Ithra launches second Open Call for Emerging Saudi and Saudi-based Artists

Initiative aims to support local talent

 Riyadh – :

In line with its commitment to enable young artists in Saudi Arabia to thrive within a fast-growing arts and culture ecosystem and to support the growth of the Kingdom’s cultural economy, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is launching its second annual Open Call for Emerging Saudi and Saudi-based Artists.

Aziz Jamal

As part of the initiative, ten shortlisted artists will be given the opportunity to undertake five days of training from experts, while one artist, selected by panel, will be commissioned to create an artwork which will be featured in a contemporary art exhibition at Ithra, alongside established local and international artists.

The application deadline for the open call is midnight, August 31st, 2020.

“One of our main pillars at Ithra is to support local talent, and now more than ever this kind of support is necessary,” said Laila Al-Faddagh, the Head of Ithra’s Museums. “The world is going through a challenging time with the current crisis, and just like everyone else, artists and the cultural industry have been impacted by this pandemic. This is why we have decided to move forward with the open call to show our support to artists but to also create opportunities for new talent.”

In order to be eligible, applicants must be Saudi nationals or have lived in-Kingdom for a minimum of ten years and must be at least 18-years old. Applicants, ideally with an interest in the arts, can apply as individual artists or as members of a collective. All submissions must be made online. The open call is free to enter, and the winner will be announced in December 2020.

The ten selected finalists will participate in a five-day virtual training program led by experts in the field, including the 2019 Open Call winner, Aziz Jamal. The virtual program will include discussions about the state of contemporary art in Saudi and around the world, professional best practices and portfolio critiques. The program aims to additionally provide the finalists with the necessary foundation skills to develop a well-rounded and thorough proposal for Ithra’s next contemporary art exhibition.

“This open call can create opportunities for emerging artists,” said Faddagh. “The winner of the first open call, Aziz Jamal, was a fresh graduate who had never exhibited in an institution before. Even, if a participant does not win, but is selected to be among the final 10 artists the training they will receive will be invaluable to opening doors to the arts world and progressing their career as an artist.”

Aziz Jamal was chosen from Ithra’s open call for contemporary artists in the Eastern province, where approximately 600 applied and 14 were selected, out of which Jamal was chosen to exhibit his work in the Zamakan exhibition at the Ithra Museum. Jamal also displayed his work at 21,39 in Jeddah in June of last year.

Interested artists can find full eligibility criteria and instructions on how to apply at

Empowering and enabling Saudi Arabia’s creatives, a core mission at Ithra, aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 as it continues to position the Kingdom as a global contender in the cultural and creative talent fields. Ithra’s programs and initiatives, such as the open calls for artists, offer the necessary platform, opportunities, expertise and resources for the next generation of visionaries to grow their passions and empowering Saudi potential to reach global heights.

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