Noor Riyadh 2023: The world’s largest annual festival of light and art in Riyadh

Noor Riyadh, the world’s largest light art festival, illuminates Saudi Arabia’s capital for its third edition from November 30 to December 16, 2023. Over 120 artworks, including large-scale installations and immersive projections, will transform the city into an expansive ‘gallery without walls,’ aligning with Riyadh Art’s vision. Curated around the theme ‘The Bright Side of the Desert Moon,’ the festival explores light as a unifying force. Central hubs at King Abdullah Financial District, JAX District, Salam Park, Wadi Hanifa, and Wadi Namar will showcase artworks from 35 countries, fostering a dialogue between tradition and contemporary perspectives.

Angelika Markul, أنجليكا ماركول, Zone Iguazu, 2013. Image courtesy the artist and HAVAS. Photo © Noor Riyadh 2023, a Riyadh Art Program.

Lead Curator Jérôme Sans and Curators Pedro Alonzo, Fahad Bin Naif, and Alaa Tarabzouni curate the event, emphasising its aim to integrate art into Riyadh’s urban fabric. Notable exhibits include Janet Echelman’s dynamic visual spectacle using scientific data, Diana Thater and SUPERFLEX’s monumental video art projections, and Carsten Höller’s exploration of time and space through light. The festival also features site-specific commissions by 35 Saudi artists, contributing to Riyadh’s cultural narrative.

Mariko Mori-3, 2023. Image courtesy the artist. Photo © Noor Riyadh 2023, a Riyadh Art Program

Running concurrently is the exhibition ‘Refracted Identities, Shared Futures’ in the JAX District from November 30, 2023, to March 2, 2024. Curated by Neville Wakefield and Maya Al Athel, the exhibition delves into themes explored during the festival. Artists like Abdulmohsen Al Bin Ali, Talin Hazbar, and Shaikha Al Mazrou present works that address mythology, astrophysics, swarm intelligence, and the multifaceted nature of light.

The festival’s public program and community engagement include over 100 workshops, 40 talks, family activities, and 1,000 guided tours. Noor Riyadh is committed to fostering the creative economy, supporting local talents, and enriching the lives of the community through art. The festival’s engaging activities, such as themed guided tours and family hubs, encourage a deeper connection between the audience and the artworks.

Abeer Sultan, I Will Take The Sun Into My Eyes, 2023. Image courtesy the artist. Photo © Noor Riyadh 2023, a Riyadh Art Program

About Noor Riyadh

Launched in March 2021, Noor Riyadh is the world’s largest light art festival, featuring a citywide annual celebration of light and art. Alongside a world-class exhibition, the festival encompasses a public program with community activities, educational workshops, talks, and performances. Presented under Riyadh Art, Noor Riyadh brings together top-tier light artworks from renowned international and Saudi artists, creating the most extensive city footprint for any light art festival globally. The festival’s mission, underpinning Riyadh Art, is to cultivate local talent and motivate the youth to spearhead Saudi Arabia’s flourishing creative economy.

Location: King Abdullah Financial District, JAX District, Salam Park, Wadi Hanifa, and Wadi Namar, Riyadh Saudi, Arabia

Dates: November 30 to December 16, 2023

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