the Safar Art Collection at AlUla International Airport

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, October 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — safar is a major new collection of over 64 artworks by 24 Saudi and international artists at AlUla International Airport. Covering both the Executive Terminal and the Commercial Terminal, safar highlights and celebrates the cultural heritage, natural wonders and community of AlUla and includes works by artisans from AlUla’s Madrasat Addeera Center for Art and Design, opened by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) to train and develop the next generation of creatives.

Safar- meaning journey in Arabic – is an apt name for this significant collection of sculptures, photographs, textiles, paintings and design pieces found at the gates of AlUla. AlUla has long been a place of artistic travel: a historical center of cultural transfer, which is now being reborn as an oasis of art and creativity.

A long-time place of passage, AlUla has always welcomed traders, merchants and pilgrims who, for millennia, have documented their experiences of AlUla’s spectacular cultural landscape through literature and art. The safar The art collection continues this legacy, connecting stories of the past through the contemporary perspectives of artists of our time: a journey through the airport and a journey through AlUla’s past legacy and future vision.

The collection was curated by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) and facilitated by Capsule Arts, featuring works by prominent Saudi and international artists such as Dana Awartani, ShAïkha Al Mazrou and Zahra Al Ghamdi (all of whom have a long-standing relationship with Arts AlUla) as well as emerging artists such as Stephanie Neville, Sandrah Boutros and Nidanin woodwork.

Speaking of Arts AlUla’s vision for a new creative – and local – community, the works of the 10 Saudi artists and the 6 regional artists stand alongside those of madrasat addeera craftsmen, AlUla’s first art and design center that offers craft programs for local artisans. In a piece titled “Our living tradition”, artisans from Madrasat Addeera investigate the order of nature as a design tool and how language is intrinsic to traditional arts and cultures. Their paintings all reflect the same underlying square grid pattern (the basis of textile techniques such as Al Sadu weaving: a new addition to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List) but feature different designs that come from the varied traditional crafts that cross the region.

safarThe works of art dialogue with the unique physical and cultural landscape of AlUla. Two sculptures of Sheikha Al Mazrou reference local rock carvings in deep brick orange resin, while two diptychs framed by Dana Awartani continue the heritage narrative through intricate traditional designs inspired by aerial views of AlUla’s famous heritage sites. Meanwhile, by Farah Behbehani the embroidered textiles serve as an ode to the community of AlUla through local crafts, and those of Ranim Halaky ‘Conversations Through Time’ is a typographic installation in raw steel that was created in collaboration with the community, presenting their voice in a sculptural form.

At the same time, the work of emerging artists such as Stephanie Neville, Sandrah Boutros and Nidanin Woodwork is featured as a contemporary cabinet of curiosities in the Executive Terminal Library. This includes works inspired by the rich textile and craft heritage of AlUla, as well as photographs from the archives of the Royal Commission for AlUla that depict the surrounding landscapes.

Commenting on the project, Nora Aldabal, Executive Director, Arts and Creative Industries at the Royal Commission for AlUla said, We are delighted to unveil the Safar Art Collection: a continuation of our ongoing cultural programming, setting the standard for engaging contemporary artists in the Kingdom. Safar represents the depth and breadth of Arts AlUla’s relationship with the arts: a major new collection that follows recent world-class events such as Desert X AlUla 2022, Cortona on the Move artist residency, What Lies Within and the launch of Wadi AlFann.

Not least because of its airport setting, the Safar Art Collection reconnects AlUla with local, regional and international visitors in its next chapter as a center for artistic exploration, expression and production. The arts are essential contributors to the character and identity of the region, to the quality of life of its local community and to the economic future of the region. We can’t wait to share it with everyone who comes to AlUla.”

Fly to AlUla International Airport with Saudia Airlines, FlyDubai and FlyNas. International arrivals from dubai international airport, Kuwait international airport and Cairo International airport (from October 5e); domestic arrivals from Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman. The airport is 35 km (30 minutes by car) from downtown AlUla.

For everyone safar images and additional information (background documents, quotes, biographies), please see the media kit here.

For more information, please visit:

About AlUla:

Located 1,100 km from Riyadhin Northwestern Saudi Arabia, AlUla is a place with an extraordinary natural and human heritage. The vast area, covering 22,561 km², includes a lush oasis valley, towering sandstone mountains and ancient cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years spanning the periods when the Lihyan, Dadan and Nabataean kingdoms ruled.

AlUla’s best known and recognized site is Hegra, Saudi Arabia first UNESCO World Heritage Site. An ancient city of 52 hectares, Hegra was the main southern city of the Nabataean Kingdom and comprises over 100 well-preserved tombs with elaborate facades cut into the sandstone outcrops surrounding the walled urban settlement. Current research also suggests that Hegra was the southernmost outpost of the Roman Empire after conquering the Nabataeans in 106 CE.

In addition to Hegra, AlUla is home to fascinating historical and archaeological sites. These include:

  • Ancient Dadan, the capital of the kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan, considered one of the most developed cities of the 1st millennium BCE in the Arabian Peninsula
  • Jabal Ikmah, an open-air library with thousands of rock art and ancient inscriptions
  • The old town of AlUla, a maze of over 900 mud-brick houses developed from at least the 12e century
  • The Hijaz Railway and Hegra Fort, key sites in the layered history of this passageway

About the Royal Commission for AlUla:

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by Royal Decree in July 2017 protect and safeguard AlUla, an area of ​​outstanding natural and cultural significance in Northwestern Saudi Arabia. RCU is embarking on a long-term plan to develop and achieve a sensible and lasting transformation of the region, reaffirming it as one of the most important archaeological and cultural destinations in the country and preparing it to welcome visitors from all over the world. RCU’s development work in AlUla encompasses a wide range of initiatives in archaeology, tourism, culture, education and the arts, reflecting the ambitious commitment to cultivate tourism and recreation in Saudi Arabiadescribed in Vision 2030.

About Arts AlUla:

The establishment of AlUla Arts within the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) is a commitment to shaping the next chapters of a millennium of artistic creation – celebrating cultural heritage, showcasing the art of our time and shaping a future powered by creativity.

AlUla has long been a constant and ever-evolving hub of cultural transfer. It has been a place of passage, a crossroads of exchanges and the home of successive civilizations which have sculpted, sculpted and inscribed their lives in the landscape. Arts AlUla’s work seeks to preserve this heritage: fusing the old with the new; the local with the international, keeping the arts central to the spirit of AlUla as a place of extraordinary natural and human heritage.

Throughout 2022, Arts AlUla will materialize a series of new initiatives, projects and exhibitions. The curation of the artworks will demonstrate RCU’s vision for the continued development of AlUla’s contemporary art scenes: to position the arts as a key contributor to AlUla’s character, the quality of life of its local community and to the economic future of the region.

Arts AlUla focuses on transferring the talents of the Saudi nation and the local AlUla community into long-standing, meaningful social and economic opportunities. It is a key part of the Journey through Time master plan bringing together the 15 different iconic destinations for culture, heritage and creativity across AlUla.

About AlUla International Airport:

AlUla International Airport is a newly renovated airport and the gateway to AlUla. Just 35 km (30 minutes by car) from downtown AlUla, the airport opens AlUla to a global community. Visitors can fly to AlUla International Airport with Saudia Airlines, FlyDubai and FlyNas. International arrivals from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, dubai international airport, Kuwait international airport and Cairo international airport; domestic arrivals from Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman.

The airport covers 2.4 million square meters and includes an executive terminal and a commercial terminal. Together, these terminals have a total capacity of 400,000 passengers.

Press office:

For more information, interview requests or press trip requests, please contact Caroline Blake Where Rosie Stamp at Flint Culture:

[email protected] / [email protected]
+44 7721 859 847 / +44 7870 556947



Christopher S. Washington