Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: we present the 30 artists from around the world and their works

View of the symposium site with the lighting towers in the background.View of the symposium site with the lighting towers in the background.

Here our report about the symposium: https://www.stone-ideas.com/105326/tuwaiq-sculpture-symposium-riyadh-2024/

We present the artists and their works in alphabetical order. The exception is the work of Jordi Raga, which we want to highlight and have placed at the beginning: the sculptor from Spain breaks with the tradition of a sculpture being peeled out of a raw piece. He has created single elements – practically without waste – from which he in the end assembles his work. Not only do the elements have to be crafted with millimeter precision – two heavy-duty cranes were used for the installation.

Unlike conventional sculpture, this type of art is more like a composition, as we know it from music.

Below are the portraits of the artists, which we have taken from the website of the organizer Riyadh Art. We will provide descriptions of the works as soon as they are available.

Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium

Riyadh Art

Jordi Raga Frances (Spain).Jordi Raga Frances (Spain).Jordi Raga Frances (Spain).Jordi Raga Frances is a Spanish-born sculptor currently based in England where he is completing a permanent outdoor sculpture commission for the St. Peter’s College in Oxford. He is also working on two marble sculptures for the Royal Family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He has received various private commissions and has attended several international sculpture symposiums and art residencies in the past decade. In 2019 he had his major solo exhibition in the UK, Between Order and Chaos, at Messums Wiltshire. Frances obtained his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Valencia in 2003, after completing a sculpture scholarship in Carrara, Italy, in marble-carving techniques in 2001.
 

Ahmed Karaly (Egypt).Ahmed Karaly (Egypt).Ahmed Karaly (Egypt).Ahmed Karaly is an Egyptian sculptor who began his artist career after graduating from the College of Fine Arts in 1994, where he joined the Youth Salon – an annual exhibition organised by the Ministry of Culture. He won multiple awards in this exhibition, which encouraged him to take part in further projects. Karaly held his first solo exhibition at Al-Mashrabiya Gallery in 2002, while the Aswan Sculpture Symposium marked his entry into the world of international stone sculpture symposiums. Karaly’s notable work, Al-Masrakankiyya, was displayed at the Egyptian Academy of Arts in Rome in 2006 and then at the Gezira Art Center in 2008.
 

Antonio Vigo (Spain).Antonio Vigo (Spain).Antonio Vigo (Spain).Antonio Vigo (b.1972) is a sculptor and professor of Fine Arts at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain. He attended the School of Arts and Crafts in 1992, and obtained a Fine Arts degree from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1999, where he also earned his PhD with an Extraordinary Prize in 2010. Vigo is also a researcher with a strong focus on visual arts and three-dimensional projects. He has participated in different sculpture symposiums and has won awards in various competitions. His sculptures have been featured in exhibitions in Germany, China, Italy and Spain.
 

Arno Avilés (Mexico). Arno Avilés (Mexico). Arno Avilés (Mexico). Arno Avilés (b.1971) is a Mexican sculptor who developed his work primarily using the stone carving technique. He studied visual arts at the National School of Fine Arts in 1989. Avilés has conducted solo exhibitions since 2005, taking his works to various cultural centres and art venues, as well as private art galleries across Mexico. He has been honoured in various sculpture competitions and was part of the national system of art creators in 2012. Avilés’ works are exhibited in various private collections in Mexico, China and other countries.
 

Azhar Saeed (Saudi Arabia).Azhar Saeed (Saudi Arabia).Azhar Saeed (Saudi Arabia).Azhar Saeed is a Saudi sculptor and potter who holds a master’s degree in Art Education from King Saud University. She has held three personal exhibitions: in Saudi Arabia in 1997; Germany in 2008; and at the Saudi Culture and Arts Society in 2017, which celebrated 20 years of her artistic journey. Saeed gave a lecture on abstract art at the Culture and Arts Association as part of the activities of the Fine Arts Exhibition (Art Schools) 2022 and took part in the Art Forum at the Princess Noura Center with the Al-Qaf sculpture (Qassim) in 2022. She is also involved in charitable activities, having donated a 150/150 cm painting to the Nazareth Health Center (Qatif) and participated in the opening of the Autism Center in Al-Khair.
 

Bhola Kumar (India).Bhola Kumar (India).Bhola Kumar (India).Bhola Kumar is a sculptor and art lecturer in DIET Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, India. After completing his studies, Kumar joined Lalit Kala Artist Studio in New Delhi, where he pursued his art practice and gradually built a reputation in the art community. Kumar earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Fine Art (Sculpture) from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. He has been honoured by the Indian government with a Junior Fellowship in 2018 and a National Award by Lalit Kala Akademi in 2022.
 

Butrint Morina (Kosovo).Butrint Morina (Kosovo).Butrint Morina (Kosovo).Butrint Morina (b.1988) is a freelance sculptor who has been managing the Kosovo office of the non-profit International Association for Monumental Sculpture Events (AIESM) since 2017. Morina developed his skills growing up in a family of traditional stone masters in the small village of Gllareve in Klina City, Kosovo. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sculpting at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Prishtina. Morina has won various prizes and has participated in several international exhibitions and workshops in Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, Italy, China and other countries.
 

Canan Sönmezdağ Zöngür (Turkey).Canan Sönmezdağ Zöngür (Turkey).Canan Sönmezdağ Zöngür (Turkey).Canan Sönmezdağ Zöngür is an academician who specialised in sculpture during her undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate studies. She currently serves as an Associate Professor at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University. Zöngür focuses on studies related to Eastern and South Asian mythology. Her stone sculptures and monumental artworks are permanently exhibited in open spaces in countries such as Australia, Argentina, Belize, China, Germany, Italy, France, India, Israel, Portugal, Egypt, Romania and Turkiye. Her works have been selected for display at numerous international and national scientific and artistic events.
 

Essam Jameel (Saudi Arabia).Essam Jameel (Saudi Arabia).Essam Jameel (Saudi Arabia).Essam Jameel is a record-setting Saudi sculptor who is considered to be the first to sculpt on sand in the Eastern Province. He is a member of the Culture and Arts Association in Dammam. One of his works has been nominated for the cover of the translation of the book Modern Museum Science 2022. Jameel conducted his first personal exhibition at Saudi Aramco – Abqaiq in 2016, and his second in Muscat in 2019. He has been featured by various media networks, including Al Arabiya, MBC, The Independent, Saudi News, and Good Morning in Dammam. Jameel developed the Little Sculptor’s Course for the Blind on clay at the Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Foundation for Social Development in 2022, and the Prince Mohammed bin Fahd Foundation for Social Development in 2019.
 

Fahad Alhajeri (Kuwait).Fahad Alhajeri (Kuwait).Fahad Alhajeri (Kuwait).Fahad Alhajeri (b.1982) is a Kuwaiti plastic artist and sculptor and a member of the Kuwait Fine Arts Society. In 1996, he trained under the plastic artist Saud Al-Faraj and graduated from art school within two years. Alhajeri’s artistic journey began as a painter, participating in the group exhibitions of the Kuwaiti Fine Arts Society and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature. In 2005, he produced his first sculptures from wood and began his transition from drawing to sculpture. In 2015, he took part in the Sculpture Forum for Arab Youth in Muscat in Oman, the first of many international participation in various Arab countries, East Asia, Europe, and the US. Alhajeri supervised the first Kuwait International Sculpture Forum in 2017, and established a sculpture school in the same year.
 

Filin Gheorghi (Italy).Filin Gheorghi (Italy).Filin Gheorghi (Italy).Filin Gheorghi is an Italian sculptor, academic and member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors (RBS) in London. He received his master’s degree from the National Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria, and his bachelor’s degree from the Academy Fine Arts in Carrara, Italy. Gheorghi also taught as a professor of sculpture at the National Academy of Arts from 1979-95 and at the Academy of Fine Arts in 2001. He is also a member of the U.B.A. Association of Art; Association Piemonte Arte in Torino, Italy; and Art Society “ASART” in Pietrasanta, Italy. Gheorghi has won several prizes from international exhibitions and competitions in Germany, France, Italy, China and other countries.
 

Galina Stetco (Moldova).Galina Stetco (Moldova).Galina Stetco (Moldova).Galina Stetco (b.1975) is a sculptor who uses her background in architecture to create representations of form that combine both figurative and abstract elements. Stetco’s works often seek to emphasise the plurality of non-linear reality. She obtained her degree in Architecture from the Technical University of Moldova in Chisinau. In 2003, she emigrated to Canada and has since lived in the Greater Montreal area. Stetco speaks French, English, Romanian, and Russian. Her works can be found in Canada, the US, Moldova, Italy, Switzerland and Egypt.
 

George Badawi (Syria).George Badawi (Syria).George Badawi (Syria).George Badawi is a sculptor who uses stone as his central artistic medium. Born in Aleppo, Syria, he developed his skills through various sculpture and design courses. Badawi moved to Sweden in 2000 where he has featured in several national exhibitions. He started his artistic journey when he was 13 years old, supporting himself through his art as he lived in Aleppo, then Athens, and finally Sweden. Badawi has exhibited in several countries including Sweden, Germany and London.
 

Helwa Al-Atwi (Saudi Arabia).Helwa Al-Atwi (Saudi Arabia).Helwa Al-Atwi (Saudi Arabia).Helwa Al-Atwi is a self-taught Saudi sculptor who is regarded to be the first in the world to use fossils in sculpture. Having been a practitioner for 35 years, she has journeyed across various regions of Saudi Arabia in search of natural rocks that serve as the medium for her sculptures. Al-Atwi’s solo exhibitions include the Fossil and Stone Sculpturing Stand at King Abdulaziz Public Library in 2000 under the patronage of Her Highness the wife of the Crown Prince Princess Hessa Al Shaalan, and her first personal exhibition for fossil and stone sculpturing at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre Social Club in 2002.
 

Klaus F. Hunsicker (Germany).Klaus F. Hunsicker (Germany).Klaus F. Hunsicker (Germany).Klaus F. Hunsicker is a German sculptor and educator. He studied to be a master stonemason and master stone sculptor at the trade school MHK for stonemasons and stone sculptors in Kaiserslautern, where he also taught from 2001 to 2011. He has been managing his own art studio since 1999, where he organises workshops for children and adult students. Hunsicker has participated in international sculpture symposiums in several countries, including Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Luxembourg, France, Finland and the US. In 2019, he served as a guest professor at CAFA Art Academy in Beijing, China.
 

Lamia Moraished (Saudi Arabia).Lamia Moraished (Saudi Arabia).Lamia Moraished (Saudi Arabia).Lamia Moraished is a Saudi artist who combines her passion for the arts with her teaching background, integrating academic insights into her creative process. She earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Art Education from King Saud University in 2005 and 2009 respectively. Moraished has participated in exhibitions in Saudi Arabia and Italy. As an academic, she served as a lecturer at King Saud University in 2010. Moraished was a member of the Women’s Committee in supervising international and local exhibitions at the General Presidency of Youth Welfare – Cultural Activities.
 

Lorena Olivares (Chile).Lorena Olivares (Chile).Lorena Olivares (Chile).Lorena Olivares (b.1973) is a sculptress who lives and works in Chile, where a number of her large-scale works adorn various public spaces. She has held several solo exhibitions and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Chile and abroad. Many of her works feature a combination of different materials such as steel, molten metals, wood, clay, concrete and stone. Olivares studied at the Faculty of Arts, Universidad de Chile, where she received her title as a sculptor with highest distinction in 1997. She has won various awards in Chile and abroad and has created large-scale works for public spaces in Argentina, Italy, Germany, Bolivia, Brasil, Cyprus, Egypt, Armenia, Iran and France.
 

Mahdih Al-Talib (Saudi Arabia).Mahdih Al-Talib (Saudi Arabia).Mahdih Al-Talib (Saudi Arabia).Mahdih Al-Talib is a Saudi plastic artist and sculptor who has participated in more than 300 exhibitions, festivals and forums in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in other countries. She has had a permanent exhibition in her workshop Al Mada in the Eastern Province since 2006. She recently opened a second branch this year in Riyadh. Al-Talib and has conducted 11 solo local and international exhibitions and six special exhibitions for her trainees and people with special needs. She has produced 3,000 artworks in a 30-year career, across a variety of media, from paint, graphics, and silkscreen, to wood and stone carving, and pottery. Al-Talib has won many local and international awards and has many of her works on book covers. Her works have been showcased in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the US and Australia.
 

Max Seibald (Austria).Max Seibald (Austria).Max Seibald (Austria).Max Seibald is a sculptor whose series “urban forms” has been praised as a model for the future of architecture in urban space. Aside from his sculpture projects, he has also worked in the field of architecture, design and performance art. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with Michelangelo Pistoletto, and later at the IUAV University of Venice with Antoni Muntadas. Seibald has won various prizes and awards, while his works have been featured in several symposia and exhibitions all over Europe.
 

Milton Estrella (Ecuador).Milton Estrella (Ecuador).Milton Estrella (Ecuador).Milton Estrella is a self-taught sculptor from Ecuador whose works have been shown in many prestigious art venues, including the Louvre Museum in France. He entered the Faculty of Arts of the Universidad Central of Quito in 1991, but soon left academic life to pursue other interests and career paths. In 1995, he participated and won a nationwide contest; since then he has not stopped sculpting. Estrella has taken part in numerous international symposia in the US, South Korea, Argentina, Poland, Chile, Romania, France, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Spain, China, Sweden, and Italy.
 

Mohammad Al-Faris (Saudi Arabia).Mohammad Al-Faris (Saudi Arabia).Mohammad Al-Faris (Saudi Arabia).Dr Mohammad Al-Faris is a Saudi academic, sculptor and founding member of the Saudi Society for Fine Arts. A retired Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, Dr Al-Faris holds a master’s degree and a PhD in Tourism Geography. He has helped organise various exhibitions across Saudi Arabia, and supervised the first exhibition of 3D artworks by the Ministry of Culture and Information. He has contributed articles on visual art to leading newspapers, magazines and online media. Some of his works have been acquired by prominent entities and personalities, including former Minister of Information Iyad Madani, Robin Start, and the Ministry of Information.
 

Muhammad Al Thagafi (Saudi Arabia).Muhammad Al Thagafi (Saudi Arabia).Muhammad Al Thagafi (Saudi Arabia).Muhammad Al Thagafi (b. 1975) is a founding member of the Saudi Society for Fine Arts. Among the pioneers of the Saudi art scene, he is a well-known sculptor locally and internationally. He holds a master’s degree in sculpture from Umm Al- Qura University (2016). Al Thagafi’s work has been shown in group exhibitions including: Misk International Symposium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2018); Saudi Anamel exhibition in Germany (2008); UNESCO Exhibition in Austria (2007); And many more in Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Morocco, Russia, China, Senegal, Syria and Turkey. Solo exhibitions include: “Tajjalyat” exhibition in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia (2016), Naqa’ exhibition in Jeddah (2016), and “Legend and Stone”; exhibition at Shubra Palace, Taif, Saudi Arabia (2007).
 

Piotr Gargas (Poland).Piotr Gargas (Poland).Piotr Gargas (Poland).Piotr Gargas is a Polish sculptor recognised for his unique approach of combining traditional stone sculpture with 3D digital sculpting. He trained for five years in Art college specialising in decorative stone sculptor. He spent the next decade further honing his skills working across Europe, helping with the restoration of various sculptures. In 2007, Gargas was invited to Oxford to work on the renovation and the creation of new sculptures in colleges and churches. Most recently, he has designed 26 new gargoyles, carving 15 of them, for a new Oxford college building. Gargas’s latest technique of using monochromic design with stone has expanded in both abstract and figurative works, with many already in private collections around the world.
 

Rajaa Alshafee (Saudi Arabia).Rajaa Alshafee (Saudi Arabia).Rajaa Alshafee (Saudi Arabia).Rajaa Alshafee is a Saudi sculptor and visual artist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from King Faisal University (2014) and a diploma in Fine Arts from Penn Foster School in the US. She has also completed several accredited artistic courses in the field. Since 1998, Alshafee has participated in many group exhibitions in the Kingdom. She has received many awards and participated in exhibitions internationally, including Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, Lebanon, UAE, Malaysia, Jordan, the US and Kuwait. In 2018, she held her first solo exhibition, Maqamat, at the Abdullah Al-Sheikh Hall of the Culture and Arts Society in Dammam.
 

Saeed AlZahrani (Saudi Arabia).Saeed AlZahrani (Saudi Arabia).Saeed AlZahrani (Saudi Arabia).Saeed AlZahrani is a Saudi visual artist and sculptor. He is a member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts and a board member of the Gesft Fine Arts Association, Mecca branch. AlZahrani has participated in several local exhibitions and events in Jeddah and the first sculpture forum in Mecca. He also took part in exhibitions organised by the Najran Culture and Arts Association and the Gesft Association in Makkah Al-Mukarramah. He has led courses in sculpture for the Najran Culture and Arts Association and has delivered a symposium at the Culture and Arts Society in Jeddah.
 

Sahar Khalaji (Iran).Sahar Khalaji (Iran).Sahar Khalaji (Iran).Sahar Khalaji is an Iranian sculptress recognized for her contributions to the field of sculpture through her participation in several international symposiums and exhibitions. Born and educated in Tehran, she pursued her higher education in Sculpture at Tehran University of Art. As an active member of the Association of Iranian Sculptors, Khalaji has showcased her artistic talents in various notable exhibitions, including the 7th International Meeting of Monumental Sculpture Symposium in Belgium, the International Symposium in Sirjan, Iran, and the 10 GIORNATE IN PIETRA Symposium in Italy. Her work has been exhibited in numerous countries, reflecting her international presence and acclaim in the world of sculpture.
 

Talal AlTukhaes (Saudi Arabia).Talal AlTukhaes (Saudi Arabia).Talal AlTukhaes (Saudi Arabia).Talal AlTukhaes is a Saudi artist and sculptor known for his stone and marble sculptures. He has participated in more than 200 local and international artistic events and exhibitions, including in Italy, the UK, UAE, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Kuwait, France, and South Africa. He has won several awards, including the British Council Award. AlTukhaes has organised more than 60 artistic events, including exhibitions, sculpture forums and seminars, and has served as a judge in several artistic competitions. His works are on display in Dawadmi, Jeddah, Al-Khobar, Medina, as well as in Oman and Kuwait. A number of his works have been acquired by government agencies, artistic institutions, members of royal families and other prominent personalities.
 

Vasilis Vasili (Greece).Vasilis Vasili (Greece).Vasilis Vasili (Greece).Vasilis Vasili started his artistic journey in his home country of Greece, where he studied at The School of Fine Arts in Athens, before taking his craft to the US and later to Canada where he is now based. He studied under professors E. Panourias and T. Papagiannis in Athens from 1992-97, before receiving a scholarship from The Greek Foundation of Scholarships and the Onassis Foundation in 1999. He earned his master’s degree in Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2001. He has participated in several exhibitions and symposiums locally and in different countries worldwide, including Germany, Turkey, Cyprus, USA, Canada, Taiwan, India and France.
 

Zdravko Zdravkov (Bulgaria).Zdravko Zdravkov (Bulgaria).Zdravko Zdravkov (Bulgaria).Zdravko Zdravkov (b.1977) is a Bulgarian sculptor and since 2010 has been a member of The Union of Bulgarian Artists affiliated with the International Association of Art IAA/UNESCO. He studied at the National Academy of Arts in his hometown Sofia, where he graduated with a Masters in Sculpture in 2006. Zdravkov has participated in numerous sculpture symposiums, competitions and exhibitions in Bulgaria, France, Spain, Germany, Romania, China, Hungary, Kuwait, Qatar, Iran, Turkey, India, Saudi Arabia, Canada and other countries. His works have been featured in public spaces in different countries, including the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, China, in 2022.
 

Zhao Li (China).Zhao Li (China).Zhao Li (China).Zhao Li is a Chinese sculptor who is well-known for her participation in several international sculpture creation camps and painting exhibitions. Born in Chengdu, Li graduated from the Central Academy of Arts and Design, majoring in decorative sculpture in 1987. She has also participated in many important art exhibitions in China and has won several awards. More than 60 of her public artworks have been built in over 20 countries, including China, the US, France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, South Korea, Slovenia, Egypt, Czech Republic, Oman, India, Mexico, Switzerland, Spain and Finland.

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(05.03.2024, USA: 03.05.2024)