Located in the center of Al Balad, Jeddah’s historic district, which overlooks the city’s famous waterfront, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture has just inaugurated the opening of the Red Sea International Sculpture Symposium, on the 21st of November.

Coming to an end on the 10th of December 2019, 20 international and local artists have been invited to hand sculpt in real time free-standing monoliths using blocks of white marble imported from the Sultanate of Oman.

White marble has always been championed for its use in sculpture that dates back centuries and is a preferred material for its malleable nature, making it easy to carve. Resistant to shattering, the material, once it bears the shape of a finished sculpture, allows for light that it absorbs, to scatter outwards and appears to bring the sculpture to life.  

The artists participating in the Red Sea International Sculpture Symposium come from all over the world, including, local Saudi artists, Essam Jameel, Rida Alalawi and Kamal Almualem, who are exhibiting their towering masterpieces alongside European artists, Michael Levchenko (Ukraine), Kamen Tanaev (Bulgaria), Jose Carlos Cabello Millan (Spain), Mario Lopes (Portugal), Jo Klay (Germany), Sylvain Patte (Belgium) and Butrint Morina (Kosovo).

From the east, Asian participants include, Takeshita Kubo, Fan Chilung-Lien and Lin Li Jen, who hail from Japan and Taiwan, have brought a unique, abstract minimalism to the exhibition, juxtaposed with the otherwise structurally complex compositions of neighboring Arab artists, Ali Jabbar (Iraq), Hisham Abdulmuty (Egypt) and Hany Fisal (Egypt).

From the 20 exhibitors, three are women, Aggnessa Petrove (Bulgaria), Anna Maria Negara (Romania) and Anna Rasinska (Poland), whose works have an equally noteworthy presence to that of their male counterparts. 

The sculptural symposium this year in Jeddah also highlights unity that transcends cultures and religious beliefs, showcasing oneness between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world as the international artists come together to showcase their work in the kingdom.

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