The exhibition about Etel Adnan in Ithra in Dharan in Saudi Arabia

The Lebanese-American artist's first national retrospective will take place in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Etel Adnan, was born in Beirut to a young Greek Christian mother and an older Syrian Muslim father and then emigrated to America. The exhibition coincides with the announcement of the artists present at the 60th edition of the Biennale Arte, curated by Adriano Pedrosa on the subject Strangers everywhere, among which Adnan himself is present. The retrospective takes place in the largest cultural center in the country: theIthra – The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture from Dhahran, an hour from the capital Riyadh, in the hinterland of the Persian Gulf. A strategic moment in terms of media presence for the Middle Eastern country, which continues to maintain a high level of attention after the numerous investments made to support and promote culture and creativity as a driver of local development. An example of this is the launch of a new initiative: the Riyadh International Jazz Festival which will take place from February 7 to 9, 2024 at the Mayadeen Theater in Diriyah, a few kilometers from the capital.

Ithra's mission: to inspire Saudi Arabia's artistic creation

Ithra continues its commitment to introducing significant artists to Saudi audiences, with the aim of bringing new inspiration to the Kingdom's creative landscape“, he explained Farah Abushullaihthe very young director of the Ithra Museum, who is building a renowned collection in the region with her annual contemporary art prizeIthra Art Prizewithin the complex of 5 monoliths (symbol of union between peoples) designed by the Norwegian studio. Snohetta and designed by the national company Saudi Aramcoone of the largest oil companies in the world and the most important financier of the Saudi government: The building is actually located near the first commercial oil well in the kingdom, the Fountain of Prosperity, and also has a cinema, a theater, a children's museum and a library. “This exhibition highlights a key figure in global contemporary art whose identity and work are deeply rooted in the Arab world and its rich heritage. A versatile artist, Adnan always worked at the boundary between written and visual art, with Arabic calligraphy acting as a bridge between the two, a motif particularly close to Adnan's heart.“.

Etel Adnan's exhibition at the Ithra Museum, Dhahran, photo Claudia Giraud
Etel Adnan's exhibition at the Ithra Museum, Dhahran, photo Claudia Giraud

Etel Adnan's exhibition at the Ithra Museum

The exhibition with the title Etel Adnan, Between East and West, is scheduled through June 30 in one of the Ithra Museum's five galleries, each dedicated to contemporary Middle Eastern art, Saudi culture, Islamic art, the natural history of the Arabian Peninsula and the archive gallery. You shouldn't miss the retrospective either Peter Sanders, the British photographer of music stars such as the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, who presents his photographs of the Muslim world, taken on over 50 years of travel from Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem to the remote deserts of Mauritania, Mali and Morocco . For Adnan – poet, visual artist and philosopher who loved Paul Klee and whose fame exploded in 2012 with her participation in Documenta Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev – Instead, it is an exhibition of abstract paintings, iconic hand-woven wool carpets, a fanfold, a video and a huge ceramic mural: works united by the theme of nature and writing, dating back to the beginning of his artistic career from the late 1950s to on his creations in 2021, shortly before his death this year. Some of the 41 works are on loan from major international institutions such as the Sharjah Art Foundation, the Sfier-Semler Gallery and the Sursock Museum.”but 95% come from private Lebanese and European collections“, he said Artribune the curator of the exhibition Sebastien Delotformer director of the LaM (Lille Métropole Musée d'art moderni, d'art contemporain et d'art brut) and now director of the collections of the National Picasso Museum in Paris, who concluded as follows: “His works harmonize beautifully with the Saudi landscape, creating interculturality and connections that embody a modernity that transcends borders“.

Claudia Giraud

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia // until June 30, 2024
Etel Adnan, Between East and West
Ithra – The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture
8386 Ring Rd, Gharb Al Dhahran, Az Zahran 34461

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