After Rain Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale 2024

The Diriyah Biennale Foundation
The Diriyah Biennale Foundation at the JAX District, Riyadh. © Diriyah Biennale Foundation.

The second edition of the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, named After Rain, debuted on February 20 and will be open to the public until May 24, 2024. Organized by the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, After Rain is overseen by Artistic Director Ute Meta Bauer and is situated in the JAX District, a hub of creativity with industrial roots in the historic town of Diriyah. Showcasing the works of artists from Saudi Arabia and around the globe, the exhibition delves into the evolving landscape of contemporary art within a nation undergoing rapid societal transformation.

After Rain serves as a platform for artists from diverse backgrounds to explore various themes, including the relationship between humanity and nature, the examination of constructed environments, and reflections on landscapes and histories. It fosters engagement through a dynamic array of formats, including exhibitions, public programs under the Biennale Encounters series, film screenings, performances, research initiatives, and dialogues.

The Biennale features 177 artworks by 100 individual artists and groups, with over 30 representing the broader Gulf region. Noteworthy contributions include 47 newly commissioned pieces by artists such as Jumana Emil Abboud, Sara Abdu, Mohammad AlFaraj, Azra Akšamija, Tarek Atoui, Rachaporn Choochuey, Vikram Divecha, Christine Fenzl, Anne Holtrop, Armin Linke & Ahmed Mater, NJOKOBOK (Youssou Diop and Apolonija Šušteršič), as well as Camille Zakharia. Additionally, the exhibition includes a prominent installation by Tania Mouraud at a roundabout and a long-term project by Mariah Lookman showcased at Shamalat, a cultural space on the outskirts of old Diriyah.

Many of the featured artworks in After Rain center on fundamental human needs like water, food, and shelter. Informed by extensive artistic research and inspired by the curatorial team’s travels across Saudi Arabia, the exhibition facilitates a multigenerational dialogue among artists. It offers visitors a multisensory experience, emphasizing touch, taste, and smell alongside visual and auditory elements, inviting them to embark on an immersive journey.

Spanning six expansive halls across 12,900 square meters, the exhibition also spills into adjacent courtyards and terraces, transforming these spaces into artistic installations and social hubs. Various shaded gathering spots, including a communal kitchen and a juice bar, provide opportunities for interaction. Since April 2023, the Biennale Encounters series has been engaging local audiences with artist talks, workshops, and performances, while a purpose-built black box theater showcases a rotating selection of films. A dedicated area highlights research-based works and the creative processes behind the exhibited artworks. The Learning Garden, a digital extension of the Biennale, will remain accessible after the exhibition concludes in May.

About the Diriyah Biennale Foundation

Established in 2020, the Diriyah Biennale Foundation plays a vital role in fostering creative expression and nurturing an appreciation for culture and the arts amidst the evolving landscape of Saudi Arabia. Through its alternating Biennales—the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale in Diriyah’s JAX district and the Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah—the Foundation aims to promote lifelong learning, offering both local and international audiences the opportunity to engage with the burgeoning local art scene. These Biennales, occurring during a significant period of evolution and growth in Saudi Arabia, feature renowned artists, facilitate cultural exchange, promote dialogue and understanding, and position Saudi Arabia as a prominent cultural hub on the global stage.

List of participating artists
Hamra Abbas, Jumana Emil Abboud, Sara Abdu, Irene Agrivina, Alia Ahmad, Azra Akšamija, Nabila Al Bassam, Tara Aldughaither & Joe Namy, Rasha Al-Duwaisan, Mohammad AlFaraj, Dhali Al Mamoon, Reem Al Nasser, Daniah AlSaleh, Abdulrahman Al-Soliman, Aseel AlYaqoub, El Anatsui, Nazgol Ansarinia, Rasheed Araeen, Siah Armajani, Andrius Arutiunian, Martha Atienza, Tarek Atoui, Dana Awartani, Asma Bahmim, bahraini—danish, Sammy Baloji, Zarina Bhimji, Ursula Biemann, Safeya Binzagr, Rossella Biscotti, Bricklab, Britto Arts Trust, Muhanned Cader, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise, Rachaporn Choochuey, Tiffany Chung, Ade Darmawan, Priyageetha Dia, Vikram Divecha, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Alexander Eriksson Furunes & Sudar Khadka, Alia Farid, Christine Fenzl, Ângela Ferreira, Simryn Gill, Anne Holtrop, Hiba Ismail, Saodat Ismailova, Joan Jonas, Susanne Kriemann, Liang Shaoji, Armin Linke & Ahmed Mater, Liu Chuang, Mariah Lookman, Nidhi Mahajan & Moad Mosbahi, Taus Makhacheva, Robin Meier Wiratunga, The Migrant Ecologies Project, Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Regina Maria Möller, James Morris, Tania Mouraud, Zarina Muhammad, Dala Nasser, Hind Nasser, Hussein Nassereddine, Filwa Nazer, Nguyễn Trinh Thi, NJOKOBOK, Elia Nurvista, Phi Phi Oanh, Lucy + Jorge Orta, Jorge Otero-Pailos, Sopheap Pich, Marjetica Potrč, Lala Rukh, Arin Rungjang, Tomás Saraceno, Citra Sasmita, Seher Shah, Hassan Sharif, Shooshie Sulaiman, syn architects, Tang Da Wu, Paulo Tavares / autonoma, TAYYŪN, Sissel Tolaas, Anaïs Tondeur, Mona Vătămanu & Florin Tudor, Suzann Victor, Munem Wasif, Ines Weizman, Jana Winderen, Yang Fudong, Yeo Siew Hua, Liam Young, Camille Zakharia, Samia Zaru, Feifei Zhou.

After Rain
Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale 2024
February 20–May 24, 2024

Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale
JAX District
Saudi Arabia

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