Places are not just walls and furniture only. Places and things have a presence that may fade at certain times, but it does not go away, or as the Saudi artist Sultan bin Fahd believes, according to what he mentioned to «Emirates Today», that the pieces and collectibles, no matter how some they seem, are old and worthless waste , Carrying a message that you are trying to express, and here comes the role of the artist to seek this message and highlight it to others in creative artwork.
The exhibition "The Red Palace" by the artist Sultan bin Fahd, which opened the day before yesterday in the Cultural Complex in Abu Dhabi, and took its title from the Red Palace located in the city of Riyadh, this iconic building dating back to 1944, was the focus of attention as an important breakthrough for modern development in The Kingdom, as it was a witness to many important events in the history of the Kingdom and the region, where Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz, then Saudi Crown Prince, inhabited it, and his residence became crown prince and king for years, and he welcomed many heads of state, such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Jamal Abdel Nasser and Shukri Al-Quwatli, After the transfer of King Saud To Nasiriyah Palace in 1953, the Red Palace became the seat of the Saudi Cabinet, and then the Board of Grievances until 1987, to be closed for years, pending renewal plans. The exhibition represented the first use of the building, at this level, since it was closed.
In his exhibition, the Saudi artist was able to transport the visitor to the Red Palace, to appear as if he wandered in some of his rooms and galleries, through artistic works that were not satisfied with the presentation of tangible physical pieces, but went beyond the concrete to the moral, to evoke the spirit and energy of the place, as in the work of “palace dinner. »In which he re-represented the dinner scene of the palace in a way that reflects the most accurate details that appeared in the pictures of the dinner tables that were held in the Red Palace in that era, through the dining table that mediated the hall, and green velvet chairs specially designed for this room, in addition to the actual tableware that was used To present main dishes and decorate them st Shame of the Kingdom, which are tools that the artist had started to collect several years ago. The work also included a video that sheds light on the workers and servants who were preparing these tables, to present them in a parallel scene while they are doing their work to prepare food, then wearing the uniform that was dedicated to them in that time.
One of the notable works included in the exhibition "The Red Palace", which was inaugurated by the head of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, and continues until the 28th of next March, is a work called "fences" in which the artist used three copper bars that were in the Noble Sanctuary during the Haram incident when Terrorists attacked and surrounded the Grand Mosque for more than two weeks, and took approximately 100,000 worshipers and visitors as hostages. On the bars, holes left by the bullets are shown. The artist hired them to serve as an antique platform that reflects a picture of the area surrounding the Kaaba, accompanied by a video of the accident.
And the fact that Saudi Arabia is a destination for visitors and pilgrims from different countries and the world, who come carrying different cultures and communicate despite their different languages, was also an inspiration for a number of artistic works that the artist exceeded its apparent content to delve into what it carries of human social and economic meanings as well, including the work of the "sacred economy" that was employed It has water rocks left by pilgrims behind them, with their motifs and decorations that derive their specificity from the event and place, and to reflect the idea of use and neglect, and highlight diversity and difference despite being in a group.
The artist Sultan bin Fahd assured «Emirates Today» that his admiration for the Red Palace as an architectural masterpiece was the motive for the idea of the exhibition, along with his love for years to collect historical souvenirs and collectibles, explaining that he had no difficulty in collecting the collectibles and pieces that he employed in his displayed artwork.
He added: “Some people may see my love for collecting holdings and perhaps neglected pieces as a kind of madness, but I feel that each of these pieces and holdings carries a message and is trying to express it, and I try to achieve this and present the message in a work of art.” He pointed out that some of the works His idea was ready for him, then he began collecting the pieces as in the work that includes many prayer rugs, and at first he relied on one prayer rug, then he decided to expand it using a large number of rugs for his relatives and friends, to be together a chapel in the middle of the exhibition hall, as well as The "Taqah" work, which represents parts of the windows of houses in Mecca and windows from the qak Red grate.
Regarding his association with his work in the Red Palace, and if there are other buildings that he intends to take inspiration in his works, he said: “The Red Palace was the beginning, and now I am trying to get out of this framework, and my works may be an incentive for other artists to present new and different works from the palace”, indicating that His works are not limited to the palace only, but also deal with the most prominent events and issues in the historical period in which the palace was inhabited.
The “Red Palace” became the seat of the Saudi Cabinet and then the “Board of Grievances” until 1987. ■ Photo: Eric Arazas
In conjunction with the exhibition "The Red Palace", another exhibition was opened, inspired by it, and it is the collective exhibition "Common Ground" that reflects the common features between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It includes works of art presented by 13 artists, which were displayed in a contemporary narrative frame that narrates the social, cultural and economic aspects of the two countries.
The exhibition was titled from a palace located in the city of Riyadh, dating back to 1944.
The Saudi artist was able to evoke the spirit and energy of the place.