassman from the US.
R Gallery, founded by Al-Faisal and Haraghi in 2015, focuses on international contemporary art. The exhibition is open to the public from 7 p.m. for a month.