Huge installations to take over AlUla’s wadi alfann


Saudi ArabiaThe AlUla Royal Commission has announced the first five permanent installations for AlUla’s ‘Wadi AlFann’ or ‘Valley of the Arts’ to be completed by 2024. Spanning nearly 65 square kilometers across its wild landscape, the magnificent desert valley will be home to large-scale artworks by American artists unique to the region. James Turrell, Agnes Denes and Michael Heizer, as well as Saudi names Ahmed Mater and Manal AlDowayan. These five outstanding works will mark the beginning of an ongoing commission program with more artists and events to be announced.

Contemporary works of art, juxtaposed with an extraordinary geography full of thousands of years of natural, historical and cultural heritage, will create a dialogue with nature, honoring human creativity that connects different cultures and communities around the world.

Drawings of Ashab Al-Lal by Ahmed Mater at Wadi AlFann. Visualization by Atelier Monolith. ©ATHR Gallery

by Ashab Al-Lal Ahmet Mater coexist in harmony with nature

Epic scale orders by Wadi AlFann, pioneer of Land Art artists James Turrell (see more here), Agnes Denes (more here), Michael Heizer, Ahmed Mater (here) and Manal Al Dowayan (here) will be implemented in accordance with AlUla Royal Commission‘s commitment to the natural heritage and biodiversity of this millennial location.

For AlUla’s Wadi AlFann, Ahmet MaterIntroducing the massive ‘Ashab Al-Lal’, one of Saudi Arabia’s most influential contemporary artists, who will explore the legendary space with subterranean elements and mirrors. The artist-turned-doctor challenges the idea of ​​a landmark as a symbol of status and authority and instead sees it as a place where knowledge is communicated. Creating a spiritual, transcendent experience for the audience, Mater drew on the great scientific and philosophical thinkers of the Golden Age of Islam.

Set against the breathtaking sandstone cliffs and canyons of the expansive terrain, the pieces celebrate AlUla’s landscape and pay homage to archaeological remains and massive history. Drawing from its natural topography, undulating panoramas and distinctive geological structures, the diagrams offer a narrative oasis that invites local communities, art lovers, adventurers and world travelers to explore and discover. The site’s gazebos, walkways and belvedere will use locally sourced materials and be positioned to facilitate the free movement of camel herds and other native species.

Huge installations in AlUla's art valley: from ahmed mater to james turrell + michael heizer

Five era-defining artworks across the valley

Known for his site-specific works that use land and light as the main tool, James Turrell It will create a series of spaces on the canyon floor, creating a sensory experience of light, color and perception. Viewers will experience the nature of light and vision, as well as elements of the sky and terrain, as they wander through these fascinating passages. For AlUla’s Wadi AlFann, Agnes Denes will continue the ongoing series of monumental pyramids. His new work will portray humanity’s past, present and future, evoking the quiet canyons in which they sit. This work of art examines civilization, progress, and success by suggesting a breathtaking setting.

‘Wadi AlFann is an unparalleled passion, a world-leading platform that enables exceptional artists to create the most important works of their lives. Experiencing art in dialogue with nature will set a new global precedent for connecting communities around the world, celebrating human creativity and inspiring current and future generations of artists. Set in a land as monumental as the AlUla desert, an exhibition of such an epic scale has the potential to shape the course of art history in real time. AlUla’s Public Art Expert Panel mentioned Iwona Blazwick, Chair of the Royal Commission.

Huge installations in AlUla's art valley: from ahmed mater to james turrell + michael heizer

Known for large outdoor earthwork sculptures using rock, concrete and steel as mediums, michael heizer

brings new engravings to sandstone rock. Through tunnels and stairs, the American artist tries to establish a deep connection with the topography while emphasizing the intricate beauty of the Quweira rock. Visible from a distance, the appearance of many of these oversized works will change as viewers move around the area. Saudi artist Manal Al Dowayanher works highlight themes of invisibility, collective memory, and the status and representation of women. His labyrinthine installation, which he calls “The Oasis of Stories”, is inspired by the mud walls of Al Ula’s Old Town, inviting viewers to wander through labyrinth-like passages and get lost in an architectural sculpture that mimics the ancient sites of Arab settlements.

Wadi AlFann will rekindle AlUla’s creativity and offer new transformative experiences for locals and visitors alike. As guardians of this land, a crossroad between East and West marked by 200,000 years of natural, human and cultural history, we must continue to leverage Al Ula’s unique heritage to build its future. It’s an honor to work with such respected and renowned artists to help us achieve our goals of making AlUla a world-leading arts and culture centre. “This visionary goal will build a vibrant and prosperous local cultural economy, creating ways for AlUla people to unlock creative potential and become architects of the region’s future.” Nora Aldabal, Executive Director of the Royal Commission for the Arts and Creative Industries, said:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *