NOOR RIYADH, THE GROUNDBREAKING ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF LIGHT AND ART

Zaman Jassim When the Moon is Full, 2021 Fiberglass, LED lights and video projection 1000x1000x270 cm Courtesy the artist Photo

Annual festival of light and art Noor Riyadh returns on a
grander scale to illuminate Saudi Arabia’s Capital

Angelo Bonello, Run Beyond, 2015. Iron and LED lights. 5300 cm. Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection. Photo © Riyadh Art
Angelo Bonello, Run Beyond, 2015. Iron and LED lights. 5300 cm. Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection. Photo © Riyadh Art

Following the success of Noor Riyadh 2021, the 2022 edition will see the festival almost triple in size, with more than 120 installations by over 100 artists from more than 40 countries, on view across 40 locations

The festival explores the theme ‘We Dream of New Horizons’ centered around a sense of hopefulness for the future, with connotations that are positive, optimistic and reflective of a confidence in renewal and transformation

Noor Riyadh, the groundbreaking annual festival of light and art, will launch on November 3, 2022 (until 19 November 2022), accompanied by a 3-month art exhibition (November 3, 2022 – February 4, 2023) and dynamic public program.

Following the success of the festival’s inaugural edition in 2021, this edition will see the festival triple in size, with activations in 40 locations across the city of Riyadh. As one of the world’s most ambitious festivals of its kind, Noor Riyadh transforms the city into a dazzling night-time ‘gallery without walls’ across the largest city footprint of any light art festival worldwide. The festival brings together local communities, from families to artists, students, professionals and more, with international audiences from across the globe.

Noor Riyadh creates unique moments of joy across the city, nurtures artistic talent and delivers awe inspiring immersive experiences that provide visitors with an opportunity to appreciate world-class light artworks and rediscover the city of Riyadh in a new light.
The much anticipated second edition showcases over 120 installations, building projections, and drone shows by more than 100 Saudi and international artists. The festival is co-curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, Dorothy Di Stefano and Jumana Ghouth. Many renowned names in light art are united with an expanding roster of emerging and established local artists, with over 40 nationalities. Example artworks and installations include a large-scale sculptural work by Jean-Michel Othoniel and a series of lightboxes that relay the theme of this year’s festival by Zineb Sedira. World renowned artists such as teamLab, Daniel Buren, Douglas Gordon and Alicja Kwade will be joined by Saudi talent including Muhannad Shono, Ayman Zedani, Sarah Brahim and Ahaad Alamoudi. The diverse forms of light art on show include immersive site-specific installations, monumental public artworks, ephemeral sculptures, art trails and virtual reality.

Noor Riyadh’s 2022 theme is ‘We Dream of New Horizons’, responding to a motif that is both literal and metaphorical in meaning. It alludes to the distant glow of sunrise or sunset and the shining light of our dreams, with a sense of hopefulness for the future inherent in the phrase. Its connotations are positive, optimistic and reflective of a confidence in renewal and transformation. Through a sense of wonder, the artists will explore the use of illumination, luminosity and their own encounters with materials as staging relations to otherness and hope in the form of light.

Angelo Bonello, Run Beyond, 2015. Iron and LED lights. 5300 cm. Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection. Photo © Riyadh Art
Angelo Bonello, Run Beyond, 2015. Iron and LED lights. 5300 cm. Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection. Photo © Riyadh Art

Additional highlights include the festival’s accompanying exhibition entitled ‘From Spark to Spirit’, taking place from November 3, 2022 to February 4, 2023 at JAX 03 (JAX District),
Riyadh, curated by Neville Wakefield (lead curator) and Gaida AlMogren (associate curator). The exhibition traces the role light plays in shaping our relationship to a world for which light itself has become the signal of change, exploring themes such as the ‘Technologies of Light’, ‘Architectonics of Light’ and ‘Consciousness of Light’.

Just as the Light and Space Movement (1960s California, USA) reflected changes in the
established order, this exhibition explores a landscape of light inflected by the rapid cultural transformations shaping the Middle East. While the exhibition acknowledges the histories that have been shaped by the experience of West Coast America and the West in general, the show is structured as a cultural dialogue. Example artists include Doug Aitken, Zahrah Al Ghamdi, Refik Anadol, Larry Bell, Jim Campbell, John Edmark, Walaa Fadul, Lina Gazzaz, Phillip K. Smith III and Haroon Mirza.

A core element of Noor Riyadh is community engagement and inclusivity, with this year’s edition offering a comprehensive public program of over 500 events ranging from tours to talks, workshops, family activities and music. These will take place both across the city and online, via the Riyadh Art website and mobile app, to maximize participation through creative, personal and immersive experiences. Noor Riyadh’s public program aligns with Riyadh Art’s values, centered around enriching the lives of the city’s residents and visitors, by creating a global community which sparks creativity, ignites the art movement, encourages self-expression and creates an inclusive culture.

Robert Wilson DAYDREAM, 2021 Painted steel, thermoformed mirror polystyrene and lights 520x900 cm Courtesy the artist Photo © R
Robert Wilson DAYDREAM, 2021 Painted steel, thermoformed mirror polystyrene and lights 520×900 cm Courtesy the artist Photo © R

Noor Riyadh was the first of the Riyadh Art programs to launch, inaugurating what is becoming the project’s legacy of transforming Riyadh into a gallery without walls. Comprising of 10 programs, delivering more than 1,000 public art installations across the city created by local and international artists, and supported by two annual festivals, including Noor Riyadh, Riyadh Art is working to transform the Capital into a vibrant, cosmopolitan city and enrich lives through creative joyful experiences, in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals.


Dates: November 3 – 19, 2022

Riyadh – KSA

Accompanying exhibition ‘From Spark to Spirit’ runs from
November 3, 2022 – February 4, 2023


Noor Riyadh is a citywide festival of light and art as a Riyadh Art program, November 3 – 19, 2022, https://riyadhart.sa/en/programs/noor-riyadh/.
‘From Spark to Spirit’ at JAX 03 (JAX District), Riyadh, as part of Noor Riyadh, a Riyadh Art
program, November 3, 2022 – February 4, 2023, https://riyadhart.sa/en/programs/noor-riyadh/.

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