“Energy of Harmony“ was the theme of the 4th Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium 2023 in Riyadh

Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium 2023.Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium 2023.

30 large-scale granite sculptures were created during 26 days in February by 30 artists from 20 countries worldwide and from Saudi Arabia

From February 05 – 10, 2023, the 4th Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium 2023 took place on the outskirts of the Saudi Arabian capital on the grounds of Durrat Al Riyadh. A total of 30 artists, chosen based on past experience and the merits of their proposals, from 20 countries around the world. They were selected from an open call by a jury panel of experts, including this edition’s curator Marek Wolynski, along with Alaa Tarabzouni, Ali Al-Tokhais, Dr. Effat Fadag and Johannes von Stumm.

“The cultural exchange united international and local minds through sculpture and furthering Riyadh as a cultural hub in Saudi Arabia,” as pointed out in a press release.

“For the first time since the event’s launch in 2019, the symposium has used stone sourced from quarries in Riyadh, specifically granite and sandstone, also known as Riyadh Stone. The press release continues: This choice bears symbolic significance; it is a way to highlight Saudi Arabia’s rich history with the medium, from ancient artifacts to rock carvings and modern-day sculpture. Now, these artworks will not only be part of Riyadh, but also part of each artist’s legacy, leaving a momentous mark on the city.”

Meanwhile, 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.“

“Riyadh 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.

Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium

Riyadh Art

Our Calendar of (Sculpture)Symposia

Fotos: Riyadh Art

Harmony by Wafa Alqunibit.Harmony by Wafa Alqunibit: In Harmony (2023), the artist believes that in mass there is silence, in voidness a sound, and in emptiness there is a harmony. Those undulating dips and rises in silent rock are music you hear from every direction with a different type of harmony among people. The softness of the Arabic letter ripples within the solidity and strength of granite so that when hardness and harshness are in harmony, it is like the granite with iron, you hear chants that make the ears sing to fill the place.

Talal AlTukhaes: Continuous Points.Talal AlTukhaes’ Continuous Points (2023) 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 Water.Tatsumi Sakai’s Door of Water (2023) 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.”

Rajaa Alshafae: Let’s Blossom Together. Rajaa Alshafae Let’s Blossom Together. Delving into human relationships, Rajaa Alshafae’s work 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.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.

When it Rains by Yannick Robert.When it Rains (2023) by Yannick Robert is a granite abstraction in the general shape of a falling drop of water. The sculpture is installed on a granite base that is distinguished by differing color and shape. The fine slender movement of the sculpture points towards the sky and indicates the source where natural forces meet, oppose one another, and react. The meeting of opposing forces gives birth to rain which has the power to sculpt our reliefs and enrich our oceans. Lack and abundance mark the perpetual opposition of a fragile balance. This opposition is symbolized in the work by the curves of dunes and the criss-crossing of water runoff that forms over a general unevenness.

Sylvain Patte: Expansion.Sylvain Patte’s Expansion (2023) seeks to contain emotion imbued with freedom and contrasts. The sculpture stands as a metaphor for balance and harmony between nature and the work of man. Playing with form and formlessness, the work exudes spontaneity that also reflects within the features of the chosen stone. The artist describes the work as “part of a movement of artistic form that seeks to rediscover the lost link with nature”.

Vision by Noha Alsharif.Vision by Noha Alsharif: Weaving parallels between the lines and curves of a woman’s shape and a bird’s shape, Noha Al-Sharif produces a harmony of forms. Her piece Vision (2023) focuses on the element of space, drawing relationships between shadow and light in the urban space. Her interest includes searching for symbols and simplified shapes in the ancient rock inscriptions in Saudi Arabia, which she studies and attempts to render them in three-dimensional ways. In this manner, she seeks to liberate the form from the traditional, adding in elements that create rhythm and proportion that bring them to light in imaginative and abstract ways.

Harmony in Diversity by Qian Sihua.Harmony in Diversity by Qian Sihua. In ancient Chinese philosophy, harmony in diversity referred to being harmonious, not homogenous; different, but not confrontational. Qian Sihua’s Harmony in Diversity (2023) has a spatial construction that expresses the power of form shaped by harmony and difference. The spiritual sublimation was brought about by the harmony and change of geometric forms. Inspired by the Chinese poet Su Shi (1037-1011), the artist emphasizes the subjectivity of perspective, asking the visitors to see the works from different angles and created different meanings.

Agnessa Petrova: Wind Blast.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.

I am beginning to see the light by Stefan Esterbauer.
I am beginning to see the light (2023) by Stefan Esterbauer is a metaphor for new perspectives. It opens up a path through the structure of the stone. The work features a precisely cut cube, with marks of the chisel still seen on the surface of the inner form, which reinforces the impression of walking through stone. The size of the sculpture allows an individual to climb through the piece, enabling a more tangible experience of the energy of harmonious forms.

Elevation, Mohamed Elsayad.In Elevation (2023), Mohamed Elsayad tries to find a new solution to the aesthetic relationship between the organic and geometric form, bypassing the traditional boundaries of taking sculpture in realistic forms and preserved themes. Through the rhythm of geometric shapes and the energy of organic shapes, various aesthetics appear more effectively, such as balance and vitality, and through diversity and repetition, the sculpture is formed. Al-Sayyad’s sculptures, balanced in their positive protrusions or negative voids, reveal the essence of life – the existence of contrasts and the crucible of harmony through lines and models to reveal the laws and systems of life.

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.

DUNE, Javier Alvarez.For DUNE (2023), Javier Alvarez looked towards the desert landscapes of the Arabian Peninsula. Like the dunes, ever-changing and ever-present, the sculpture has an aura of movement and steadiness. The artwork’s delicate format draws reference to the tent, the earliest form of architectural shelter, and the heritage of nomad culture. In DUNE, architecture and nature translate into one object made of local granite with two geometrical elements communicating through hollow space.

Roland Hoeft: Synergy. Roland Hoeft’s Synergy (2023) refers to the search and striving for the perfect life, specifically the eternal connection between two souls. The work is what the artist calls a “modern adaptation” of his harmonious union, adding in architectural concepts that connect deeply with the urban environment. The synergetic connection of two shapes form a column of space and emptiness, and the interplay of polished and ground surfaces contribute to this dialogue.

Lyudmyla Mysko’s Harmony of Trust.Lyudmyla Mysko’s Harmony of Trust (2023) is an abstract geometric composition. Included in the work are stairs that lead up the sky, representing fragments of memory. The sculpture consists of separate elements arranged on top of each other, forming the shape of a spiral. Aiming to depict a complex logical theory, her work is rooted in the concept of confidence bias, which refers to an individual’s overestimation of their own judgements. In Harmony of Trust, the artist seeks to challenge this tendency, asking viewers to go around the sculpture several times to uncover the multilayered ideas within the piece.

The waves of the soul by Ikram Kabbaj.The waves of the soul (2023) by Ikram Kabbaj represents two complementary energies with a vertical opening for the passage of light, symbolizing the dream of travel to the path of self-knowledge and the depth that allows you to acquire awareness of yourself, and of your place in the world. Inspired by nature, the artist also infuses modern and contemporary shapes within the piece, highlighting unity through art and drawing from the artistic heritage of all periods and nations.

Rob Good: Rain Stones.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.

Crescendo, Damjan Komel.In Crescendo (2023), 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.   Bertha Shortiss: Connection.Bertha Shortiss’ Connection (2023) presents a quiet form of sculpture rendered in an endless loop, infusing movement and equilibrium within the shape. The form gives the feeling of balance while the small connection between the loop and bottom shows energy coming from harmony. In her work, she transforms stone – once liquid magma – back to its soft, flowing form, reflecting ideas of eternal flow and change in the shape of infinity. Playing with elements of light and shadow, the artist intends to convey calm in her piece. While in nature, wind, water, sand, and time come together to produce harmonic formations within the landscape, Connection draws inspiration from this balance of harmony and energy.

Sasho Sazdovski: Synergy Equilibrium.Sasho Sazdovski: Synergy Equilibrium. Synergy Equilibrium (2023) continues Sasho Sazdovski’s artistic research for the last 25 years, specifically on concepts of infinity, energy transformation, joining and trajectories of forces. The form is constructed with two opposing materials that represent the sequence of equilibrium that can be described with two variables in units of displacement and force. The sculpture features two contrasting pieces with two different colors of granite – beige and dark brown. In addition, contrast will be in the tension of form, with a more angular upper section and a curved bow in the lower section, showcasing ideas of balance, equilibrium, and harmony.

Lockdown Window by Marino Di Proespro.Lockdown Window (2023) by Marino Di Proespro is made from a monolithic block of brown granite. It serves as a frame to something precious, with audiences being able to look at the environment through the ‘window’. The structure is twisted on itself with a centrifugal force that gives an infinite movement, while at the same time bearing elements of surreal architecture. This concentric force creates a kind of magnetic energy, and makes it impossible to physically pass through the opening.

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.

Meeting Point by Fahad Aljebreen.Meeting Point (2023) by Fahad Aljebreen stone comprises a large unit on the right, which represents abundance, while the other side of the sculpture stands in opposition, creating a balance between the two main elements of the sculpture. Rooted in the idea of unity and connection, the work asserts that no matter the differences between human beings, individuals can find points of convergence.

Permanence (2023) by Azhar Saeed.Permanence by Azhar Saeed. Permanence (2023) is a work by Saudi artist Azhar Saeed. The title is inspired by the circle – the pulse of human existence, as it refers to nature and the earth. The circle refers to the cultures of art and construction, movement, and the continuity of life and passion. With the convergence of flowing lines, the work suggests Arabic oud tunes and symbolizes live communication and beautiful coexistence, which gives positive energy in the creativity of artistic achievement and keeping pace with development in light of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

The Gate of Light by Ana Maria Negară.The Gate of Light by Ana Maria Negară. Inspired by the writings of the Quran, the work represents the gate through which ‘guiding light’ is presented to each human being. The Gate of Light (2023) by Ana Maria Negară reflects the spirit of our current era, and creates a dynamic and harmonic connection between nature, technology, philosophy, and art. Blending and encrypting elements that draw from science fiction, film, the avant-garde and architecture, Negara pursues an interdisciplinary sculptural project that conceptually continues the work that she produced for Tuwaiq Sculpture in 2021 entitled Not just eternity, but infinity.

Existence by Nilhan Sesalan.Existence (2023) by Nilhan Sesalan is shaped in abstract lyrical style. The work resembles a tree with a trunk and intertangling branches that rise above the body. All the while, certain elements steadfastly hold on to the surface of the earth. In this way, the artist ‘melts’ the past and the future together in the same pot through the symbol of the tree, bringing to physical form Sesalan’s socio-cultural reflections on the future. Sculpted out of granite, Existence follows traditional sculpting infused with unique language forms containing personal elements from the artist.

Understanding by José Millán.Understanding by José Millán: In his work Understanding (2023), José Carlos Cabello Millán investigates human relationships, asserting that the understanding between two people is based on a shared language. By establishing mutual understandings, opposites can find a perfect balance. Communication in human relationships includes both verbal and non-verbal messages. When it comes to the latter, spaces of silence must be allowed. Thus, the artist’s sculpture is reflects on the process of navigating conflicting ideas towards a place of meeting and understanding. “Communicating well is something complex that requires learning. The objective is to understand the perspective of the other to reach a common position by sharing opinions,” Millán said in his artist statement. Featuring highly refined lines, the heavy granite material expresses elements of movement and emphasizes balances, symmetry and tension.

Mohammad Al-Faris: Riyadh’s Eye.Mohammad Al-Faris’ Riyadh’s Eye (2023) emphasizes the significance of harmony between natural heritage on the one hand, and modern engineering on the other. He shows this interaction in a constructive sculpture that features granite stone panels that form two intersecting walls, one symbolizing the natural, the other the modern. With this work, the artist considers the history of Najd or central Arabia, and the mixture of organic and geometric styles within its architecture and heritage.ber of the Saudi Society for Fine Arts and Member of Alwan Association.

Ocean Ripple by Liliya Pobornikova.In Ocean Ripple (2023) by Liliya Pobornikova, the artist sculpts a symbolic bridge between cultures in the shape of a rainbow. Inspired by the harmony between human and nature, the form represents integration and appreciation. The sculpture rises up in the skyline of the city like a rainbow, with its upper arc bearing undulating textures that resemble soft ocean ripples. Ocean Ripple is made using Riyadh sandstone.

(03.08.2023, USA: 08.03.2023)