We’ve heard that some of you are asking if all we do in our lives in Riyadh are eating and shopping. Of course not! Hahaha! We have full-time jobs (The Pink Tarha is not our job) and as hard it is to believe, we find lounging in our rooms on a weekend so satisfying we don’t go out as much on Fridays and Saturdays! Swear! Haha! We also go to other places aside from the mall. We try and meet friends outside of work too, we visit parks and museums and we also go to art galleries even though we do it just once in a blue moon. Honestly, we are not into visual arts as much and we won’t pretend we know any thing about “art” per se. Visiting art galleries is not our favorite activity but we know how to appreciate the talent and skill that go into each and every wonderful piece. We find art galleries therapeutic. We are overcome with emotions seeing how people can be so talented, artistic and creative. These spaces that showcase paintings, photographs, sculptures, collages, and various forms of visual arts are sanctuaries in this urban desert.
Here are a few art galleries in Riyadh. If you’re interested in art, be their guests!
1. Naila Art Gallery
This independent and innovative art gallery is one of the most active in Riyadh. Naila Art Gallery promotes local artists and helps them establish a name in both local and international art scenes. They represent emerging and establish artists. The gallery also prides itself in being a foundational center for art appreciation and holds various exhibition programs, workshops, art talks and outreach activities. It has collaborated with various international museums, galleries, and institutions to exhibit a wide range of art and cultural works and events. The Naila Projects platform was set up to provide support and mentoring for artists. Naila Art Gallery is also open to art consultation, artist management, art acquisition and leasing. They also host the Art Riyadh Fair that showcases local artists.
Some of their recent exhibits included Soul of the City by Najlaa Mohammed AlSaleem who wanted visitors of her artwork to reach the “soul of the city” by meditating on her paintings and discover little by little the intertwined worlds absorbed in colors that reflected her moods. Among her works, Cohesion, Peace, and Bridges appealed to me the most. We were invited to one of their events before called “LOUD Art Riyadh” and while we didn’t make it to the event, we read good reviews on the art, prints, installation works and sculptures of Ali Chabaan, Um Kalthoom AlAlalwi, Khalid Zahid, Yusef Alahmed and many more. In May, Naila Art Gallery exhibited Renewal, a selection of paintings done by Lebanese artist Jad Fadel who captures different phases of life with layers of paint and various brush strokes.
Naila Art Gallery
#2 Building 247, Takhasossi Street
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
T: +966 11 880 5352
Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
2. Alāan Artspace
This art space is not only a contemporary gallery, it’s also an educational hub, a library, a restaurant, shop and coffeehouse in one. Alāan (which translates to NOW in English) is one of those “multi-functional” places that can be appreciated by everyone – whether you’re an art connoisseur or just your average joe and jane looking for an idyllic place to hang out. Alāan Artspace is dedicated to nurturing and supporting established contemporary artists and designers. Their workshop and seminar area is the perfect spot for talks, panel discussions and short courses. Their art space is available for hire for your private dinners, corporate events, photo shoots, product launches and other various events.
Past exhibits included Soft Power, Dimensions of Designs, Muqeem, and Change Agents. They also held family-friendly mini workshops like My Family Portrait, Tiny Monster Clippies and The Day I Was Born. They hold the Ramadan Crate event during the holy season. On the other hand, their restaurant serves a contemporary fine dining experience that mirrors the artspace’s quintessence of creativity and the arts. However, their dishes are expensive with breakfast sets going for SR 120 and main courses for SR 70 up. Desserts don’t go below SR 50. We haven’t tried their restaurant so we can’t give a verdict on the taste. We do know though that they will be tastefully plated.
Al Oruba Road,
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Operating Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM
Friday and Saturday: 1:00 PM to 12:00 AM
3. L’Art Pur Gallery
This 540 sqm of a gallery is one of the largest art galleries in the Middle East. The L’Art Pur Gallery has three halls equipped with the latest innovation in lighting and sound system. It has showcased a lot of local and international artists since its beginning in 1999 and is a venue for various exhibitions and events in collaboration with embassies, art institutions, and international event organizers. They hold annual competitions, art workshops and conferences. The gallery has nurtured and helped young talented Saudi artists. Within its building is the Arts and Skills Institute that offers a two-year diploma in Visual Arts and a 2-year diploma in Fashion Design.
Exhibitions like the 5 Senses on Islamic art, From Print to Screen, Aspects by Waleed Al Marhoum, Cabinets of Curiosities by Dany Leriche, and Shining by Nasser Al Turki have been held in L’Art Pur. In their social media accounts, I used to see ASI’s students works of art and fashion design showcased and displayed, especially before their graduation. One of their notable graduate is Saudi fashion designer Haifa Fahad who incorporates tradition and modernity in her design details.
L’Art Pur Gallery
352 Takhasussi Street,
Riyadh. Saudi Arabia
T: + +966 (0) 11 201 1549
Operating Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
4. Lam Art Gallery
This gallery is probably the first one we visited in Riyadh. Established in 2010, Lam Art Gallery is a unique space that showcases Middle Eastern paintings, photographs, and other visual arts. Their main objective is to promote Saudi and Middle Eastern culture and values through the arts. We love how cozy their gallery is; it’s not too big to be intimidating. Every thing is inclusive and welcoming.
During our first visit (a long time ago), they featured Graffiti vs Street Art by one of their resident artists Talal Alzeid. After that, the gallery went on to stage numerous workshops and exhibits like Codes by Mohammad Al Ajlan and the Love and Peace Series by Corinne Martin. They also had stencil and calligraphy workshops then.
Lam Art Gallery
Home Offices, Orubah Road
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Operating Hours: Saturday to Thursday: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM / 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM
5. Sama 360 Designers Hub
Reina and I chanced upon Designers Hub when we visited Nuyu in Othman Bin Affan Road. It was near the place and we decided to check it. At first, not because of their art gallery but of their small shop that sells design books and paraphernalia. Our friend Jou gave me a set of pastel pens from here and so I wanted to see the rest of their products. We were surprised when we got to know the place. It is a gallery, design studio, concept store, art supply store, bookstore, craft corner, event place, coffee shop, and a working space in one! Amazing right? If this is nearer our place, we know where we’ll be hanging out.
They have various talks and exhibits going on and it’s best to stay updated. Recently they had Synergy, a live art painting, and Find Your Own Style, an illustration workshop by Mohana Tayeb. If you’re looking for a venue for your kid’s party, then they have a room that can be rented for around SR 500 a day. Your kids and his/her visitors can choose from art projects they can do while enjoying food and drinks.
Sama 360 Designers Hub
Othman Bin Affan Road,
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
T: +966-11-405 5520
There you go, some art galleries in Riyadh that you can check out. There are more, of course. Feel free to suggest some worth visiting in the comment section down below. I love this quote that best describes art for me (even though I have no huge ideas about this): The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things but their inward significance. I love how easy to understand yet to deep that is. Now, go and do something creative this summer! 😉