Jeddah’s Must-Visit Contemporary Art Galleries

At the gallery
At the gallery | Photo by Frank R on Unsplash
Chloe Hay

A simple stroll around the streets of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia is enough to discover hundreds of art wonders in this open-air art gallery of a city. But, of course, the indoor galleries are on the rise too. Here are the best who bring international appreciation to local artists and Middle Eastern creativity.
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Athr Gallery

Athr Gallery

Founded in 2009 to act as a platform for both emerging and established Saudi Arabian and international artists, the Athr Gallery is one of Jeddah’s leading contemporary art spaces and one of the most celebrated and renowned galleries in the country. Through exhibitions of photographs, montages, ink drawings, scripture, sculpture and abstract work, Athr represents a large collection of Saudi artists such as Sara Abdu, Arwa Al Neami, Shadia Alem and Ahmed Mater. The traditional kaleidoscopic Arabian patterns and vivid colours that fill some of the gallery’s walls turn a casual meander around an exhibition into a hypnotically trance-like experience.

Athr Gallery, Tahlia Street, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, +966 2284 5009

The Saudi Centre for Fine Arts

As much a place for learning new crafts as viewing art exhibitions, The Saudi Centre for Fine Arts has been around for 25 years. With a series of paintings by Mona Al-Qasabi of homely, everyday scenes in slightly blurred hues of reds and golds and a programme of engaging art courses, the art space offers a number of attractions to keep visitors coming back. Courses are divided up into male, female and children’s classes with subject focuses varying from photography to pottery, ceramics to calligraphy, oil painting to drawing and digital imagery. All staff members are bilingual in Arabic and English enabling visitors to participate in the workshops as well as peruse the exhibitions.

The Saudi Centre for Fine Arts, Tahlia Street, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, +966 663 597

Nesma Art Gallery

As Jeddah’s newest art gallery, the Nesma Art Gallery only opened in February 2014. It’s a very airy art space with monotone grey-washed floors and white walls but is completely brought to life by the floor-to-ceiling technicoloured square paintings which envelop the gallery space. Managed by local Saudi artist Mohammed Al Ablan, the Nesma Art Gallery aims to be a platform for local artists, and its multitude of exhibition spaces allows it to showcase several artists simultaneously. The gallery’s first-ever exhibition featured a collection of Abdullah Hamas’ historically influenced paintings in his much-admired blending of contemporary and post-modern styles.

Rochan Gallery

Art gallery

Nestled between high-end boutiques and upmarket exhibition spaces along Jeddah’s Golden Mile, Tahlia Street, the Rochan Gallery shares its home with the nearby Athr Gallery, Jeddah Atelier and The Saudi Center for Fine Arts. Rochan fills its exhibition spaces with an impressive fine arts collection. Two of the prestigious Saudi photographers that exhibit work there include Faismal Samra and Shadia Alem: Samra is an independent artist living in Bahrain who specialises in innovative digital photography and video installations, and Alem is a self-taught artist from Mecca recognised for her captivating photos and clever use of light.

Rochan Gallery, Al Andalus, 9778, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, +966 6764 4172

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