Death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Disrupts Opening of 21, 39 Jeddah Arts

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Photo: Cherie A. Thurlby via Wikimedia Commons
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Photo: Cherie A. Thurlby via Wikimedia Commons
Work by Rashed Al Shashai currently on view at Hafiz Gallery in Jeddah as part of 21,39 Jeddah Arts Photo: Courtesy Hafiz Gallery

Work by Rashed Al Shashai currently on view at Hafiz Gallery in Jeddah as part of 21,39 Jeddah Arts
Photo: Courtesy Hafiz Gallery

The second edition of the nonprofit program 21, 39 Jeddah Arts was disrupted by the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who died on Thursday night at the age of 90.

Following the opening last night, invited guests headed to the home and studio of artist and Edge of Arabia co-founder Ahmed Mater for a dinner and party. However, the festivities were cut short at 1 AM, as news of King Abdullah’s death broke. Across the Middle East, leaders called for three days of mourning.

According to sources in Jeddah, all 21, 39 Jeddah Arts programming has been suspended during the days of mourning. This includes the cancellation of a symposium on Saturday in which numerous international art world figures were scheduled to speak. “Fast Forward” and the festival’s five other exhibitions will reportedly reopen to the public after the days of mourning have come to an end.

Speaking to the Saudi Gazette, vice-chairman of the Saudi Art Council, Mohammed Hafiz said, “The theme of the exhibition is to revisit the most important effective historical points in Saudi contemporary art history.” The Saudi Art Council plans and organizes 21, 39 Jeddah Arts. Aside from the central exhibition, the festival includes a program of talks and other cultural events.

The 2015 edition of the festival’s main exhibition, titled “Fast Forward,” is curated by London and Dubai-based dealer and curator Bashar al Shroogi.

 


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