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Diriyah Biennial is preparing for a new season of contemporary art


The countdown to the second session of the “Diriyah Biennale for Contemporary Art”, scheduled to be held in January 2024, has begun. It is the first international exhibition of contemporary art in Saudi Arabia, and preparations for a new season of contemporary art in Riyadh culminated in the announcement yesterday of the selection of the art expert, Oti Mita. Bauer, to be the artistic coordinator for the next edition of the Biennale.

In light of the huge success achieved by the first edition of the Biennale, and the great public turnout for the accompanying performances and events, the mission of the Biennale team becomes even greater. In the statement announcing the selection of values ​​for the second session, she said: “In this session, we will continue to build on what was achieved in the first session of the Biennale, and present an exhibition that enriches the sources of inspiration and monitors the latest trends in contemporary art at the global level, and in the Kingdom as well.”

Falwa Nazer’s work at the first edition of the Diriyah Biennale of Contemporary Art (Middle East)

With the same focus on the artistic renaissance that Saudi Arabia is currently experiencing, curator Otti Mita Power commented on the rapid steps taken by the Kingdom towards achieving its cultural development, describing it as “a unique development that stimulates everyone to produce and create.” Mita Power added, “I see that the Kingdom is on the cusp of many distinct changes in this direction, and from here I believe that arts and culture will serve as a linguistic bridge capable of expressing these changes and accurately monitoring their moments.”

Oti Meta Power comes to the Kingdom with technical expertise in various fields, during which it moved between the academic field and the field of evaluation and technical supervision, leading to its role in establishing new technical institutions.

According to the statement issued yesterday by the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, Bauer, who is German by birth, studied visual communication, stage design and art theory at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg. She is an editor, professor and curator. In 2013, she assumed the position of founding director of the “NTU” Center for Contemporary Art in Singapore, and she also worked as a professor in the College of Art, Design and Media at the university. One of the most notable exhibitions curated by Meta Power was the Singapore Pavilion at the 59th Venice Art Biennale, which showcased Chobhigi Rao’s work titled Balb III: A Short Biography of the Exiled Writer. She was also the curator of the 17th Istanbul Biennial alongside David Teh and Amar Kanwar, and co-curator of Documenta 11 in 2002 as part of the team of Artistic Director Okoye Enwezor. She also served as Artistic Director of the Third Berlin Biennale of Contemporary Art (2004) and co-curator with Paul C. Ha of the American Pavilion at the 55th Venice Art Biennale (2015), which presented a work by Joan Jonas, for which she received the National Pavilion Honorary Award.

Otti Metabauer – Falwa Nazer’s work at the first edition of the Diriyah Biennale of Contemporary Art (Middle East)

In March of last year, the first edition of the “Diriyah Biennale for Contemporary Art” was concluded with the participation of more than 60 artists from the Kingdom and all over the world, and the number of visitors reached more than 100,000 visitors over a period of three months.

The course bore the slogan “Following the Stones” and was supervised by Philip Tinari, director of museums, well-known curator and executive director of the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in China, alongside curators Wijdan Reda, Neil Zhang and Xishuan Luan. The session witnessed the participation of great artists, including William Kentridge from South Africa, Richard Long from the United Kingdom, and Sarah Morris from the United States of America, along with prominent Saudi artists, including Maha Al-Mallouh and Ahmed Mater, in addition to Muhannad Shunu, who represented the Kingdom in the ninth session. 50th Venice Biennale.