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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — The concepts that form the narrative of the exhibition are weaved into visual scenes, light and movement, and sculptures presenting different conditions of the human psyche. Many of the artworks call for understanding the existence in modern life, and all these observations were accumulated by a group of artists participating in the From Within exhibition. The exhibition, organized by the Ministry of Culture, coincides with the Ad-Diriyah Season and will help transform the city into a core of culture and modern art.
The exhibition includes many forms of visual art and installations that raise questions about the relationship between architecture and human behavior, and how human experiences and the nature of society reflect on the substance of civilization development.
In the exhibition, Donia AlShetairy presents an installation titled "The Cradle of Civilization", which consists of a set of balls inside a hollow space. This rigid installation turns into a lively work when light is shed on its moving shadows. By using light and the visual-motor scene evoked by this work, the artist expresses a symbolic image of human adaptation, the relationship between culture and civilization, and the environment that embraces them.
"Snapshots of Life" by Fatima Adawood is a collection of bronze sculptures that represent different states of our modern-day existence. The installation is spread out across the gallery space, interacting with the architectural elements of the space. In the piece, the artist positions herself as an observer, representing different moments of life in an exaggerated manner. Each sculpture implicitly raises a question about our collective existence. The individual sculptures are intended as conversation starters that encourage the viewer to reevaluate those moments of life as they come along the different pieces throughout the exhibition.
Eman Alwahby's work represents the importance of a prayer mat — in its various shapes and sizes — and examines the chronological sequence of all the shapes of mats and the evolution of their fabric. The work invites the audience to reflect on the other intangible dimensions of the mats, such as how they were the most valuable gifts from those coming after performing Umrah, how some mats' tissues were associated with nostalgia, and what each viewer remembers when looking at their prayer mat.
"Sustainability" by Emily Relf is an installation that resulted from an initial photo series in the desert conducted by the artist. The piece includes approximately 150 cast plaster bottles, painted in either black or white or gilded in faux gold leaf. The bottles sit on a bed of dirt and hand-woven carpets; the artificial landscape, including the viewers, is reflected in a large mirror that frames the installation. This reflection is a literal gesture that aims to instill a more empathetic and reflective experience in regard to modern living; the artist encourages the viewers to examine their relationship with consumerism and to evaluate its influence and how it informs the future of the environment for themselves and for future generations.
The exhibition is part of the Quality of Life initiatives, which is one of the programs that are designed to achieve the Kingdom's 2030 Vision. It also is part of a comprehensive plan developed by the Ministry of Culture to transform Ad-Diriyah into a contemporary arts area exhibiting art from the Kingdom and around the globe.
From Within emphasizes the role of the ministry in supporting high-level artistic and cultural activities. The exhibition also highlights the ministry's quest to open doors for artists to showcase their talent and creativity to local and international audiences.
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