AlUla unveils new artist residency programmes ahead of AlUla Arts Festival 2024

AlUla unveils new artist residency programmes ahead of AlUla Arts Festival 2024

A local and global assembly of creativity, culture, and innovation, these residency programmes only support AlUla as a cultural canvas
24 January 24
Artists and Designers involved in AlUla Artist Residency

Home to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Hegra, AlUla is often described as a 'living museum'.

The desert destination has become synonymous with opulent retreats and unique new hospitality experiences, Michelin-starred culinary journeys, and enthralling performances by globally acclaimed musicians.

However, the region is also incredibly well-known as being supportive of the arts. Returning this February, the AlUla Arts Festival, a vibrant celebration that highlights AlUla's rich heritage alongside the region's affinity as a cultural hub, will showcase the arts through a number of exhibitions, concerts and events.

Discover more about the events confirmed for AlUla Arts Festival right here

These celebrations and showcases will be complemented by a series of vibrant Artist Residency Programmes. Extending a global invitation to artists and designers, these programmes aim to foster a creative dialogue between modern art and creations with AlUla's rich heritage, natural wonders, and diverse society.

Ali Alghazzawi, the Arts & Creative Opportunities Lead for the Royal Commission of AlUla (RCU) said of the residency programmes:"AlUla's Artist Residency Programme is a testament to our commitment to fostering a dynamic global hub for creativity. Across six diverse programmes, from visual art to design, landscaping, and heritage, we are crafting a rich collage that goes beyond individual projects. These initiatives draw inspiration from AlUla's natural wonders and history."

Spanning the visual arts, as well as performance, design and more, these programmes will aim to support and encourage both international and local artists and creatives by providing space, education and a hub of creativity in the region.

Let's take a look at the residency programmes available to artists and creatives this year:

Design Residency

Over the course of five months, five designers and design collectives including Hall Haus, Studio Raw Materials and Leen Ajlan, will work on infrastructure development, architectural design, and sustainability, each showcasing their findings at the Arts Festival. This residency will merge creativity with the practical aspects of design, which may help the shaping the future landscape of AlUla.

Arts, Landscaping, Botany, and Agriculture Residency

From January to May 2024, six artists will delve into the intersection of art, landscaping, botany, and agriculture. This residency lays the groundwork for a contemporary art museum in AlUla, celebrating the region's botanical diversity and setting the stage for public art commissions.

Heritage and Innovation Residency

Exploring the fusion of art and digital technology, this residency will bring six artists together, focussing on the heritage of AlUla through research and reflection. From May to June 2024, six artists will explore the fusion of art and digital technology, to envision an imagined future, intertwining cultural artefacts and natural elements.

Visual Art Residency

This residency will bring together seven artists from around the world — Joel Spring, Reem Al-Nasser, Maitha Abdalla, Hugo Servanin, Marlon de Azambuja, Bianca Bondi and Guillaume Bouisset — and will bridge art, science, and local narratives.

This programme and collaboration aims to draw inspiration from AlUla's ancient heritage, exploring themes such as interspecies connections, folklore, and tale. The artists' processes and outcomes will be unveiled in an exhibition at the AlUla Arts Festival in February 2024.

Long-Term Residencies

Offering precious time to artists, three selected creatives will reside in AlUla for an extensive period, contributing to the region's cultural assets collections and creative projects. These long-term residencies aim to nurture artistic endeavours and contribute to the vibrant ecosystem of AlUla.

Two of these long-term residencies has been confirmed to be awarded to creatives, Ayman Zedani and Gregory Chatonsky.

Alumni Circle for Artists, April 2024

And finally, the Alumni Circle will mark a commitment to long-term relationships with artists, fostering dialogue and collaboration. This yearly symposium gathers alumni, providing valuable feedback and reflections on the residency's impact, ensuring the continuous growth of arts and culture in AlUla.

Arts Festival AlUla: February 9 to March 2, 2024 in various locations across AlUla