Muhannad Shono

Desert X Al Ula puts Saudi Arabia's historic site on international arts map

January 31, 2020 - Melissa Gronlund_The National

It’s an extreme meeting of the old and new: Desert X Al Ula has opened to the public, a six-week-specific installation of artworks made in the awesome setting of the Al Ula in north western Saudi Arabia.

Desert X began as a biennial in southern California, bringing visitors through the Coachella Valley in search installations, sculptures, and performances. Now, for the Royal Commission for Al Ula (RCU)’s first major contemporary art project for the heritage site, Desert X Al Ula commissions 14 Saudi and international artists to make artworks in the sand.

“Al Ula is the power of heritage crossing through multiple civilisations,” says Amr Al Madani, chief executive of the RCU. “This is a living museum interacting with nature.”


‘I Am Not Part of Some Propaganda Machine’: Artists and Curators Defend Their Participation in the Saudi-Backed Show Desert X AlUla

January 29, 2020 - Rebecca Anne Proctor_ Artnet

“I wish Ed [Ruscha] could have come to AlUla, attended the show, gotten to know us and seen our work,” Muhannad Shono, one of the participating artists, told Artnet News. “Many Saudi artists are fed up with having to deal and respond to the bad headlines. None of the western media outlets have asked me about my work. All people want to do is talk about the controversy and not the art.”

The perception, Shono continues, is that “what I am doing and what other Saudi artists are doing is part of some propaganda agenda. I am working on concepts and ideas that are in no way scrutinized or censored. I am not part of some propaganda machine. I am an individual artist that is excited to be part of all the changes happening here. We want people to come and reach out to us and see what the people are doing.”


The 2020 edition of 21,39 opens in Jeddah

January 28, 2020 - Melissa Gronlund_The National

The seventh 21,39, the Jeddah Arts Week, has opened in the Red Sea city today. Curated by Maya El Khalil and titled I Love You, Urgently, the week consists of talks and a central exhibition. It concentrates on ecology and sustainability, inspired by the work of German architect Frei Otto, who built a number of projects in Saudi Arabia.

Community and the environment permeate the exhibition’s projects. They range from an analysis of the unique ecosystem formed by the Al Manakh concrete factory outside of Riyadh, in a project by Fahad bin Naif and Alaa Tarabzouni, to interventions in Jeddah’s Al Balad, or Old Town, neighbourhood. As El Khalil noted at the press conference, Al Balad is itself a unique ecosystem, with its Unesco-protected carved wooden doors and traditional houses.


بدعم من وزارة الثقافة.. المجلس الفني السعودي يدشن معرض 21،39 فن جدة بعنوان “أيتها الأرض”

January 28, 2020 - Anhaa News Report

بدعم من ووزارة الثقافة السعودية، دشن المجلس الفني السعودي النسخة السابعة من معرض 21،39 فن جدة تحت عنوان “أيتها الأرض” والذي يحوي اعمالاً تتناول مواضيع الاستدامة البيئية واستكشاف طرق بديلة للتعايش والحياة على كوكبنا من خلال برنامج فني وثقافي وتعليمي يشمل معارض وورش عمل وحوارات نقاشات، وبرنامج تعليمي عام واسع النطاق.

ويضم معرض ” أيتها الأرض” الذي يقام من 28 يناير الى 18 أبريل في كل من مقر المجلس الفني السعودي والمنطقة التاريخية بجدة القديمة أعمالاً لأكثر من 60 فنان ومهندس معماري ومصمم ومفكر محلي ودولي تبحث عن التحديات الناجمة عن تدمير البيئة الطبيعية وتعتبر مبادرة هذا العام استمرارا لرسالة المجلس الفني السعودي والتي تهدف إلى تنمية مشهد الفن المحلي وبناء الجسور مع عالم الفن الدولي.



Creative thinkers to tackle climate crisis at 21,39 Jeddah Arts event

January 18, 2020 - report by ARAB NEWS

This year, the Saudi Art Council event has been given the title “I Love You, Urgently,” as a call to action in response to the global environmental emergency. With Saudi society undergoing a rapid transformation, the council asked local and international figures from the worlds of art, architecture and design to seek tangible solutions to the crisis and come up with alternative and symbiotic ways of living on our planet.

A wide range of Saudi, Arab and European artists and creators are taking part. They include Ayman Zedani, Aziz Jamal, Cristiana De Marchi, Daniah Al-Saleh, Duran Lantink, Fahad bin Naif & Alaa Tarabzouni, Farah K. Behbehani, Filwa Nazer, Maha Nasrallah, Manal Al-Dowayan, Marwah Al-Mugait, Mohammad Al-Faraj, Mohammed Kazem, Muhannad Shono, Obadah Aljefri, Omar Abduljawad, Nasser Al-Salem, Nojoud Al-Sudairi, Raja’a Khalid, Sultan Bin Fahd and Zahrah Al-Ghamdi.


Beyond Words: Saudi Artist Muhannad Shono Creates New Language Through His Conceptual Art

October 11, 2019 - Rebecca Anne Proctor _ Harper Bazaar Arabia

The work of Riyadh-based artist Muhannad Shono is made from an imagined state of being, one devoid of a particular time and place. Through the use of pigment and vibration the exhibition studies what the artist deems “the crisis of the word.” In each work Shono grinds hardened charcoal words to dust and then employs vibrations from inaudible spectrums of sound to result in the new “words”—undefined black pigment forms—on paper. Their meaning cannot be read or heard and must be felt and experienced by gazing at the multitude of smudged chaotic lines.


‘We Have Our Own Individual Voices’: Saudi Artists Debate Their Place in the Kingdom as the West Becomes Wary of Its Commitment to Progress

September 12, 2019 - Rebecca Anne Proctor_ Artnet

The resulting video, Sarab (2016), was included in “Naphtha,” a summer exhibition curated by artist Moath Alofi at the Khuzam Palace in Jeddah and organized by the Saudi ministry of culture. It stands as a provocative representation of the changes taking place in the country, and a potent symbol of its attempted break with the past as it enters new terrain under 33-year-old crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MbS, who has promised modernizing reforms.

 “When things move fast and you are in the middle of them, you cannot comprehend the speed,” says Mohammed Hafiz, an art collector and co-founder of Athr Gallery, a contemporary art space established in Jeddah in 2009.


An Exhibition Of Saudi Contemporary Art Explores The Universal Elements Of Time And Space

August 6, 2019 - Rebecca Anne Proctor_Harper Bazaar Arabia

The exhibition, which takes place at Ithra, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, displays the work of some of Saudi Arabia’s most pivotal contemporary artists


Three old wooden doors are inexplicably alluring. The first one is colored in a vibrant shade of turquoise yet numerous scratchings on its surface tell of years of use. The central one, unpainted and found in a light tan hue, is the most intact of all three and has a silver door handle while the third is the most battered, scratched and beaten—time has worn its originally soft surface into a battlefield of a wear and tear.

It’s become battered, discarded and devoured by the harsh desert and beaming with one last purpose through Saudi artist Moath Alofi’s work, The Doors of Thad (2019), part of the ongoing project The Last Tashahhud.


The Rise of the Saudi Art Scene: Athr Gallery

July 22, 2019 - Huda AlShair

A recent project of the world renowned curator, Rahul Gudipudi, is The Silence Is Still Talking, a solo exhibition by Muhanned Shono. A showcase that consists of charcoal on blank paper seems uninspired, derivative, or even tedious. However, that is the point Shono is trying to make. Shono believes that people have the unfortunate tendency to restrain their words and verbal expressions; there is a lack of creativity and imagination with words. Through using the restricted tools of charcoal and paper, Shono has proven that word expression is a limitless endeavor. It can be explored in a plethora of different ways and angles.


The Clock are Striking Thirteen

February 8, 2018

Opening on Thursday, February 8th, at 7:30pm, Athr presents “The Clocks Are Striking Thirteen”, a group exhibition, as part of 21,39 Jeddah Arts. The participating artists are Aya Haidar, Ayman Yossri, Dana Awartani, Larissa Sansour, Maha Nasrallah, Moath Alofi, Mohammed Abdelrasoul, Mohammed Al Faraj, Mohammed Monaiseer, Muhannad Shono, Nasser Al Salem, Reem Al Nasser, Sara Abdu, Tamara Al Samerai, Wael Shawky and Zahra Al Ghamdi. The exhibition is curated by Maya El Khalil.

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