Journeys in Land Art, Towards Wadi AlFann, AlUla

Journeys in Land Art, Towards Wadi AlFann, AlUla

Wadi AlFann

April 13, 2024
Journeys in Land Art, Towards Wadi AlFann, AlUla
April 16–30, 2024
Abbazia di San Gregorio
172 Dorsoduro
30123 Venice

A collection of works displayed during the 60th International Venice Biennale provides a preview of Wadi AlFann and spotlights its first five artists commissioned.

Renders, drawings, maquettes and interviews related to Wadi AlFann are showcased. The Wadi AlFann land art display spans 65 square kilometres, and is set to mark a new chapter in art history.

Wadi AlFann presents Journeys in Land Art, Towards Wadi AlFann, AlUla, a showcase during the 60th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, which spotlights the first five artists commissioned for Wadi AlFann, a new destination for contemporary art. On display will be a series of renders, drawings, maquettes and interviews including drawings gathered by Manal AlDowayan—the artist representing Saudi Arabia at the Venice Biennale 2024—through her participatory workshops with communities across AlUla and a maquette and render by Ahmed Mater. Guided tours will be available on April 18th, 19th, 20th, 25th, 26th and 27th.

Wadi AlFann, meaning ‘Valley of the Arts’, will be an awe-inspiring new global cultural destination for contemporary art, where era-defining works by some of the most compelling artists from around the world will be permanently placed in the monumental landscape of AlUla, the extraordinary desert region of north-west Saudi Arabia steeped in thousands of years of natural, historical and cultural heritage. Located on a site spanning 65 square kilometres, this unique cultural destination will mark a new chapter in art history.

The first five artists creating new, large-scale, site-specific commissions for Wadi AlFann are Manal AlDowayanAgnes Denes, Michael Heizer, Ahmed Mater and James Turrell.

These mark the start of an ongoing programme of commissions, with more artists to be announced soon. Learning from the desert, Wadi AlFann’s commissioned artists are responding to the landscape and heritage of AlUla, taking inspiration from its dramatic topography, undulating vistas, remarkable geological structures and complex natural ecosystem. The works will be created with respect for the landscape, set against the stunning sandstone cliffs and canyons of the vast terrain.

Displayed for audiences in Venice in the Wadi AlFann showcase, a maquette and render by Ahmed Mater reveal the artist’s plans for his Wadi AlFann commission, titled Ashab Al-Lal, an installation inspired by scientific and philosophical thinkers of the Islamic Golden Age that will explore the mythic space between subjective imagination and objective reality by generating a mirage within the sand dunes.

Also exhibited as part of the Wadi AlFann showcase are drawings gathered by Manal AlDowayan—the artist representing Saudi Arabia at the 2024 Venice Biennale—through her participatory workshops with communities across AlUla, where over 700 participants were asked to draw their personal stories onto paper. The depictions in the exhibited works range from participant’s homes, neighbourhoods, memories and family histories to flora, fauna, culinary customs and abstract creative expressions, with each piece reflecting the lives, cultures and identities of the people of AlUla. These drawings and stories will eventually be inscribed into the walls of her Wadi AlFann commission, titled Oasis of Stories, a labyrinthine installation inspired by the walls of AlUla’s Old Town that will invite viewers to walk through its passages.

These pieces feature alongside interviews with all first five Wadi AlFann artists, providing a fascinating glimpse of their creative practice and vision. Together, the displayed works take visitors on the journey towards the opening of Wadi AlFann.

Nora Aldabal, Executive Director of Arts and Creative Industries, Royal Commission for AlUla, says: “We are delighted to introduce Wadi AlFann to Venice, during the 60th International Venice Biennale, through the Wadi AlFann showcase. It provides a glimpse at the journey towards AlUla’s new global destination for land art. Visionary arts initiatives like Wadi AlFann play a crucial role in AlUla’s development strategy, and we cannot wait for you to see it in person.”

Showcase dates: April 16–30, 2024

Opening hours
April 16: 8:30–10am (private preview)
April 16: 10am–6pm
April 17–30: 9am–6pm

Programme: “The Book as Public Art”
Friday, April 19: 12:30–1:30pm
Wadi AlFann Publications launches artists’ books: Oasis of Stories and The Desert Field Guide

Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan joins US artist Mark Dion to discuss the book as work of art, how participation is core to their practice and what their artists’ books tell us about the desert.

Guided tours
Thursday, April 18 to Saturday, April 20
Thursday, April 25 to Saturday, April 27

Find out more:

Press contacts
Pelham Communications
, Assia Sabi assia [​at​] / Rosie Lowit rosie [​at​] 
Royal Commission for AlUla, Zoe Shurgold z.shurgold [​at​]

RSVP for Journeys in Land Art, Towards Wadi AlFann, AlUla
Wadi AlFann
April 13, 2024

Thank you for your RSVP.

Wadi AlFann will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.