Two Arab Artists Are Making Their Way to California’s Desert X

From Saudi Arabia and Egypt to Coachella valley

Desert X is officially returning to California’s Coachella valley for its 2021 edition. The third edition of the art fair is set to exhibit the work of 13 artists from eight countries, among them Egypt and Saudi Arabia. 

The event is billed as one of the first major art fairs since the pandemic began last year. And its theme is set to reflect the current collective consciousness. Artists will explore everything from environmental concerns to issues of social justice. 

The projects explore many of the issues we face in these difficult times: the history of land rights, ownership and stewardship, the desert as border marked by narratives of migration, social justice and racial demarcations of the West, the gendered landscape and the role of women and children, and the creation of new dialogues between regional and global desert experience,” said the organizers.

From Saudi Arabia, artist Zahrah Al-Ghamdi will showcase a piece called ‘What Lies Behind the Walls’, a gargantuan sculptural wall made of 6,000 tiles. 

“Like a geological extrusion, [What Lies Behind the Walls] reveals the different stratas of time as they have been captured both in millenia of geological transformation and the last few centuries of rapid development so connecting the desert landscape of the Coachella to the transformations of other deserts across the globe,” explains the artist on Instagram. 

New York-based Egyptian artist Ghada Amer is also taking part, displaying an installation entitled ‘Women’s Qualities.’

The installation features larger-than-life planters shaped as letters, which spell out words like ‘Beautiful’, ‘Nurturing’, and ‘Resilient’. 

Desert X will run until May 16, 2021.

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