Hayy Jameel’s opening

Art Jameel has announced an impressive opening season for Hayy Jameel, the Jeddah companion to Dubai’s Jameel Art Centre, which opens to the public on 6 December.

It’s a packed schedule – December inaugurates Hayy Arts and a bevy of new exhibitions, commissions, projects and installations across the complex, plus Hayy Learning and Hayy Studios programmes; January and February see the launch of the first Hayy Residents’ spaces; and Hayy Cinema opens in March, along with a celebration of Hayy Community through a series of programmes, workshops, screenings and a special Ramadan calendar.

Hayy Jameel is a 17,000m2 cultural complex designed by the award winning urban design studio waiwai, (whose partners were also responsible for the UAE National Pavilion’s Wetlands exhibit at this year’s Venice Architteura Biennale). Several of those awards have come from Hayy Jameel’s building design, an impressive accolade since it’s waiwai’s first major public building.

The three-storey building in the residential Jeddah area of Al Mohammadiyyah responds to its surroundings: tall façades intimate the privacy of a home while allowing for interior openness, flow and maximum natural light. Deputy Director of Art Jameel Sara Al-Omran said that Hayy Jameel aims to be a microcosm of a convivial community. “This is reflected in the design and intent of the building with all activity centred around Saha, a sustainable community courtyard that doubles as space for creative interventions, screenings, performances, installations and markets.”

The season opens with a focus on visual arts involving more than 45 artists and researchers from around 20 countries as well as existing and newly-commissioned works by 19 Saudi artists.

Hayy Jameel will be open to the public from 6 December.


Staple: What’s on your plate? 6 Dec to 30 Apr The Hayy Arts ‘neighbourhood museum’ opens with an exhibition co-curated by Art Jameel’s Rahul Gudipudi and Delfina Foundation’s Dani Burrows. Staple: What’s on your plate? comments on food futures and the ecosocial entanglements of what we eat; it features 21 artworks, including seven new research-based commissions developed in a ‘food lab’ that has run for the past year. The accompanying outreach programme includes film documentaries, talks, cooking and planting workshops, food tours, and pop-ups with local producers.

Munem Wasif, Seeds Shall Set Us Free (2017) in the Staple: What’s on your plate? exhibition

Illuminate: A Noor Riyadh Capsule 6 Dec to 6 Feb Situated across Hayy Jameel’s first floor is a series of large-scale, immersive light installations by 11 Saudi artists. It’s adapted from the inaugural 2021 Noor Riyadh festival organised by Riyadh Art.

Rashed AlShahai, Searching for Darkness (2021). Part of the Illuminate exhibition

Paused Mirror: The Saudi Artists Dec 2021 to Dec 2022 Hayy Jameel’s first year is marked by a new commission by artist Osama Esid that takes as a starting point his background in portraiture and explorations of historical photography methods. Paused Mirror draws on Osama Esid’s ‘wet plate collodion’ portraits and landscapes, and captures portraits of Saudi artists from around the Kingdom. The textural, hands-on nature of the photographic method also reflects Hayy Jameel’s commitment to the artistic process, and the trust placed in and between artists and the institution.

Portrait of Ahmed Matar (colloidal print)

The Hayy Jameel Façade Commission 6 Dec to 1 Aug This programme gives one artist the opportunity to create a major public work for the 25m ‘canvas’ on the front of the building, an integral feature of the architectural design. The 2021-22 commission has gone to Riyadh-based painter and sculptor Nasser Almulhim and a work titled Contours on Collective Consciousness. It’s inspired by the regional folk tale of The Dove, The Partridge and The Crow, which recounts the story of birds in a time of famine and hunger.

Nasser Almulhim

The Hospitable Ear: workshop series 6-20 December A collaboration between Art Jameel and the Goethe Institute, this extended workshop with Julia Tieke and Zainab Ali Reza explores the soundscapes of the city and the competing rhythms of its neighbourhoods. Julia’s findings will be accessible to the public via a series of open studios and talks.

A Menu and its Leftovers – Finding the Voices in Jeddah’s Food Histories: workshop series 8-20 December These workshops take the form and sequence of a five-course menu: the welcoming coffee and dates, the appetiser, soup and salad, a main course, and finally dessert. Together with the participants, food researcher, writer and filmmaker Salma Serry considers family recipes, generational cookbooks and ephemera to observe the ways that food, history, and culture are interconnected.

This is an Edible Gold: workshop series 11-14 December Part of artist Moza Almatrooshi’s commissioned work on view at Hayy Arts, this three-part workshop designed and facilitated by Hayy Learning and local apiary Beeways takes an interdisciplinary approach to the lives of bees, with opportunities to contemplate bees beyond their capacity for honey making, learn about traditional methods of beekeeping, and taste honey from a variety of native flora.

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