Saudi Arabia’s Biggest Art Event Postponed

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Photo: Cherie A. Thurlby via Wikimedia Commons
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Photo: Cherie A. Thurlby via Wikimedia Commons

The death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has led to the cancellation of a second major art event. The Janadriyah festival, which was scheduled to open on February 4, has been postponed until next year, the AFP reports.

The festival is Saudi Arabia’s largest arts event. It was developed by Abdullah in 2005 and features a wide swath of the arts including performances, exhibitions, folk art, culinary offerings, and camel races. The 2015 edition was scheduled to feature a special pavilion celebrating Germany.

A statement from Saudi Arabia’s state press agency said, “A royal directive was issued to postpone the National Festival for Heritage and Culture,” to next year, “due to the death of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud.”

The postponement of the Janadriyah festival follows the partial cancellation of 21,39 Jeddah Arts last week (see Death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Disrupts Opening of 21, 39 Jeddah Arts). The festival opened last Thursday with an exhibition titled “Fast Forward,” curated by London and Dubai-based dealer and curator Bashar al Shroogi. However, it was cut short when attendees learned of King Abdullah’s death at the opening’s after party.

In observance of three days of mourning put into place by leaders across the Middle East, all of the festival’s programming was suspended. The exhibition was also temporarily closed to the public.


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