I was brought up to completely believe that the words ‘Arts and Saudi’ simply cannot and will not and must not belong in the same sentence.
I saw and lived that first hand indeed. I witnessed firsthand the erosion of arts (however simple and basic they are) in school plays, music and art classes as they were slowly being removed from all curriculums. It was clearly a dawn of a very dark era.
No longer. Saudi Arabia has a vibrant art scene now, led by a group of young artists who have been subtly but very actively pushing the envelope with their work in recent years. New galleries have been opened in Riyadh and Jeddah, and works by Saudi artists are getting recognition around the region.