Arts & Culture

6 emerging Saudi artists you should watch in 2020

Meet these promising talents.

By Sharifa Al Badi

What If III by Raghad Alahmad. Courtesy.

With so much happening in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when it comes to entertainment and the arts and culture scene, it is only natural to keep an eye on the wave of talent coming to light, and what we can be seen is dazzling. All different and unique in their own way, below is a list of Saudi artists you need to watch this year.

1. Ghaida Al Ghanim

A painting by Ghaida Al Ghanim. Courtesy.

Ghaida Al Ghanim has already been featured in Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and Vogue Arabia. The 22 –year-old  is one young talent to watch out for because it seems that she will get big, and very soon. Though she is currently in medical school studying general medicine and surgery, in her free time she is all about painting and loves exploring new places and learning about new cultures, different languages and the history behind different cultures.

The self-taught artist started drawing when she was only six years old, sketching teddy bears and vases, and she grew from there and is still growing.  Her unique works ooze classical sophistication with a modern twist. Many of her works focus on the eyes, the windows of the soul. She describes her work as colourful, bold and casual. She tells me that she takes all her feelings and feeds them to paint and canvas.

Ghaida Al Ghanim’s work frequently depicts eyes. Courtesy.

“I am inspired by expressing myself in a way that I am not able to do with words. I also become inspired by watching children drawing or painting. It is so peaceful” she says about her source of inspiration.

2. Fatima Al Nemer

Fatima Al Nemer from the Eastern Province is a student of life, who hopes to reflect her many experiences in her work, as she has been practicing art for 20 years. She studied interior design at University but not art, which she thinks is a talent from God. Part of what shapes her work is her community, the environment around her and society. In many of her works, Fatima wants to encapsulate the essence of women using both traditional and modern means of expression. Inspired by culture and heritage, many of her works incorporate traditional Khaleeji and Saudi elements. Fatima would take old items and renew them in a modern and artistic method, to revive the glory of the past. Some examples include carpets and old pots and pans that reflect our culture. 

Fatima believes her art does not have a particular style but is heavily influenced by the history of the region. As a woman from the beautiful Al Qatif Region in Saudi, an ancient civilization with a rich culture and history, her works are detailed messages of that culture to the world. Fatima’s work has already been exhibited around the world, including in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey, the UAE and Paris. Her work was also exhibited at the Modern Art Museum in Stockholm in 2013, and she hopes to be able to continue to share with the world visions of our past and culture.

“Art is life, life before everything and anything. I reflect my life  philosophy, expression and ideas through art. I do not speak much, so art is my voice, before everything. It helped me communicate with the world and was a form of therapy,” she says.

3. Ibrahim Romman

Ibrahim Romman standing next to his series Familar But Foreign. Courtesy.

23-year-old graduated from the famed Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London, with a degree in graphic design and textiles. Some of his hobbies include photography and plant keeping. So, it is not surprising that the green thumbed artist adores the color green. Most of his childhood memories revolve around his mother, who he says was his only friend growing up.

He grew up surrounded by different portfolios that his mother would bring home from work (she is the founder of the Future Institute in Jeddah) and together they would analyze and prepare them to be sent abroad for marking. Ibrahim describes that as one of his first encounters of  looking at different materials, colours, textures and concepts, and it really stuck with him.

Teta Bird – Right , part of the Familiar But Foreign series. Courtesy.

His friends describe his style as directional, poetic and tailored and he is humbled to be friends with his muses , whom he looks up to and aspires to have their carefree vibes, yet fully present and immersed in life.

4. Raghad Alahmad

Artwork by Raghad Alahmad. Courtesy.

Excitement, intrigue and mystery is what comes to mind when looking at Raghad Alahmad’s work. The artist is an interior designer by day, and is currently working at a think tank innovation company based in Jeddah. With an interest in the movement and process of building and design, some of her installations were inspired by design schools and the building process.  Raghad says that she always had an inkling to create, express and heal, and I think that is such a beautiful way to define any kind of art or work you are doing.

She describes her style as bold, colourful and layered, and considers all people as her muses. She finds inspiration in people, places, design and architecture schools, art movements and, last but not least, life itself.

5. Abulaziz Alsefri

Artwork by Abulaziz Alsefri. Courtesy.

Abulaziz Alsefri is a collage art and print master. His work is a mix of mystery, tinted with nostalgia for the past. His inspirations are beauty, the works of other artists, passages from great writers and storytellers, nature and meditation. Though the 23-year-old’s  artistic journey started in his childhood. Abdulaziz remembers when he was in the fourth grade, his family had photoshop on their home computer. His older brother designed something on it which did not look good at all, in his opinion, but he found it so fascinating. He wanted his brother to teach him but he was too busy and always refused, so he took it as a challenge to teach himself. Hours and hours online later taking different courses and challenging himself, Abdulaziz stumbled onto the filed of design. Today his unique, and  fun pop culture prints are admired by many.

Artwork by Abulaziz Alsefri. Courtesy.

6. Nujood Al Otaibi

The Mundane painting by Nujood Al Otaibi. Courtesy.

Nujood Al Otaibi paints, draws and works in design, and you can tell from her work that she is a master of all. She tells me that her father exposed her to the art world at the tender age of three and she has been infatuated by it ever since. With a BA in Fine Arts and Digital Art, she currently works at the American School in Jeddah as an art assistant and also hopes to pursue a degree in art education.

Nujood’s work is sometimes reminiscent of Dali’s and at times is realism at its best. In her free time, she likes to stay active, doing kickboxing, dancing, skating and just recently started taking piano lessons at 31 years old, proving you are never too old to learn a new skill.

The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees, and affiliates.

Sharifa Al Badi is a published writer and author from the magical lands of Oman. She has written for Esquire ME, Khaleejesque and The Culture Trip. She is also the author of “Themis Aella & The Magical Forest” and “50 Things To Know As An Adult.”