Riyadh Art is one of the four major projects launched by His Royal Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, supervised by the Committee of Grand Projects under His Royal Highness’s leadership, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
Riyadh, Arabic Al-Riyāḍ, is the capital of Saudi Arabia with a population of 7.6 million people.
The city Riyadh derives its name from the plural of the Arabic rawḍah, which means gardens or meadows, so named for the natural fertility provided by its location at the time of Wadis Ḥanīfah and Al-Batha.
The magnificent sight of Riyadh from the air, illuminated in the evening by city lights, is nostalgic of its eponymous meadows; a bright sea of lights doting the desert as if a fluorescent flower garden has blossomed among its dark contours.
Life in Riyadh revolves around the city’s numerous busy shopping centers and more than 4,000 mosques.
The city’s central hub and its many souks (marketplaces) attract heavy pedestrian traffic, emphasizing its intense vitality. As the residents of a major city in a mainly Muslim country, Riyadh’s inhabitants adhere to the family’s privacy, and recreational activities are often a family affair.
Riyadh Becomes An Open-Air Gallery
The Royal Commission for Riyadh City has transformed the capital into a living canvas, positioning the Royal capital as a global top ten city in line with the ambition of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals.
Riyadh Art Programs and Events
There are choices for all and inspiration. Ten major programs continue to enchant visitors as the citywide exhibition continues throughout the city, and the two annual festivals cement the vision for Riyadh as a city of culture.
Noor Riyadh, 9 April– 29 May 2021
Noor Riyadh, the new annual festival of light and art, comprises diverse talks, workshops, and events spread across the city.
With numerous public art installations across Riyadh city, ‘Light Upon Light: Light Art since the 1960s’ is a landmark exhibition of light art.
Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium, 10 November– 2 December 2021
Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium, the 22-day event, is a platform for international and Saudi artists to create public sculptures in a live setting.
The program will consist of 20 international sculptors coming together to produce a series of permanent public sculptures.
The entire creative process is open and accessible to the public with events, visits, and talks. The works of the international band of artists will be exhibited for five days at the Symposium end before relocation to various outdoor locations across the city.
Urban Art Lab
Planned are four pavilions, 4 Interactive artworks at eight urban locations. Galleries will be provided for well-known artists in city squares to encourage interaction between artists and citizens.
Each pavilion will include a digital artwork and cultural programming, blended as production atelier, gallery, artist studio, open-air classroom, office, and lecture space altogether.
Joyous Gardens program is designed to provide 200 spaces for creative play with the idea of giving a healthy and vibrant urban life in Riyadh at its core.
It features more than 200 artist-designed playgrounds located in small, medium, and large Riyadh parks as dynamic, inspiring, and educational places to stoke creativity, adventure and encourage exploration of the natural world.
Famous artists reinvent 3000 elements of traditional play equipment, such as the slide, climbing frame, roundabout, and swing.
The addition of imaginative sculptural forms offers dynamic seating and creative play. The artistic canopies provide shelter from the elements, a place for building the social connect, in the true sense of community.
Jewels In Riyadh
These jewels are to be permanent, large-scale site-specific installations. The planned 15 artworks at 15 locations form an ongoing program to enhance public spaces, celebrate cultural heritage, contribute to community building.
Improving the quality of urban life for residents and attract international tourism. Jewels in Riyadh draw ideas and inspiration from the civic spaces sprawling the city, focusing on the most frequented places of the people.
The “gates of culture,” a grand series of entrances to Riyadh, heralding it as a city of culture.
Ten welcoming Gateways of Riyadh set the tone at its entrance as a city where its arts and creativity are essential components of a vibrant and inspiring global city.
Art On The Move
This is a series of 19 specific kinetic art interventions of large-scale, high-impact, and color. Each art designed to support Riyadh’s wayfinding experience will provide a joyful everyday experience.
These are to be integrated into the city’s core infrastructure, placed at major road and rail intersections.
Art In Transit
The ‘Art in Transit’ program integrates public art and Riyadh’s Metro and BRT bus system to create beautiful and distinctive stations.
This innovative Art program fosters interaction amongst citizens through the expanse of 6 metro lines, 80 stations, three bus terminals, and more than 1000 stations and stops.
Art and design are working together to provide a layered sense of engagement.
Urban Flow is about integrating public art into the citywide network of pedestrian walkways and footpaths, allowing citizens to experience art and the city together.
Shifting its focus from a transport system that privileges the car, the city is making a transition to public transportation, encouraging the pedestrians and cyclists into the streets and onto the Metro to experience the capital city’s creative canvas.
The Hidden River, The Illuminated Bridges
Three artists will illuminate key bridges across the city, highlighting the bridge’s structural configuration as the physical, social, and emotional connector to the landscape—a distinctive, vibrant experience for everybody.
The Hidden River – Art Trail
Artists promote the community’s artisanal and artistic spirit while interpreting Riyadh’s wadis’ unique history, heritage, and ecology.
The Hidden River art trail with more than 100 artworks explores and reimagines traditional craft-based techniques at 5 locations.
Garden city is a sculpture park for the 21st century, driving new interpretations of art, environment, technology, and environmental engagements to experience interactive and contemporary art outside the museum.
Accessible to all as a platform for small and mid-sized permanent and movable outdoor art pieces programmed as part of the park’s creative experience.
One location, one icon, the ‘Riyadh Icon’ is a dedicated creation of the 21st-century, a distinctive icon for Riyadh and Saudi Arabia. The ambitious international commission is the physical manifestation of the cultural aspirations of Vision 2030.
The Riyadh Icon will usher in the Saudi era to celebrate a global community, one that sparks creativity, igniting an art movement, encouraging self-expression, and creating an inclusive culture.