The Tuwaiq Sculpture symposium plays a key role in the Riyadh Art initiative meant to turn the Saudi capital into one of the world’s most livable and competitive cities

Poster of the Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium 2023.

See also our Calendar of Sculpture Symposia / Festivals

30 sculptors from all over the world will be selected for the Tuwaiq Sculpture symposium to be held in Riyadh from January 14 to February 08, 2024. The theme is “Dimensions of Movement“ meaning the essence of progress and expansion, reflecting the accelerating advancements of modern society. The selected artists will gather in the capital of Saudi Arabia for 3 weeks of sculpting, in parallel to a comprehensive public engagement program, which includes workshops, tours, and panel discussions. In addition to an artist fee, the program covers all expenses, including accommodation as well as return flights for international artists. Following the completion of the sculptures, the artworks will be displayed in an exhibition setting, before they are located permanently across the city, contributing to its urban fabric. Application is closed.

We quote the press release of the organizer describing the event: “Since its inception in 2019, Tuwaiq Sculpture has engaged with over 90 world-renowned sculptors and thousands of visitors. It is an integral part of the Riyadh Art public initiative, which aims to transform the city into a gallery without walls. Through the project, more than 1,000 artworks will be displayed across Riyadh, in neighborhoods, parks, and public spaces, elevating its status as a top city in the world for sustainability and quality of life, in line with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

“The works and events of the Tuwaiq Sculpture Forum are part of the Riyadh Art program, which aims to improve the quality of life of the city’s residents and visitors and spread joy in their daily lives,“ Eng. Khalid Abdullah Al-Hazani, Executive Director of Riyadh Art Program, said.

Talal Altukhaes: Continuous Points.Talal AlTukhaes’ Continuous Points reflects on the interplay of concepts, orientations, and origins where compromise and acceptance often occur. The subtleties of this difference seamlessly merge despite the contradiction, seeking a continuity of life in a better way. The sculpture comprises four different vertical points that rotate separately in a slow smooth movement, then merge together in faster rotation, before returning to their original individual oscillation.
Tatsumi Sakai: Door of WaterTatsumi Sakai’s Door of Water features elegant forms that recall the flow of water. In his artist statement, he wrote, “Water is all around us in the form of clouds, ice, and many other forms, sometimes bringing blessings and sometimes disasters. Consider the energy of water in front of my work. And think about the possibilities of water.”

For the upcoming symposium, the theme is ‘Dimensions of Movement’. Artists are invited to sculpt the essence of progress and expansion, reflecting the accelerating advancements of modern society. Like a contemporary tribute to Futurism, this theme captures the vitality of Riyadh’s transformation and the ambitious drive towards innovation and new horizons. It beckons sculptors to craft bold, awe-inspiring artworks that transcend boundaries, convey a sense of speed and power, expand perceptions of space and time, and embody the Saudi spirit of progress and boundless potential.

Artists from around the world, who have at least 5 years of experience in sculpting and exhibiting in outdoor spaces and galleries, are invited to send their proposals in response to the curatorial theme. For the 2024 edition, they will work with Saudi-sourced granite of 3 different colors, encouraging innovative ways of using traditional materials.

Rajaa Alshafae: Let’s Blossom Together.Delving into human relationships, Rajaa Alshafae’s Let’s Blossom Together considers partnership between two individuals, and the recognition of each other as a complete entity with his and her own rights, dreams, and ambitions. Let’s Blossom Together takes these aspects into account as a way to think about balance and beautiful harmony within emotional relationships whose roots extend deep to grow and blossom in every direction.
Muhammad Althagafi: Empower.
Women in Saudi Arabia have made great strides towards empowerment in recent years. Vision 2030 has aided in paving the way towards bringing Saudi women towards leadership positions on local and international levels. With this in consideration, Muhammad Althagafi’s Empower symbolizes women’s futures, filled with optimism and grace. Bearing geometric details that refer to heritage and culture, the work represents balance in terms of the roles of women and men in society.

The selected 30 local and international artists will gather in Riyadh for three weeks of sculpting, in parallel to a comprehensive public engagement program, which includes workshops, tours, and panel discussions.

In addition to an artist fee, the program covers all expenses, including accommodation as well as return flights for international artists.

Following the completion of the sculptures, the artworks will be displayed in an exhibition setting, before they are located permanently across the city of Riyadh, contributing to its urban fabric.

Agnessa Petrova: Wind Blast.The power of the wind transforms the desert into variable shapes of the sand dunes. It could also create the wavy shapes of flying drapery, which vibrates under the wind blasts. In Wind Blast, Agnessa Petrova emphasizes the contrast between the ephemeral yet powerful energy of the wind and the solid nature of the hardest stone. Following the main theme, her composition delves into the opposing forces of wind, with its invisible energy and immaterial nature, and its permanent transformations to natural elements such as stone and sand. The granite sculpture’s wavy shapes conjures swaying cloth, symbolizing a people’s journey through windswept landscapes, while the main shape suggests energy and power in a sophisticated balance.
Aleksandre Phophkhadze: The Sun and the Moon.Aleksandre Phophkhadze’s The Sun and the Moon depicts the world in man and around him: sun and moon, light and darkness, contrast and similarity, white and black, inactivity and vibration, positive and negative. In this work, the artist seeks to represent a world where dual and opposing forces exist synthetically, maintaining balance, and in space, connected forms create a harmonious whole.

Additionally, a public program will run concurrent to the sculpting, engaging the local community through school and university visits, workshops, and panel discussions, with experts in the fields of art, sculpture, and urbanism. Selected artists will have the opportunity to contribute to the public program, sharing their skills and techniques with the wider public.

Following the success of Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023, Marek Wolynski, a specialist in large-scale projects and cross-sector partnerships, returns as curator for the upcoming 5th edition of the symposium, leading the jury panel of experts that include Dr Khulod Albugami, a sculptor and Assistant Professor at College of Art and Design at Princess Nourah University; Nojoud Alsudairi, Co-founder of Syn Architects, an artist and architect whose practice focuses on identities rooted in urban contemporary Saudi culture; Dr. Fahad Aljebreen, a sculptor and Assistant Professor at King Saud University, Associate Curator of Tuwaiq Sculpture 2024; and Sebastiano Barassi, a curator and art historian, who has held curatorial positions at the Courtauld Gallery, the University of Cambridge, and the Henry Moore Foundation in the UK.“

Riyadh Art

Tuwaiq Sculpture is part of Riyadh Art. The press release continuous: “Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, is on a ten-year mission to become one of the world’s most livable and competitive cities, a global city which is open for business and that welcomes the world. With a young and rapidly growing population of 7.5 million residents, Riyadh is transforming into a vibrant, cosmopolitan global city.
“Art and culture reflect the spirit of a city and so the Riyadh Art project has been developed to turn the whole capital into a creative canvas – a gallery without walls – to enrich lives, ignite creative expression and kindle the creative economy. Riyadh Art is a demonstration of the open, accessible, creative transformation of the capital, where the exchange of ideas through creative expression develops a deeper mutual understanding and respect, while instilling a greater sense of civic pride and creating a more beautiful city for everyone to enjoy. It will also spark development of the new creative economy and have a positive effect in attracting new businesses to invest in the city.“

In 2023, the symposium with generous conditions for the artists had seen more than 600 applications from sculptors worldwide. We show some of the works from Riyadh Art.
More photos and descriptions, also of the years before under

Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium 2024

Riyadh Art

Rob Good: Rain Stones.In Rain Stones by Rob Good, three wide slabs of beige granite are carved to represent vast sheets of cloud, overlapping and interacting to create a great temporal presence. Mounted vertically and pinned to a dark granite base with integrated seating, it is hoped that the scale of this work will become a focal point for the city, creating a space for both social interaction and quiet contemplation. This sculpture offers clouds to the desert, in thanks for the waters of yesterday, and in joyful expectation of tomorrow.
Vasilisa Chugunova: Energy of Water.Vasilisa Chugunova’s Energy of Water considers the power of this natural resource. Water is strength and energy that flows from the earth and can break through thick stone. In fact, water can sharpen stone. In her sculpture, the lines are intertwined with each other, forming a continuous stream of thin lines and broad masses. In certain places, thin drops of water stand out through this mass of material, and despite their size, convey great strength.Damjan Komel: Crescendo.In Crescendo, Damjan Komel follows his unique style of polishing stone to leave surfaces soft, flowing and wavy, encouraging tactility and touch for observers. Crescendo is part of his series Seeds of Light, where seeds serve as time vessels that contain metaphors for dreams, growth, and wisdom. For this work, Komel draws inspiration from Najdi architecture and the use of geometrical shapes such as triangles, linking it to the musical notation of the crescendo (<), a word that also signifies growth.

(03.08.2023, USA: 08.03.2023)