The Saudi Art Council (SAC) was founded by a group of local arts patrons, led by Her Royal Highness, Princess Jawaher bint Majed, in 2013. SAC is one of the first platforms in the Kingdom to engage with local artists to produce self-owned works within the framework of a curated annual exhibition of an international caliber: 21,39 Jeddah Arts. Our annual exhibitions have flourished through the talent and guidance of each of the globally respected curators we’ve appointed each year.
Through our 21,39 Jeddah Arts exhibition, we have not only launched the careers of numerous artists, but we have been at the forefront of a number of this decade’s most influential and successful artworks to come out of the Kingdom. Beyond our commitment to produce this exhibition for the local and international art worlds, we strive to educate artists and community members through our work and approach here at the Saudi Art Council.
Named for the geographic coordinates of the Saudi city, the annual 21,39 Jeddah Arts program nurtures the burgeoning contemporary art scene and promotes the Kingdom’s unique culture in various locations across the city.
In the current state of an environmental emergency, we all have to be more responsible when it comes to travel. These are the places where discoveries and new connections might be made, where we can learn something about ourselves and the world that perhaps we didn’t know before and that shakes down what we see on the usual circuit. These six cities all have the potential to do this.
A must visit place due to it's amazing architecture and the way it is represented. It's interesting to see the artist's perspective on things and in life itself. Everything is portrayed in the eyes of people who exhibits different ideas and how it should be represented.
For seven years, there have been moves to build a community of artists in Saudi Arabia, beginning in the more liberal port city of Jeddah. Every February it holds an independent arts festival called 21,39 (the city’s co-ordinates on a map). It’s funded by local families, artists and galleries and is independent of the government.
With 21,39 Jeddah Arts, a Saudi city opens up to modernity
The 7th Edition of 21,39 Jeddah Arts contends with the global climate emergency by considering the challenges of communication – a very “meta” pursuit that it manages to effectively engage with through the specificity of a local context, and in a series of highly personal artistic explorations.
"World leaders gather to address the deteriorating state of the earth and what to do next, artists are similarly taking an activist stance in speaking up about the present global climate emergency. This couldn’t be more apparent than in the recent edition of 21,39 Jeddah Arts, presented by the Saudi Arts Council and on view until April 18."
There is a moment in I Love You, Urgently, the main show at 21,39 Jeddah Arts, curated by Maya El Khalil, when exhibition design comes into its own, and the show’s blueprint forces a beautiful interlude between the examinations of present and future in the Gulf.” [...] The show – rather remarkably – manages to frame the climate crisis as an - opportunity for change for the better.
The combined momentum of the Kingdom’s new phalanx of cultural projects across the Kingdom clearly indicates the state is currently serious about supporting artistic activity from the grassroots upwards. This is mirrored by the quality of work on show at 21,39.