It was only founded four years ago, but Jeddah’s Hafez Gallery quickly grew over 21,000 Instagram followers who eagerly watched it showcase modern and contemporary Saudi art. Following the female driving ban being lifted, Hafez wrote on Instagram, “Congrats to our nation on this historic moment.” The art accompanying the caption is by Khalid Zahid, who dedicates his work to serving social issues affecting Saudi society. The piece depicts an abaya and hijab-wearing doll flanked by car doors instead of wings, and in the gallery today visitors can find six shelves brimming with boxes of the pink packaged dolls. What a strong message.
Edge Of Arabia
Grazia has long been a fan of Edge of Arabia, the cultural initiative founded by a small collective of artists who met in Saudi. Today, EOA connects other artists between the Middle East and the western world via a super-cool Instagram account. One of Grazia’s favourite posts promotes edgy Saudi artist Balqis Al Rashed. Her film, A State Of Play depicts a woman in a niqab, spinning and twirling. Why? To demonstrate the contrast between a plastic child’s toy, which represents innocence, with the niqab, which is regarded as the most defining visual representation of womanhood in Saudi Arabia. Oh, and Balqis is so trendy she was recently selected as a Nike ambassador. Obsessed.
Founded in 2009, Athr maintains its status as Jeddah’s leading contemporary art gallery thanks to the space providing a creative environment for artists. It also has a striking Instagram account Grazia (and 35,000 others) can’t get enough of. On it – and in the physical gallery – Athr showcases work from Grazia’s Millennial Saudi Power List star Ghada Al Rabea. It is also currently running an exhibition called Through The Spectrum until 31 August. The idea behind it is each artist treats light in a unique way and explores how colour affect our emotions, painting the stark, modern interior of the gallery with a rainbow of light. We’re into it.
This family-run business opened in 1990 initially as a desert tent. Today, it has transformed into a modern gallery space in Al Khobar, partnered with a vibrant and colourful Instagram account. The art displayed in the gallery includes contemporary work by some of the region’s leading artists. Most recently, Desert Designs celebrated the driving ban being lifted by posting a printed piece showing a Middle Eastern woman riding a skateboard. They also house work by Saudi female artist Emtethal Al Awami and her powerful painting of a lady covered in traditional dress but with stilettos on show. So epic.