Politics and poetry: Imran Pratapgarhi delights crowds in Riyadh

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RIYADH: Athr Foundation has opened the largest young Saudi artist exhibition featuring 25 emerging artists at Ethr Residency, Diriyah.

The eighth YSA exhibition, which runs until March 18, 2024, explores the theme of “Purpose” and showcases a variety of artworks that highlight the talents of the Kingdom’s young artists.

(Photo by Abdurrahman Bin Shalhub)

Artist Zahiyah Alradadi presents the poignant work “Numb,” a painting that reflects an individual’s battle with depression while sitting in the dark.

Alradadi has been working on her oil paintings for three years to capture her emotional intensity as accurately as possible.


• The eighth Saudi Young Artists Exhibition will run until March 18, 2024.

• The exhibition is organized by renowned artist Rami Farooq.

“I’ve given up on art many times,” she says. I had to change my approach and make art without thinking. When a self-destructive thought tries to pull me down, I let my emotions come, but I refuse to let myself stop.

Finally, Alradadi gave up on erasing her paintings and started painting them, showing that she painted them.

Youssef Fageh, Saudi artist

She said: “Then I tried to build on each layer, maybe at some point I would love what I was doing.

Artist Youssef Fageh presents three paintings titled “Electric Series, Triptych,” a collection of highly realistic paintings of electrical boxes inspired by the recent hurricane power outages in Florida.

Artist Zahiyah Alradadi presents “Numb,” a touching painting of an individual sitting in the dark, reflecting on her battle with depression. (Photo by Abdurrahman Bin Shalhub)

In a world dependent on electricity, Fageh’s artwork shows the importance of an overlooked source of energy and how disruptive its interruptions can be.

Talking about the thought process behind his paintings, he says, “I was painting these electrical boxes when the electricity went out. That was kind of the switch for me to think that this should go further. I started trying to find images that I thought would be the best fit for this project. The work is what unwittingly unites us in the community and in our community.”

The work is what unwittingly unites us with the community and the things in our community.

Yusuf FegeSaudi artist

Using photographic references and meticulous attention to detail, Fageh creates a work that looks almost perfect.

His artistic technique is based on the use of adventurous color combinations to control the mood of the painting.

(Photo by Abdurrahman Bin Shalhub)

“One of the fun things for me in the process of painting is painting the bricks, because I paint them one by one and every time I paint a new brick, I start from scratch and mix a new color on the plate. At that point you go into a strange hypnotic state, just painting brick after brick after brick. Sometimes it’s annoying, sometimes it’s meditative.

Saudi artist Latifah Al-Bokhari’s work, titled “To Nurture and Nurture,” features a linen sofa with two bodies.

Saudi artist Latifah Al Bokhari’s work, titled “To Care and Care,” features a two-dimensional linen sofa that conveys a special memory.
(Photo by Abdurrahman Bin Shalhub)

“I created my artwork by going to design the couch and then applying cyanotype to the sun’s UV-sensitive material. Then the next step was me and my best friend sitting on the couch and printing it together,” she said.

Al-Bokhari says she wants to create something that reflects the special moments that pass through safe spaces.

“It’s inspired by the experiences I have and feel in my community, my friends, and the safe spaces I’ve encountered in my life. I wanted to reflect that into a piece of art.

The exhibition was organized by a selection committee consisting of renowned artist Rami Farooq and Ayman Yosri Deidban, Dur Kattan, Wejdan Reda, Hamza Serafi and Solafa Rawas.

Farooq says he draws inspiration from reading and trying to find his purpose.

“A lot of people are going through the same thing, especially artists, so I thought it would be an opportunity for them to explore the subject for themselves and for us to discuss it with the community. Just seeing the word ‘purpose’ wakes it up and makes some people think about it,” he said.

The foundation’s fair aims to encourage emerging Saudi artists in collaboration with curators and exhibition specialists to grow the Kingdom’s creative market.

Visit athrfoundation.org for more details.

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