Lam Art was for a while the only gallery in Riyadh dedicated to contemporary art. It was set up and is directed by Lamya Al Rashed. Lamya studied visual communications in the USA and history of art at Christie’s, and decided to open a gallery upon her return to Saudi Arabia. The gallery shows work by Saudi artists and sometimes by foreign artists based in Riyadh.
If Riyadh is sometimes called ‘the pop art capital of Saudi Arabia’ this is mostly due to Lam Art, which shows the work of artists such as Bassem Al Sharqi (the pioneer of Saudi pop art, based in Jeddah), Talal Al Zeid (a Riyadhi artist with a graffiti/street art background) and Corinne Martin (a Lebanese-Texan artist living in Riyadh).
Lam Art organized a well-publicized exhibition ‘Pop goes Riyadh’ in April 2011 in the Globe Gallery, an exhibition space managed by the Al Faisaliah Hotel (however, as far as we can ascertain no further art events of note took place in that space since). In 2012 Lam Art signed up the young, talented photographer Marwal Al Mugait. Besides, the gallery shows contemporary work by an older generation of Saudi artists, including Abdulaziz Ashour (Jeddah, 1963), Mohammed Farea (Riyadh, 1968) and Fahad Al Hajilan (Egypt, 1957) – these are all award-winning artists who have at times enjoyed the patronage of the Saudi state.
Situated in the Home Offices complex near downtown Riyadh, Lam Art is one of the few easily accessible galleries in the city. It has participated in regional events such as Art Abu Dhabi (since 2010) and Menasart in Beirut. The ambition of the gallery’s director is to develop young artistic talent in Riyadh; therefore she plans to organize workshops in her private compound and would strongly welcome any initiative for artistic exchange from abroad, as long as it fits into the rather restrictive social setting that is Riyadh.
- The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – Open Calls as of March 2015
- Launched: Jameel Photography Award by the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, Jeddah
- BBC News: Venice Biennale hosts largest ever presence of Arab art
- Report of the visit by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture to Saudi Arabia
- T Qatar on Manal Al Dowayan’s ‘Suspended Together’.