Islamic Arts Biennale of Jeddah 2023

The Main Event for Global Dialogue and Multiculturalism

Jeddah landscape

When it comes to art, the Diriyah Biennale Foundation is the undisputed leading player in Saudi Arabia, a pillar in the promotion of creative expression capable of bringing appreciation not only for culture but also for the artists’ transformative capacity.

The foundation is inspired by the changes taking place in the country, which has been evolving exponentially in recent years, positioning itself as one of the hubs for innovation and technology. However, thanks to the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, Saudi Arabia is also able to distinguish itself as a catalyst for global dialogue among various international communities through its artistic vein. 

The first Islamic Art Biennale will be held in Jeddah in 2023, ushering in the new year with a never-before-seen event.

What is the Islamic Art Bienniale in Jeddah?

At a time of continuous evolution, Saudi Arabia has decided to present some of the world’s leading artists through the Islamic Art Bienniale. The goal is to foster cultural exchange not only among the local communities, but also among international communities willing to put forward their artists.

Indeed, during these events, they do not just admire works of art, but promote dialogue and try to make people understand the true meaning of each creation, with the intention of making Saudi Arabia a true multicultural center. 


During biennials, there are also entertainment activities for all kinds of audiences, from the oldest to the youngest. Specifically, the Public Program includes participation in creative dialogues between various cultures, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the local ecosystem and laying the groundwork for greater sustainability of our surroundings. 

How the foundation was born

The Diriyah Biennial Foundation (DBF) has announced that the Islamic Art Biennial will be held at the iconic Hajj terminal in Jeddah from Monday, January 23 to Sunday, April 23, 2023. 

The main theme of this edition will be Awwal Bayt (the First Home), a theme that aims to analyze how a sense of belonging is created among Muslims around the world when referring to home (bayt). In particular, it will focus on the connection between the Ka’bah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, which are common to all Muslims.

“The theme of Awwal Bayt invites contemplation of belonging,” said curator Sumayya Vally. 

“As curators, we are excited by the opportunity to create a temporary home, an entirely new physical setting in this context of the Muslim pilgrim’s journey, in which to invite artists and audiences to reflect on ritual, the sacred, the personal and the communal.” 

As for the organization of the event, the Islamic Art Biennial will be divided into an indoor and an outdoor part. The former will have a special focus on sacred direction (qiblah), while the latter will mainly deal with migration (Hijrah).

Specifically, the event will be held at the so-called Canopy Terminal, a space with an impressive 70,000-square-meter facility full of exhibition centers including:

In addition, there will be creative experiences focused on developing new communities and networks, engaging the public in fun activities such as film screenings, open mic and storytelling sessions, quiz nights, as well as opportunities to explore new ideas and concepts with artists during coffee mornings organized by the foundation.

In short, even those who are not art fans will find plenty to enjoy!

Who will participate in the Islamic Arts Bienniale?

As anticipated earlier, the 2023 Islamic Arts Biennial will feature some of the world’s leading artists. Prominent among them are 44 artists including Ahmed Mater and Sultan Bin Fahd, Egypt’s Huda Lutfi and Iran’s Shahpour Pouyan.

In addition, there will be several works borrowed from the most prestigious local and international institutions, all inspired by the Ka’bah. Moreover, there will be prominent figures from the international background, such as scholars from the Smithsonian in Washington and London.


The Islamic Art Biennale organized by the Diriyah Biennale Foundation is undoubtedly one of the most important events to mark on your calendar for 2023. A symbol of multicultural integration and dialogue, it is sure to be appreciated by art lovers as well as those who want to discover something new and are looking for unique experiences.

If you are interested, we recommend following the official website of

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