Curated by London-based art critic and independent curator, Sara Raza, and Saudi-based poet, curator and artist, Ashraf Fayadh, RHIZOMA's premise draws from the actual rhizoma, the ancient Greek word for the underground root of a plant that shoots its roots both horizontally and vertically as a metaphor for a bold new generation of artists who are challenging the force of gravity through inspiring projects.
Many of the artists are creating new works specifically for the exhibition. Works present in the exhibition explore multiplicity in both concept and execution deployed via an array of mediums such as new media practices and the employment of internet and video art, photography, sculpture, textiles and installation. Highlights including several site specific works that subvert geometric spatial dynamics, and special projects by cross-platform YouTube sensations TelFaz11 and UTurn, who will be collaborating with artists to create new realities that reach peer-group audiences in their millions. In addition, a special rhizomatic structure will be especially designed and built within the exhibition by The Amen Art Foundation, a new Riyadh based platform set up by Edge of Arabia co-founder, Abdulnasser Gharem. This platform will stage several art works and projects which function as an extended metaphor for non-linear identities and generational collaborations which Rhizoma promotes. Within this structure, The Khatt Foundation, a nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to advancing design thinking in the Middle East, will run a participatory research station inviting public collaboration in designing the visual identity of the foundation.
"Rhizoma is a curatorial project with infinite possibilities to form multiple endings and create new beginnings. The nature of Saudi Arabia's art production is comparable to an actual rhizoma. There is an exciting emerging art scene inside Saudi Arabia that exists at the grassroots and it is purposefully making its ascent upwards. These artists are part of a subterranean network, independent and distinctive in their styles and approach, technologically astute, experimental and possess the ability to break away from the mainstream."
- Sara Raza
"We aim to provide a clear vision of the radical transformation in Saudi art, which is now more affiliated with its roots, to the real culture represented by the awareness of the different living conditions in Saudi Arabia. This awareness is creating a strong message from a new generation of artists to formulate art in their own way.”
- Ashraf Fayad
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