Contemporary Kingdom:
The Saudi Art Scene Now

Canvas Central

February 6, 2014                                                  

Launched in February in Jeddah, this publication details key elements and practitioners that have contributed to art in Saudi Arabia over the years, establishing the country as a leading cultural centre in the region.

In recent years, the art arena in Saudi Arabia has presented the world with reasons to label it as an increasingly important component of the Middle Eastern cultural infrastructure. With a number of emerging talents and initiatives on the global stage, contemporary practice in the Kingdom has seen a steady and confident escalation in establishing a solid art market. 

Produced by regional leading publishing house in Dubai Canvas Central, Contemporary Kingdom: The Saudi Art Scene Now illustrates the growth of the Saudi art market, the artists, galleries, educational programmes and public institutions, in addition to the patronage system and the rise of a new generation of young collectors.

The 360-page hardcover book, edited by Myrna Ayad, Editor of Canvas magazine, includes a foreword by HRH Princess Jawaher Bint Majed Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, President of the Al-Mansouria Foundation, and essays by contributors from the art world and experts in their fields, including Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern; Mona Khazindar, Director General, Institut du Monde Arabe, and Venetia Porter, Assistant Keeper, Department of the Middle East, The British Museum, among others. 

“It has been three years since Ali Khadra, Founder of Canvas Central conceived the idea to create a book to commemorate the contemporary visual art practices emanating from Saudi Arabia. The experience has been nothing short of exciting and enriching and it has been very rewarding—professionally and educationally—to work on this seminal publication,” says Myrna Ayad, Editor of Contemporary Kingdom.

Set to be launched during the inaugural edition of 21,39 Jeddah Arts initiative, (February 4–8), Contemporary Kingdom pays homage to those who have played integral roles in setting the stage for Saudi art and culture. Throughout the book, specific themes are addressed through essays penned by Mohammed Hafiz, Co-founder, Athr Gallery; patrons Sara Ali Reza and Faisal Tamer, Stephen Stapleton, Co-founder, Edge of Arabia and Maryam Beydoun, independent curator and art advisor. These are accompanied by spotlights on a selection of celebrated contemporary Saudi artists—both emerging and established, interviews with gallerists, collectors and patrons, celebrating local and international initiatives, private and government projects.

Contemporary Kingdom will be launched in Jeddah (February), and Dubai (March) and is graciously sponsored by Vacheron Constantin and HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA.

About Canvas
Canvas is a bi-monthly magazine distributed across the world, offering the very best in art and culture from the Middle East and Arab world. With intelligent in-depth articles on everything from the visual arts to museums, galleries, photography and design, each issue also carries an exclusive feature.