Less than a decade ago, Saudi Arabia had almost no art galleries. Now, Saudi Arabia has a thriving art and culture scene which is growing rapidly. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al Saud has outwardly acknowledged the value of contemporary art and culture, and in an attempt to diversity it's economy away from oil, Saudi Arabia has been designating significant funding to the arts and culture. Exampled by Saudi Arabia and France discussing a development set to create a billion dollar open air museum which showcases Saudi history in the Gulf Kingdom.
Here are 10 examples of Saudi Arabia's most exciting and pioneering contemporary artists according to culturetrip.
Co-founder of Edge of Arabia Collective, Mater stands at the forefront of contemporary art in Saudi Arabia. A student of medicine in order to better understand anatomy, Mater’s work investigates the presentation and representation of the Gulf Kingdom’s history through film, photography and installation.
Originally an officer in the Saudi Army, and co-founder of Edge of Arabia Collective, AlDowayan’s work maintains a balance between political comment and religious respect, united by fearlessness and a willingness to question authority through sculpture.
Sarah Abu Abdallah
Originally a painter, Sarah Abu Abdallah investigates gender in Saudi culture through photography, film, and installation. Her recent work has focussed on the concept of covering bodies and objects.
Shadia & Raja Alem
The Alem sister's installations and classical portrait paintings tackle with issues such as Islam, woman’s rights and the fixity of Saudi society in the era of globalisation. Shadia and Raja Alem were honoured as the first ever artists to represent Saudi Arabia at the Venice Biennale.
Ayman Yossri Daydban
Palestinian-born, Jordanian national, and Saudia-based artist Ayman Yossri Daydban deals predominantly, and unsurprisingly, with identity through Palestinian history.
Inspired by traditional Islamic art, Awartani utilises the symbolic nature of geometric shapes and patterns to convey spiritual and religious concepts such as sacred truth, beauty, infinity, unity, and divine creation.
Looking through the deceits of modern society, Faisal Samra aims to document the present whilst focussing on texture and feel through the use of film, photography and painting.
Noura Bouzo, the most acclaimed figures in the Saudi art world, co-founded and directed the country's first art magazine 'Saudi Design Week' at just 23 years old. Bouzo's paintings cast a humorous eye on Saudi society, alongside object-based installations which comment on modern society.
Sarah Mohanna Al-Abdali
Graphic designer turned street artist, Al-Abdali began on the streets of Jeddah with graffiti that denounced the city of Mecca from holy city to commercial metropolis. Al-Abdali's works are conversationalist and radical, focussing on the disappearing heritage and history of Hejaz.