Lahd Gallery is born! For the first time, 3 Saudi female artists from Riyadh Saudi Arabia give us a “glimpse” on emerging contemporary talents in the region.
The breakthrough came when Dr Nauf AlBendar got acquainted with some female friends that were artists in their “spare time” (given that art in that part of the world was regarded as a hobby and not a lifetime career). They were appalled by how their artworks were handled in scarce local exhibitions: broken, lost, un-returned or even not accepted due to their gender. Formerly, the art scene in Saudi Arabia was a clique, if by any chance you wanted to “exhibit” you needed to go through a certain group of artists or befriend them. Although these women knew they would not earn a living out of their work, they still felt the need to share their talent and creativity.
Fresh from an undergraduate degree from King’s College London, Dr Nauf was working full time as an employed genetic researcher at the King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh at the time, this issue haunted her and gave rise to the biggest mistake or perhaps the best idea of her life!
“I put all my savings in this project, I blew it all away! Worse – I had no business plan, I did not consult experts or seek advice but I had a ferocious urge to do this. I couldn’t sleep at night, it was all I thought about – was it youth? An irrational emotional instinct? Or simply naivety? Perhaps! But I just felt I had to do it! And I did!” she admitted.
H.H Prince Bendar Mohammad Al Saud showed his support to this bold move from his daughter by attending the opening night with a large number of family members. The exhibition was soon followed by “An eye on Jeddah”, “An eye on Ta’if” and “An eye on the Eastern Province” to represent artists from all diverse regions of Saudi Arabia. In one year more than 20 female artists from the Kingdom (including Noura Bouzo and Tagreed AlBagshi) were exclusively represented by Lahd Gallery for the first time.