riyadh: alaan artspace opening

© alaan artspace - a new dynamic space that anchors contemporary art in saudi arabia 

when thinking of contemporary art, saudi arabia doesn't immediately pop up in your mind as a middle eastern hotbed of unbridled creativity. yet it's in the country's capital city of riyadh - often regarded as a bastion of conservatism - where an audacious multi-functional venue recently opened its doors. established by brother and sister neama and mohammed al-sudairy, a gallery, library, restaurant and a shop have been blended into the alaan artspace formula. having been educated and working abroad, the art-savvy owners aim to provide a platform for a growing number of saudi artists in a country that has virtually no contemporary arts scene. the venue's other facilities have been incorporated to stimulate and an interaction with the community but also gives alaan artspace needed leverage to stage non-commercial exhibitions, stock its research library and develop other projects it sees fit. the venue's inaugural show is called softpower, and features new commissions by emerging multi-media saudi artists sarah abu abdallah and sarah mohanna al-abdali, and a special loan by one of the country's leading artists, manal al dowayan. while varied in style and methodology, their works employ a nuanced and at times humorous approach towards exploring the position of women within contemporary society, forgoing militant tactics for those of solidarity, ambiguity and irony [on through dec 10]. location: 280 al urubah road [olaya].

© alaan art space - the softpower exhibition at alaan artspace