JEDDAH — The Diriyah Biennale Foundation has officially announced the eagerly awaited second edition of the Islamic Arts Biennale (IAB), scheduled to take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from January to May 2025.

This groundbreaking event is dedicated to showcasing the rich and diverse arts of Islamic civilization, both past and present, offering visitors a unique opportunity to explore the continuum of Islamic artistry.

The curatorial team for the second edition of the IAB boasts an impressive lineup of international talent. The Artistic Directors include Julian Raby, Amin Jaffer, and Abdul Rahman Azzam. Additionally, Saudi artist Muhannad Shono has been appointed as the Contemporary Art Curator. Together, they will curate a collection of objects that encompasses contemporary artworks, historical artifacts, and new commissions, providing a comprehensive and immersive experience.

The Biennale will unfold within the iconic Western Hajj Terminal at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport. This location holds great significance for Muslims worldwide as the gateway to the sacred Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages to Makkah. To complement this spiritual connection, the Diriyah Biennale Foundation is launching the AlMusalla Prize, an international architecture competition. This competition invites architects to design a prayer space (musalla) that will be inaugurated alongside the Biennale, offering a serene area for prayer and reflection.

The second edition of the IAB promises to be even more expansive than its predecessor, covering a vast area of 110,000 square meters, with 12,000 square meters dedicated solely to exhibition space. The Biennale will continue to explore its themes through the juxtaposition of historical artifacts and contemporary art, including site-specific installations that engage with the venue's unique architecture.

One of the highlights of the IAB is the return of AlMadar, a forum that encourages institutions with significant Islamic art collections to contribute to a collective, themed exhibition. AlMadar, which means "the orbit" in Arabic, fosters collaboration and dialogue among institutions from various geographical regions, showcasing the richness and diversity of Islamic culture. A dedicated gallery within AlMadar, named Homage, will celebrate the patronage behind significant collections of Islamic art today.

Additionally, two special pavilions, Makkah and Madinah, will focus on the histories of these two holy sites, further deepening the connection between art, culture, and spirituality.

The second edition of the IAB also places a strong emphasis on architecture as an expression of Islamic culture. To emphasize this, the Diriyah Biennale Foundation is launching the AlMusalla Prize, inviting architects to design a sustainable and versatile musalla.

The IAB is organized by the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, which was established in 2020 to promote creative expression and cultivate an appreciation for culture and the arts in Saudi Arabia. The Foundation also oversees the development of the JAX District in Diriyah, which is the location of its headquarters.

The curatorial team for the IAB consists of distinguished individuals, each with a unique perspective and expertise in the field. Their collective effort promises to make the second edition of the Islamic Arts Biennale a significant cultural event, both in Saudi Arabia and on the international stage. This extraordinary celebration of Islamic art and culture is set to create lasting connections between ancient traditions and contemporary expressions, offering a unique and impactful experience for visitors from around the world.

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