Desert X AlUla 2022

The 2022 edition of the exhibition, under the curatorial vision of Reem Fadda, Raneem Farsi and Neville Wakefield, featured newly commissioned works by 15 artists, bringing a plurality of voices from around the world. Under the theme of Sarab, the exhibition explored ideas of mirage and oasis, both intrinsic to desert history and culture, that have taken on complex worldwide significance over time. Invited to consider these ancient concepts, participating artists responded with new works that addressed dreams, camouflage, fiction, dis/appearance, extraction, illusion and myth.

Following a stop at beautiful the visitor's centre, guests could walk the area and visit each exhibition at their own pace. Dispersed throughout the canyon, Hakat al Fann, or the Art Narrators of Desert X AlUla 2022, had in-depth insight into each magnificent art installation. Their warm welcome and thoughtful descriptions greatly enhanced this one-of-a-kind experience. Guided tours, family workshops, live music and dance performances, and so much more were also offered throughout this incredible exhibition.

DESERT X ALULA 2022 EXHIBITING ARTISTS (1-8 OF 15)

"I Have Seen Thousands of Stars and One Fell in AlUla" Shadia Alem

Shadia Alem's sculptural installation adapted the art of origami, applying the basic principles of geometry and beauty to create shapes that made reference to the Arabian desert’s literature, mathematics and mythology. Born in Saudi Arabia, Alem is a Paris-based artist.

"Gold Falls" Serge Attukwei Clottey

Serge Attukwei Clottey's installation addressed the experience of globalisation, migration and water equity by shrouding slabs of rock in meticulously crafted tapestries made from yellow kufuor gallons, which are plastic containers used in Ghana for storing and transporting water. Clottey is currently based in Accra, Ghana.

"Where the Dwellers Lay" Dana Awartani

Dana Awartani’s sculpture drew inspiration from the vernacular architecture of AlUla, taking the form of a concave geometric sculpture that referenced the Nabataean tombs and mimicked the shapes of surrounding mountains, gorges, caverns and rock formations. Awartani is a contemporary artist based in Jeddah.

"Dark Suns, Bright Waves" Claudia Comte

Claudia Comte’s work featured a progression of walls imposing their architectural presence within the natural order of the AlUla canyons, with each carrying a section of a larger algorithmic pattern relating to the waveforms that shape the sound and surface of the desert. Hailing from Switzerland, Comte is based in Basel.

"Coral Alchemy I & II" Shezad Dawood

Shezad Dawood’s work explored ideas of deep time and the geo-biological relationship between the desert floor and nearby Red Sea through a pair of coral-like forms whose temperature-sensitive surfaces reflected the effects of climate change and mankind’s continuing struggle to find a sustainable relationship with a rapidly changing ecosystem. Dawood is a UK artist currently based in London.

"Angle of Repose" Jim Denevan

Jim Denevan created ephemeral drawings whose interlocking patterns spoke to the shifts in magnitude and scale that so often shape our experience of the desert and our attempts to position ourselves within the vastness of unbounded space. American artist Denevan is based out of Santa Cruz, California.

"Under the Same Sun" Stephanie Deumer

Working at the intersection of nature and technology Stephanie Deumer created an underground greenhouse. Hinting at the lush sanctuary of native plants below, a large puddle-shaped array of solar panels mounted flush with the desert floor created an energy feedback loop where the energy of the sun was captured, stored and transformed through photosynthesis into growth and transformation. Originally from Canada, Deumer is currently based out of Los Angeles, California.

"Desert Kite" Sultan Bin Fahad

Sultan bin Fahad’s mud structure was shaped like a desert kite, with mirrors on the façade that created the look of a mirage, and was home to an urn-like sculpture embossed with four protective symbols traditionally used in Nabatean tombs. Saudi Arabian born Sultan bin Fahad is currently based out of Los Angeles, California.

DESERT X ALULA 2022 EXHIBITING ARTISTS (9-15 OF 15)

"In Blur" Alicja Kwade

Alicja Kwade’s architectural structures reflected and framed the natural artefacts she encountered on the desert floor, which she rearranged and supplemented to create constantly changing perspectives that struck the fine line between reality and illusion. From Poland, Kwade is based out of Berlin, Germany.

"Measuring the Physicality of Void" Shaikha AlMazrou

Shaikha AlMazrou’s lengthy steel-made inflated structures were wedged in the voids of rocks, tensely balanced in the landscape, occupying the liminal state between stasis and movement, creating a silent yet imposing composition suspended in inertia. From the United Arab Emirates, AlMazrou is a Dubai-based artist.

"Geography of Hope" Abdullah AlOthman

Abdullah AlOthman’s piece referenced theories of light refraction rooting back to the early days of desert civilisation and culture, with stainless steel plinths that interacted with the light and created a radiant space that sought to manifest the experience of capturing the mirage for the first time. Saudi Arabian artist AlOthman is currently based in Riyadh.

"Grounding" Khalil Rabah

Khalil Rabah created a mirage of an orchard of olive trees, which stood in the desert as living things displaced from their indigenous land and longing to be repatriated, as an exploration of territory, survival and citizenship. Palestinian artist Rabah is based out of Ramallah, Palestine.

"Silent Witnesses of the Past" Monika Sosnowska

Monika Sosnowska’s sculptural exploration of memory spoke to AlUla’s historical position as a hub and passage of trade and its more recent cultural re-awakening. Using heritage rails from the Hejaz railway, that ran from Damascus to Medina, the linear steel forms were transformed into giant dried grasses replete with possibilities of growth and transformation. Sosnowskabis a Polish artist based in Warsaw.

"The Valley of the Desert" Ayman Zedani

Ayman Zedani’s soundscape installation in a rocky cavern comprised horizontal sculptural wires and an audio projection of music, voices and footsteps, creating a cacophony of sounds that add to the chimes of nature. Saudi artist Zedani is based in Riyadh.

"Camoulflage 2.0" Zeinab AlHashemi

Zeinab AlHashemi’s interactive sculpture used discarded camel skins on an abstract, geometric base, resembling a rock formation in the desert; like a camouflage, these camel hide sculptures merge into the mountains. Artist AlHashemi is a UAE National based in Dubai.

Location site of Desert X 2022

DESERT X ALULA

In early 2020, Desert X had its inaugural exhibition in AlUla, and the beginning of Desert X AlUla. After an enormous positive response, Desert X AlUla became a recurring exhibition showcasing local, regional and international artists. Follow the link to learn more about past exhibitions.

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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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DESERT X ALULA 2020

In early 2020, Desert X had its inaugural exhibition in AlUla, and the beginning of Desert X AlUla. After an enormous positive response, Desert X AlUla became a recurring exhibition showcasing local, regional and international artists. Follow the link to learn more about past exhibitions.

Learn More

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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