The Islamic Arts Biennale, set to “bridge the past, present, and future,” has opened at the 1983 Aga Khan Award-winning Western Hajj Terminal in Saudi Arabia's Jeddah.
The biennale's theme, Awwal Bait, meaning “First House," referring to the Holy Kaaba in Mecca, showcases the works of over 60 well-known and emerging artists from around the world, in addition to over 60 new commissions, 280 artefacts, and more than 15 never-before-exhibited pieces of art, from January 23 through April 23.
In using this venue, the biennale's geographic significance is further highlighted. For centuries, Jeddah has served as a crossroads for cultural exchange and a port of entry for pilgrims travelling to Mecca and Medina. The occasion summons a call to pause and consider the rituals that act as personal compass points, while also having the power to foster a sense of community and belonging among people.
The biennial's extended scope includes contemporary artworks as well as design and architectural pieces, crafts and works from other fields as it explores the influence of Islam on cultural life.
With over 12,000 square metres of exhibition space to explore, the visitor is invited to embark on an evocative trip through five galleries and a vast canopy. The biennale has two primary exhibition spaces for art and artefacts: The first is a series of interior galleries, while the second is made up of the Mecca and Medina pavilions and an outdoor space beneath the roof of the Hajj Terminal.
The biennale experience is supposed to reflect the journey of the soul because it starts in the dark and moves toward the light.
Source: TRT World