Myrna Award writes about Al Hangar (The Warehouse) an initiative by young Saudi artists, who describe it as a cultural movement which aims to “ignite a sense of community.”
Artists are individually invited to show work at Al Hangar, similarly to a biennial. And so far, they’ve been inundated with requests to participate, an indication of both the buzz around the alternative space, and the growing energy around Saudi’s art scene.
The initiative is led by Ramy Alquthamy and Nasser Al Salem who hope to provide this sense of community for emerging Saudi artists, the “generation in waiting” as they were referred to in Edge of Arabia’s exhibition from a couple of years ago, Rhizoma, which aimed:
to provide a clear vision of the radical transformation in Saudi art, which is now more affiliated with its roots, to the real culture represented by the awareness of the different living conditions in Saudi Arabia. This awareness is creating a strong message from a new generation of artists to formulate art in their own way.
“If you’ll give them a space where at least they can speak freely — that’s the beginning, and I think that’s what’s missing in this country,” he says. “If you go to school, you cannot say what you want. If you go to mosque, you cannot say what you want [because of] family pressure, society pressure.”
Among the pieces featured in Al Hangar was “Al Salem’s green neon Arabi/Gharbi (2016), meaning Arabic/Westerner. In Arabic, the first letter for both words is differentiated by a dot, which flashes against the bare brick wall. “I’m talking about Jeddah, how some orient to the West and others to the East,” he says.”