Desert X AlUla

Desert X AlUla

Blending Art, Nature and Humanity

Bringing Desert X to AlUla

Established in the Coachella Valley of Southern California, Desert X is an organisation founded on the love of contemporary art and its ability to create cross-cultural dialogue while simultaneously engaging audiences and artists who think of art can live outside of the norm of museums and galleries. It aims to amplify the beauty of the desert environment while also creating a visual response to issues of great importance to today’s global citizenry.

Since 2017, Desert X has created a series of contemporary art exhibitions that bring desert locations to life through site-specific installations by acclaimed artists that address ecological, cultural, spiritual and other themes. In early 2020, Desert X had its inaugural exhibition in AlUla, and the beginning of Desert X AlUla. This was the first site-responsive exhibition of its kind in Saudi Arabia and the organisation’s first-ever exhibition outside of the United States.

As a historical crossroads, a centre of arts and culture, and home to innovative civilisations across the millennia, AlUla is the perfect locale for such a world-class art exhibit. Desert X AlUla is a cultural conversation between local, regional, and international artists, inviting audiences to engage with each work through physical, emotional, historical, and social lenses.
 

Desert X

Desert X AlUla 2022

Under the theme of Sarab, 15 featured works explored ideas of mirage and oasis, both intrinsic to desert history and culture. Invited to consider these ancient concepts, participating artists responded with new works that addressed dreams, camouflage, fiction, dis/appearance, extraction, illusion and myth.

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Desert X

Desert X AlUla 2020

The 14 featured works displayed each artists’ interpretation of the desert, made especially for AlUla. The large-scale installations related to the environment, evoked the region’s unique desert culture and immersed visitors in new and inventive ways.

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2022 AlUla Arts Festival Highlights

AlJadidah

A vibrant new hub of restaurants, shops and more, AlJadidah quickly became a must-visit location in AlUla. Beautiful murals bring an artistic touch to the pedestrian-friendly area, where the world's largest hand-painted carpet lines the road for visitors. Centrally located, AlJadidah sits beautifully on the edge of AlUla Old Town and overlooks the AlUla Oasis.

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Desert X AlUla 2022

Desert X AlUla 2022 returned for its second edition with an extraordinary open-air art exhibition from 11th February to 30th March 2022. Placing visionary contemporary artworks by 15 Saudi and international artists amidst the remarkable desert landscape of AlUla, 2022's exhibition explored ideas of mirage and oasis.

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Path Of Poets

The live immersion show "Path of Poets" brought to life a re-creation of the celebrated poet Jamil bin Muammar alongside other characters, sharing the story of Buthaina in this specially created show of creative storytelling.

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What Lies Within

What Lies Within was an exhibition of Saudi contemporary art from the collection of Basma AlSulaiman hosted at the award-winning Maraya.

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AlUla Performing Arts Festival

The AlUla Performing Arts Festival was a unique international festival that celebrated all forms of performing arts. From acrobatic performances to traditional street buskers, AlJadidah was bustling with all kinds of activity for an incredible ten days.

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ALULA ARTIST RESIDENCY: THE OASIS REBORN EXHIBITION

Upon completing the first AlUla Artist Residency, the six participating artists had their works and research on display at The Oasis Reborn Exhibition. Located in the palm-grove of Mabiti AlUla, the exhibition invited visitors to immerse themselves in the cultural oasis of AlUla and discover new perspectives on this ancient landscape.

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Barzan Living Gardens

Handed down through generations, Barzan Living Gardens is a place of natural beauty and deep heritage, shining a light on the cultural connection between the people of AlUla and the resources of the AlUla Oasis. Supported by friendly guides, guests explored this living landscape and discovered its stories through the prisms of art, heritage and nature.

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Remote AlUla

This 90-minute, site-specific immersive audio tour by Rimini Protokoll explored life, the past and the imagined future of AlUla. During the tour, guests were guided by a digital voice as they encountered the beauty of the AlUla Oasis and AlJadidah in an innovative and immersive theatre experience focused on AlUla.

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Cinema ElHoush

The beautiful outdoor set-up of Cinema ElHoush offered the chance to enjoy a selection of world-class movies from Saudi, Arab and International directors. Cinema-goers grabbed local coffee with friends at the in-house café before their films and participated in engaging discussions with directors afterwards.

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Cortona On The Move

The first edition of the international photography festival Cortona On The Move for AlUla took place in AlJadidah. The 18 exhibited artist works wove seamlessly between Time, Life and Longing. These site-specific exhibitions were accompanied by guided tours, talks, screenings and training opportunities for budding photographers.

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Plan Your Trip To AlUla

Flying to AlUla

Saudia Airlines and flydubai fly into and out of AlUla International Airport (ULH). The newly renovated airport is located just 35 km (a 30-minute drive) from the city centre.

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What to Do

Unlock the secrets of this open-air museum, where an exciting collection of immersive experiences and activities bring its stories to life.

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Where to Eat

In AlUla there are many dining options to replenish your energy after a day of exploring. Casual to fine dining options are available.

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Where to Stay

Looking for a place to rest after a long day’s adventure? From high-end luxury to sustainable eco-resorts, AlUla offers a range of accommodation options.

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COVID-19 Information

We strive to make your visit to this amazing destination as safe as possible.

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