Misk Art Week 2023: ‘Masaha Residency Showcase’

Misk Art Institute’s Masaha Residency program, initiated in 2021, serves as a crucible for artistic development grounded in research. Against the tapestry of tradition, the sixth cycle of Masaha Residency, featured in Misk Art Week, invites viewers to explore the delicate interplay between heritage and futurism through the research-driven artworks of ten emerging visual artists and two writers. Mentored by Amal Khalaf, Nelson Crespo and Aissa Deebi; the artists featured include Abdullah Albahouth, Jumah Aljumaiah, Abdulrahim Alkendi, Abdulrahman Taha, Armando Perna, Ivo Cotani, Noha Alghalib, Maan Alabbadi, Aisha Alshehri, Mehdi Ouahmane, Jinseung Jang and Turki AlQahtani.

The residency revolves around a central inquiry: “What does the past tell us about the future, and what—or who—do we take with us?” Each resident artist delves into common themes such as materiality, daily life, new technologies, storytelling, and cultural traditions, weaving a rich narrative that transcends time.

Writers Abdullah Albahouth and Jumah Aljumaiah dissect the connections between memory and knowledge, exploring their sources, conditions, and transfer. Visual artist Armando Perna maps Riyadh’s evolving character, navigating the liminality that accompanies the city’s development. Abdulrahman Taha explores the edges—wabbal—and the symbolic objects that anchor them, while Abdulrahim Alkendi delves into the dilemmas between spirituality and materiality, unravelling the intentions behind religious practices. Ivo Cotani creates visual bridges between past and future, mythologies, and local materials.

Personal narratives come to life as Noha Alghalib presents a contemporary history in the making, and Maan Alabbadi invites viewers to intimately partake in the latent emotionality of everyday life. Aisha Alshehri observes the evolution of Saudi housing and human behaviours, speculating on a future in the absence of hospitality. Mehdi Ouahmane imagines mythologies emerging from the mundane, and Turki AlQahtani explores the boundaries of AI-driven artistry, compelling reflection on the evolving landscape of authentic artistic expression. Jinseung Jang delves into the notion of the dune, both in physical and digital realities, contemplating the desert’s relationship between erosion and reinvigoration.

In this showcase, the dialogue between the past and the future takes centre stage. Reflecting the immersive environment of the residency, the creative process becomes a personal and collective exploration for the artists and writers alike. Their work serves as a poignant reminder that the future is not a distant, alien frontier but a homecoming—a place where the essence of our history can flourish in new and unexpected ways.

Location: Prince Faisal bin Fahd Arts Hall, KSA

Dates: 5 – 10 December, 2023

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