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Nazgol Ansarinia and Seher Shah

The Diriyah Biennale Foundation at the JAX District, Riyadh. © Diriyah Biennale Foundation.

The 2024 Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, led by Artistic Director Ute Meta Bauer, announces a list of participating artists and presents its curatorial framework and title, After Rain. Evoking a scent that comes from the ground, the title embodies revitalization and renewal. 

The second edition of the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, in the historic town of Diriyah just outside of Riyadh and home to the UNESCO world heritage site of At-Turaif, will open to the public from February 20 to May 24, 2024. It explores the role of a contemporary art biennial in a country that is undergoing rapid social change. A substantial number of new works that each engage with this moment of transformation have been commissioned for the Biennale. To date, the Biennale features 92 artists from 43 countries, including 30 artists from the wider Gulf region. 

After Rain unfolds across seven halls, numerous courtyards and terraces in the JAX District of Diriyah, which is situated along Wadi Hanifa, a seasonal riverbed. This particular landscape invites a varied program of performances, concerts, and poetry readings coming to life through the year-long Biennale Encounters series, which began in April 2023. Together, artists and the curatorial team make After Rain a process of artistic exploration and an ongoing conversation with new audiences. This edition is informed by several research trips to regions across Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries undertaken by the curatorial team together with local artists and those visiting from abroad; this travel has been essential for the development of newly commissioned works.

After Rain convenes multiple generations of artists who are engaged with investigating the complex history of the region, sustaining the human-nature continuum, examining the built environment, observing the state of the surrounding landscapes, and encouraging us to listen more closely. Some of these artistic explorations involve writers and poets, botanists, architects, scientists, planners, and chefs.

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