Who’s Who: Mohammed Al-Bishi, board member of the Saudi Journalists Association

RIYADH: The Diriyah Biennale Foundation’s second Islamic Arts Biennale will be held next year in the Western Hajj Terminal at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, from January to May.

Rakan Al-Touq, vice chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, highlighted the success of the first edition of the event.

He said: “(The biennale) continues its mission in terms of shedding light on the treasures of the Islamic culture and its history and celebrating the institutions dedicated to it as a way to appreciate the role they are undertaking to preserve Islamic heritage.

“The second edition of the biennale will see the return of an expanded version of Al-Madar exhibition and forum, which includes some of the largest local and international institutions that are concerned with Islamic arts and will showcase their valuable collections.

“The exhibition also features two separate pavilions for Makkah and Madinah, which will highlight the ancient history of the two holy sites.

“This stresses the biennale’s ongoing commitment to enriching dialogue and building bridges between the past and present, under the supervision of local and international experts who will present the people visiting the biennale from inside and outside the Kingdom with an impactful and beautiful exhibition of which we are proud,” Al-Touq added.

Foundation CEO, Aya Al-Bakree, said: “The foundation was keen to choose a team of creative art curators. This stems from its commitment to organizing and managing international art and cultural exhibitions and constitutes a continuation of the successful journey started by the biennale’s first edition.

“The diverse expertise found within the artistic team will contribute to putting forward a renewed artistic vision, along with encouraging constructive dialogue in the fields of Islamic arts between the different bodies and visitors at the local and international levels.”

The event will be supervised by several international art curators, including artistic director Dr. Amin Jaffer, the director of Al-Thani Collection, whose academic and artistic work focuses on the intersections between European and Asian cultures.

Jaffer will be supported by artistic director Dr. Julian Raby, former lecturer in Islamic arts and architecture, former director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Asian Art, and a member of the art curatorial team of the Islamic Arts Biennale’s first edition; writer and historian Dr. Abdulrahman Azzam, adviser of Al-Madar (The Orbit) exhibition and forum during the first biennale; and contemporary art curator Muhannad Shono, who also participated in the first event.

The second edition of the exhibition will feature for the first time the Al-Musalla Award, an international architectural design competition. Participants will be invited to submit a new design for a temporary mosque, with the winning entry being built on the biennale grounds.

The priority in the competition will be given to designs showing the best environmental sustainability standards. More details regarding the competition, including the names of the jury members, will be announced over the coming weeks.

The first edition of the biennale was held last year under the slogan “Awwal Bait,” meaning “First House.”