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
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
Arabian Wings Gallery
The Arabian Wings gallery, is one of the most important contemporary art galleries in Saudi Arabia in terms of capacity and wall space, with an area of 1500 sqm and an 8-meter high ceiling.With its charming location in the heart of the luxurious Al Khayyat Shopping District, The Gallery has state of the art security equipment and temperature control systems as used in international museums. The Gallery is proud to exhibit works by Damien Hirst, Louai Kayyali, Banksy, Saud Mahjoub, Heba Abed, Sir Peter Blake, and Salvador Dali, to mention a few, side by side with local and international emerging artists. The Gallery holds numerous events and exhibitions, organizes seminars and workshops for artists and serves as a gateway for communication between artists and art lovers of all cultures.
Tahlia St., El Khayyat Center, L’Etoile Entrance, 3rd flr., Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, + 966 55 935 7053
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 5971
Darat Safeya Binzagr Gallery
Built to be a permanent exhibition space for the paintings of highly acclaimed Saudi painter Safeya Binzagr, the Darat Safeya Binzagr Gallery continues to exhibit a huge selection of the artist’s works. The gallery is divided into several themed spaces including rooms for her nuptial series, popular children’s games collection, fishing and hunting collection, daily activities and occupations, architectural heritage, watercolours, pastels, graphics, traditional costumes and jewellery. After returning to her hometown of Jeddah after a stint living in Egypt, Binzagr became nostalgic for the Jeddah she knew as a child as she witnessed it changing so rapidly. She turned to her paintings to recreate the city she had once adored. The gallery also hosts sporadic visiting exhibitions featuring works by both local and international artists.
Darat Safeya Binzagr Gallery, Makkah, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, +966 2657 1030
The colourful Monet-esque floral paintings, stunning landscapes, authentic Islamic artworks and delicate sceneries are what make exhibitions at the Al-Alamia so captivating. And best of all, a wide selection of original artworks by established Arab artists are also on sale at the gallery enabling admirers to take a piece of art directly home with them. Exhibitions at the Al-Alamia incorporate pieces by fine art-trained Lebanese artist Yasser Khattar, signed paintings by Mahmood Gharbawi and Abdullah Hammas, and intricate patterned works by Samir Trabulsi amongst other artists. Despite being a lesser-known gallery than some in Jeddah, the Al-Alamia is a gem for discovering beautiful and attainable artworks.
Al-Alamia Gallery, Maternity Hospital Street, Al Hamra District, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, +966 2663 5201
Catering more to locals than tourists, the Atelier Jeddah focuses primarily on the Saudi modernist style in both canvas paintings and sculptures. International visitors are very much welcome to explore the gallery however, and some of the staff speak English. The fast rotation of exhibitions means that the artwork on display at any one time is by a range of different artists, but all pieces encompass the gallery’s motive to exhibit ‘art to hang above the sofa’.
Atelier Jeddah, Tahlia, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, +966 6530 812
Nesma Art Gallery
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.
Nesma Art Gallery, Al Rawdah, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, +966 55 1624842
Hidden away inside the Ro’iya Art Consultancy, The Gallery hosts a selection of exciting rotating exhibitions focusing on works by both artists that it represents and other highly acclaimed creatives. The prestigious feel of The Gallery is captured in the bespoke furnishings and carpets carefully positioned around the exhibition space to compliment the stunning wall paintings. Over 75 artists have exhibited at The Gallery so far in the many themed exhibitions. These vary from those repeated annually such as the Rabeeyat exhibition, which occurs every spring featuring artists such as Taha Alsaban and Fatma Emran, or one-off, artist-specific shows such as one dedicated to Fahd Al Hajailan.
The Gallery, Business Park Centre, B04, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, +966 2261 1021
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