Noor Riyadh is a citywide light and art festival held annually since its inception in March 2021. It is organized by a collaborative effort between Riyadh Art and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City. Riyadh is already an attraction to tourists worldwide who visit the city surrounded by sands for its sky-gazing, its auburn-orange sunsets, and the expansive view of the milky way and constellations in its night sky. The Noor Riyadh will only delight and encourage tourists further.
What does the Noor Riyadh comprise?
The 2022 edition of the festival involved over 190 artworks by more than 130 artists -a third from Saudi Arabia – featuring large-scale public installations, projections, and interventions across the city of Riyadh. It also hosts a world-class exhibition entitled ‘From Spark to Spirit’.
The artworks were accompanied by a broad public and community program, including tours, discussions, workshops, family activities, and music. Noor Riyadh brought together the best quality light artworks from prominent international and Saudi artists, spreading throughout Riyadh. Altogether, it creates one of the world’s most incredible city-wide spectacle.
The 2022 edition nearly tripled in scale from the inaugural 2021 event, with nearly 200 installations by artists from 40 nations on display across 40 venues. The two-week festival-themed, “We Dream of New Horizons” was complemented by a three-month art exhibition from 3 November 2022 to 4 February 2023.
What was the idea behind Noor Riyadh?
Today, Noor Riyadh is the world’s largest and foremost lights and art festival in the world. The Noor Riyadh organizers wanted to transform the city into a brilliant, night-time “gallery without walls” spanning the most fantastic city expanse of any light art event worldwide.
They wanted it to implicate itself as uplifting and hopeful, and reflecting a belief in renewal and transformation. The artists investigated the use of illumination, luminosity, and their experiences with materials as staging ties to otherness through a sense of astonishment.
Riyadh Art, the governing program behind the festival, has the mission of transforming Riyadh into a multicultural and vibrant metropolis with the use of art. Noor Riyadh is a significant step towards it.
When did it begin?
The “Noor Riyadh” festival was deubted on March 18th, 2021, in the capital city of Riyadh. It began with the involvement of notable lighting artists from more than 20 nations, 40% of whom were Saudi artists. The event displayed interactive artwork dependent on the lighting in several locations throughout Riyadh.
This festival is the inaugural event of the “Riyadh Art” program, one of four major projects launched on March 19th, 2019, by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, at the initiative of Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz.
What to expect if you attend the Noor Riyadh
The “Noor Riyadh” event is sure to contain hundreds of artworks that showcase many forms of light arts, including historical, engineering, and artistic works. In addition, there are sure to be sculptures, lighting shows, interactive performances, kinetic pieces, outdoor installations, and some light art.
Tourists can look forward to intermingling with the culture of the locals and also indulging in world-leading ideas of engineering, architecture, and art while exploring the city-wide canvas that is the Noor Riyadh. All of these include special installations at locations like the King Abdullah Financial Centre and the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre in the Al Murabba area.
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Special installations in 2022 included
1. Star in Motion
An installation by Belgian artist Koert Vermeulen involved a 5-tonne star hanging from atop the Kingdom tower at a height of 256 meters. The spectacular installation moved accordingly at the start of every hour and every minute with each movement having metaphoric meanings behind them.
2. Pulse of Light
Conceptualized and created by French artist Yann Kersale, Pulse of Light started from three towers in the city, and ended with creating sky-high bridges of light being built between the buildings using powerful lasers.
3. The Order of Chaos
The Order of chaos was another large-scale light art project from the mind of American artist Mark Brickman. It involved the use of over 2000 drones. At the time, it claimed the record for most drones used for an art exhibit.
4. Light upon Light
The show remains in line with the context of the “Noor Riyadh” festival. This most extraordinary collective art exhibition recounts the artistic trend in the lighting arts from the 1960s to the present. It was directed by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz.
The exhibitions are divided into multiple pavilions, each displaying the work of a different artist from a foreign country. The exhibitions include workshops, debate sessions, tours, performances, volunteer programs, cinematic and musical events, and recreational and educational activities for all family members.
While Noor Riyadh happens once a year, its auxiliary exhibitions and shows run throughout the year. Riyadh Art consists of ten programs that produce over 1,000 public artworks throughout the city. It showcases two annual festivals, including Noor Riyadh. Noor Riyadh operates within this overarching program to enrich lives via creative enjoyable experiences for locals and tourists.
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Noor Riyadh FAQs
What is the Noor Riyadh Festival?
Noor Riyadh Festival is an annual city-wide festival of light and art that features large-scale public installations, projections, and interventions. It also featurs exhibitions, workshops, tours, performances, and other cultural and artistic events.
When does the Noor Riyadh Festival take place?
Noor Riyadh Festival takes place in March and April of each year. The the exact dates vary from year to year.
What is the theme of the Noor Riyadh Festival?
The theme of the Noor Riyadh Festival changes each year. The 2022 theme is We Dream of New Horizons, which allures a reflective, collaborative, and hopeful future
Who can participate in the Noor Riyadh Festival?
Noor Riyadh Festival is open to everyone, including artists, performers, and members of the public who wish to attend various events and exhibitions.
Is there an admission fee for the Noor Riyadh Festival?
No, most events and exhibitions at Noor Riyadh Festival are free and open to the public. However, some events may require pre-registration or tickets, so it is recommended to check the website of the festival for more information.