Riyadh to host BIENALSUR 2019

Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud. (Saudi Gazette)

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Saudi Ministry of Culture is hosting the second edition of the world’s first traveling contemporary art biennale “BIENALSUR 2019” at Riyadh’s National Museum from November 5 to December 5.

This is for the first time BIENALSUR, the biennale of South America, is being held in the Middle East. The event lands in the Kingdom in its last leg after traveling across five continents, Saudi Gazette reported as quoted by Indonesia Window here on Saturday.


The Ministry of Culture is organizing the event in collaboration with National University of Tres de Febrero, Argentina. The biennale began last May in Argentina before moving to more than 100 venues around the world.

After a simultaneous deployment of its unique cartography across the globe, with exhibitions by 400 artists in 43 cities of 23 countries, BIENALSUR closes its 2019 edition in Riyadh.

The presence of BIENALSUR in Saudi Arabia is part of fostering dialogue, peace, and interreligious and international integration through art and culture. It will be for the first time that an exhibition of visual arts, designed to converge with other ways of thinking, is presented to the Saudi public.


The biennale titled “Recovering Stories, Recovering Fantasies” will occupy part of the modernist architecture building — considered one of the best museums in the Middle East — with works by Argentine artists Graciela Sacco, Mariana Telleria and Eduardo Basualdo; Brazilians Regina Silveira and José Bechara, French Laurent Grasso, Uruguayans Paola Monzillo and Marco Maggi, Mexican Betsabeé Romero, and Japanese Makoto Azuma.

Four Saudi artists will present their works of art at BIENALSUR. They are Sarah Abu Abdullah, Fatima Al-Banawi, Faisal Samra, and Ayman Zedani.

Al-Banawi, Zedani and Samra participated in the Buenos Aires exhibition in June this year after they had been selected by BIENALSUR’s curators from more than 5,000 proposals from around the world.


Considered a pioneer of conceptual art in the Middle East, Samra will present his work “Grip of Hope”, an interactive installation. The exhibition will be joined by pieces that reflect the singular experience of time from the point of view of the artist Zedani, the narrations of Sarah, and the intimate world of Al-Banawi.

The exhibition, with a large majority of female artists and also curated by a woman, the outstanding Argentine researcher Diana Wechsler, artistic-academic director of BIENALSUR, said the event offers the viewer the opportunity to recover the imaginary dimension and with it converge with other ways of thinking, which can expand the narrating modalities in that interstice that exists between reality and fantasy.

The Ministry of Culture is hosting the exhibition as part of attracting international business and cultural events to the Kingdom, create opportunities for cultural interaction with citizens, residents and visitors, support local artists to exhibit their work in prestigious international platforms, and enhance the status of Saudi Arabia as an international art destination.


The objectives of the biennale are to be a global platform for inter-cultural cooperation to reduce distances and geographical boundaries and celebrate diversity as a unique and distinctive value.

Reporting by Indonesia Window


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