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From 25 February until 25 March 2013 took place the exhibition "Mostly Visible" at Al Furusiya Marina, a shopping mall still under construction on the water front of the city of Jeddah. The show was an underground event, self-organized by artists (me as one of them, and as curator) with logistical support by Athr Gallery. The idea came to us while having dinner at a traditional restaurant in the countryside near Abha city. We decided to organize an exhibition in conjunction with Jeddah Art Week, which was held for the first time this year under the initiative of Sotheby's.
With our show we wanted to highlight the "real" art currently produced in Saudi Arabia, the artworks and thoughts that are directly rooted in our society. We didn't want to leave all initiative to a fancy auction house organizing an event to attract the capital, and to display some already collected works. Our goal was to show the contrast, the other side, the real side of how art can be, simple, authentic, with little funding and lots of self-effort, with the soul of team work, inspired by our own culture, our own lifestyle, issues and concerns, and raising the level of awareness of our society by drawing the attention to the social, popular, and genuine culture.
During three weeks, I traveled around Saudi Arabia to meet artists who have truthful projects that discuss contemporary issues. I selected 31 artworks created by 24 artists, 9 female and 15 male, from the age of 19 to 45. Seven of the younger ones showed their artworks for the first time ever. In the organization of the exhibition Ziad Alsayed acted as creative director, and we got a great help from the artist Nasser Alsalem, who played the role of the curator's assistant, and Mohammed Ali as site manager, as well as from the artist Rashed Alshashai, who was in charge of the logistic support. We encouraged voluntary work of Saudi youth represented by (3colors) group of young men and women.
The title "Mostly Visible" comes from the Arabic exhibition title which means "street lamp". In the dark of the night, things are mostly visible under the street light. The exhibition brought together a variety of art works and approaches, from installation, performance, video and audio art, to photography and painting. Even illuminations and geometries were included in a way that they can talk to each other, as how things can be related around us on the streets, when they are mostly visible.
We hope that the exhibition gets to travel to other countries. We wish to make known the real art scene that is still young and fresh, and to make mostly visible the development of contemporary art in Saudi Arabia.
Ayman Yossri Daydban
Sarah Abu Abdallah
Tarfa Al Saud
Palestinian poet and artist currently living in Abha, Saudi Arabia. Curator of the exhibition: Mostly Visible.
25 February - 25 March 2013
Al Furusiya Marina
Group exhibition curated by Ashraf Fayadh, in collaboration with Athr Gallery
Jeddah Art Week
Internat. Architecture Exhibition, 22 May - 21 November 2021. Curator: Hashim Sarkis.
59th International Art Exhibition, 23 April - 27 November 2022. Artistic Director: Cecilia Alemani.