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Shilpa Gupta shines in world’s Largest Light Art Festival, Noor Riyadh

Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Renowned Indian artist Shilpa Gupta is enchanting audiences in Saudi Arabia and beyond with a breathtaking artwork featured in Noor Riyadh 2023, the Largest Light Art Festival in the World. Returning to the Saudi capital under the theme “The Bright Side of the Desert Moon,” the citywide festival runs until December 16, 2023, complemented by an exhibition open until March 2, 2024.

Gupta’s commissioned piece, “We Change Each Other” (2023), is a monumental light installation with text in various languages, including Arabic, English, and Hindi. This linguistic play reflects Gupta’s exploration of unity and the blending of cultures in a world where diverse individuals interact. “We Change Each Other” embodies the artist’s fascination with the fluidity within interpersonal spaces, influenced by factors such as generational differences, religion, politics, and gender. Through a poetic interweaving of local languages, Gupta sheds light on the dominant power of language, its historical significance, and its transformations.

Based in Mumbai, Gupta’s artistic practice delves into contemporary societal discourses, prompting viewers to examine their role in society. Her work particularly focuses on the evolving public sphere in India, considering various social barriers that hinder its full expression. Gupta’s creations strive to foster an empathetic understanding of others.

Gupta’s art has been showcased in numerous solo and group exhibitions globally, including prominent venues such as MAXXI in Rome (2023), Dallas Contemporary (2021), Ishara Art Foundation in Dubai (2019), Venice Biennale (2019), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek (2019), the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2018), and Gwangju Biennale (2018).

Noor Riyadh, curated by Jérôme Sans, Pedro Alonzo, Alaa Tarabzouni, and Fahad Bin Naif, features over 120 large-scale light art installations, building projections, performances, and more by 100+ artists from 35+ countries, including 35 Saudi artists. The accompanying exhibition, “Refracted Identities, Shared Futures,” curated by Neville Wakefield and Maya Al Athel, presents works by 32 artists exploring a multidimensional world of light.

As part of Riyadh Art, one of the world’s largest public art initiatives, Noor Riyadh aims to nurture local talent and boost Saudi Arabia’s cultural economy. Riyadh Art seeks to transform the Saudi capital into a “gallery without walls” with over 1,000 public art installations spread across the city through 10 programs and two annual events.

Noor Riyadh, now in its third edition, coincides with Riyadh being selected as the host city for World Expo 2030, making it only the second Arab city to host the Expo. The festival has become a source of joy for the city, attracting millions of visitors and achieving significant milestones, including six Guinness World Records in 2022, marking it as the largest celebration of light art globally.

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