Film

New Saudi art space Hayy Jameel includes the Kingdom's first independent cinema

The Hayy Cinema will be the Kingdom’s first independent audio-visual centre
New Saudi art space Hayy Jameel includes the Kingdom's first independent cinema

Jeddah’s new creative complex Hayy Jameel has launched with a five-month opening featuring a broad range of exhibitions and arts programmes featuring more than 45 artists and creatives from around 20 countries, and will be followed in the Spring by the inauguration of partner creative spaces and Saudi’s first independent cinema

The opening season culminates 75 years of Jameel family global philanthropy, with each month celebrating Hayy Jameel’s varied elements: December 2021 inaugurates Hayy Arts and a roster of new exhibitions, commissions, projects and installations revealed across the creative complex, accompanied by Hayy Learning and Hayy Studios programmes; January - February 2022 is marked by Jeddah’s cultural entrepreneurship with the launch of the first Hayy Residents’ spaces; and March - April 2022 sees the opening of Hayy Cinema, and a celebration of Hayy Community through a series of programmes, workshops, screenings and a special Ramadan calendar.

The Hayy Cinema will be the Kingdom’s first independent audio-visual centre that expands the role of what a cinema can be, including a 200-seat theatre, a community screening room, a multimedia library and educational space. Imagined as a year-round home for the Saudi film community and local cine-enthusiasts, the cinema is designed by Jeddah-based architectural practice Bricklab whose design won an international architectural competition run by Art Jameel. The expanded picture house was inspired and informed by Bricklab’s extensive research into the history of cinema in the Gulf, and interviews with Saudi and regional actors, directors and producers.

Hayy Jameel’s opening season from December 6, 2021 begins with a focus on visual arts. The highly collaborative, innovative inaugural programme is steeped in long-term research and marked by participatory, material interventions that range from installations made of chocolate through to immersive light works and audiovisual structures, rooted in the context of Jeddah yet speaking to urgent themes of global relevance.

The programme includes more than 45 artists and researchers from around 20 countries and features existing and newly-commissioned works by 19 Saudi artists.

Hayy Jameel

Fady Jameel, Chairman and Founder of Art Jameel, commented: “Hayy Jameel’s opening has been 20 years in the making and marks the celebration of over three-quarters of a century of Jameel philanthropic and community activities – manifesting at a dynamic moment and exceptionally exciting time for cultural life in Saudi Arabia. The effort and passion of those who make up the Hayy Jameel community mirror that of Art Jameel and our commitment to driving positive change and realising the potential of people and a city like Jeddah. I thank everyone for their hard work and collaborative spirit, especially our partners, the artists, and the community at large.”

Commenting on the announcement of the opening of Hayy Jameel, Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel also added: “Hayy Jameel opens in concert with a robust cultural calendar in Saudi, from coast to coast, including the launch of the first Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, Red Sea International Film Festival, Misk Art Week, Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium and many more.

“Since its early days, Art Jameel’s working model has always been collaborative, dynamic and cross-disciplinary, complementing existing infrastructures while creating opportunities for alignment and expansion. Hayy Jameel has come at the right time, in the right city where contemporary art meets a history shaped by trade and tradition.”

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