14 November 2022
KSA Biennales: Complementary Plurality
Session III of Majlis Talks at 6PM at The Yard.
While the first Diriyah Biennale in 2021 took place in Riyadh and focused on Contemporary Arts, the upcoming Biennale will migrate to Jeddah and inaugurate the first-ever Islamic Arts Biennale. This has provoked us to ponder the inter-relationships between Islamic and contemporary art.
We will invite Wejdan Reda from Diriyah Biennale Foundation to speak with Sumayya Vally, the Curator of the Islamic Arts Biennale and Founder of the architectural studio Counterspace, to discuss not the seeming deviation between the two events, but their joint origins.
Wejdan Reda is a Saudi contemporary art curator and the founder of Sahaba Art consultancy, a boutique agency based in Saudi Arabia dedicated to supporting the art community through providing specialized consultancy services, working with both private and governmental sector.
Over the past nine years Reda curated multiple exhibitions locally and internationally, most recently, co-curating the first contemporary art biennale, titled “Feeling The Stones” lead by UCCA director Philip Tinari, in collaboration with Shixuan Luan and Neil Zhang; “Intimate Dimensions” (2020), a group exhibition exploring the notion of constructed spaces and existing built environments at Hafez Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and co-curating “Every Second in Between” (2018), a large-scale public art commission by artist Kyung Hwa Shon in White City, London.
Wejdan holds an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, London, UK and a BA in Contemporary Media Practices from Westminster university, London, UK.
Principal of the award-winning architecture and research, Counterspace—Vally’s design, research and pedagogical practice is searching for expression for hybrid identities and territory, particularly for African and Islamic conditions—both rooted and diasporic.
In 2022, Vally was selected by the World Economic Forum to be one of its Young Global Leaders, a community of the world’s most promising artists, researchers, entrepreneurs, activists, and political leaders, and, as a TIME100 Next honoree, has been identified as someone shaping the future of architectural practice and canon. An Honorary Professor at The Bartlett School of Architecture; Vally has recently joined the World Monuments Fund Board of Directors, and serves on several boards through her interest in dynamic forms of archive, embodied heritage and supporting new networks of knowledge in the arts.
In 2019, Counterspace was invited to design the 20th Serpentine Pavilion in London, making Vally the youngest architect ever to win this internationally renowned commission. With the Serpentine, she has initiated and developed a new fellowship program, Support Structures for Support Structures, which assists artists and collectives working at the intersection of art with social justice, the archive, and ecology. As Artistic Director, Vally is currently working on curating the first Islamic Arts Biennale taking place in Jeddah in 2023.
For more information on the complete Majlis Talks program, click here.