Shahweesh, "Darth of Arabia," pending production.
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The country's burgeoning contemporary art scene, which has emerged over the past decade or so and is attracting increasing attention from international institutions and collectors, likewise merits more than a superficial glance.A series of themed sections come together to depict the contemporary landscape of peninsular artistic production and exhibition. Artist and poet Ashraf Fayadh pens one of these.Khazindar focuses on the connections between art and society, exploring how traditional signs and symbols are being revived, reinterpreted and occasionally subverted in the work of the country's contemporary artists.The following sections, however, which list artists, galleries, initiatives and patrons, provide a more comprehensive Who's Who of the movers and shakers.The fourth section of the book covers local and international institutions as well as seminal exhibitions.The 19 patrons that feature in the final section of the book are for the most part private collectors whose loyalty to Saudi artists has helped keep the scene afloat. Of particular interest is the story of Mohamed Said Farsi, the man responsible for Jeddah's impressive collection of public art – assembled during his years as the city's mayor in the 1970s and '80s – and his son Hani, who continues to expand his father's collection today.
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