Discover Riyadh’s Art & Culture Scene

Antara Events

Paris. Rome. New York. These are usually the first cities that come to mind when one starts thinking about arts and culture. And that is understandable; all these cities have at times been the global hotspots of the arts. But when it comes to the future, Riyadh may be on its way to earning a spot next to those cities.

Art Unveiled

Over the past few years, there has been an ongoing, concerted effort to attract artists and performers from all over the world, and to bring the unique cultural flavors of Saudi Arabia to the forefront of the artistic world in a modern way, turning Riyadh into a new hotspot for art and culture both contemporary and traditional.

To this effect, in the last years, Riyadh has been undergoing a transformation that has given rise to multiple festivals, exhibitions, events, and art installations of multiple art forms.

These include museums such as the National Museum which hosts a plethora of exhibits of cultural, artistic, and historical significance, and art galleries such as the Alajlan Art Gallery and the Naila Art Gallery, the latter being a world-renowned art venue having hosted over 300 events, tens of thousands of artworks by hundreds of artists of international fame. The former is named after Mohammed Alajlan, the famous Saudi fine artist, calligrapher, and poet, having ties to the Misk Art Institute, a non-profit organization for culture, as well as empowering and supporting local artists and initiatives.

The Misk Institute itself is constantly working on expanding the artistic and cultural horizons by not only supporting artists and initiatives but also by fostering youth programs encouraging the development and growth of the arts and local artists, expanding Saudi Arabia’s artistic horizons with influences from within and without. Indeed, some of the most recognized Saudi artists such as Nada el-Reemi and Dana Awartan, acclaimed in both Saudi and beyond, have been active in several different art fields, including classical ones such as painting and sculpting, as well as more culturally significant fields such as poetry, textiles, calligraphy and Avant Garde, bending technology to art’s will with advanced 3D mapping. Both the forms, the tools as well and the themes of Saudi art are constantly reaching new horizons and always aiming beyond them, while at the same time keeping a firm footing on the traditional Saudi foundation of arts like calligraphy.

What else?

Of course, no art scene would be complete without a full house of all the arts, and Riyadh’s evolving scene is no exception, hosting a multitude of theatre, cinema, and music productions and festivals, representing, perhaps, formerly more discreet but now a veritably bustling contemporary take on the stage, vinyl, and celluloid arts. These productions and festivals cover all spectrums of these arts, from the experimental indie works to the grandiose bombastic multi-million productions and concerts.

With the above being only a small introduction to Saudi Arabia’s rich artistic history and highly promising future, do not be surprised if in the future you find yourself talking about art and mentioning Riyadh in the same breath as Paris, Rome, or New York.