Muhannad Shono - Festival Noor Riyadh

Client Muhannad Shono - Royal Commission for Riyadh City - Havas Events
Place Riyadh, Arabie Saoudite
Date 2022

For its second edition, in November 2022, the groundbreaking Noor Riyadh festival of light and contemporary art presents 190 monumental works signed by 130 artists from 40 countries and scattered in 40 emblematic locations throughout the city.

Curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, Dorothy Di Stefano and Jumana Ghouth and adviser Arnaud Morand, Noor Riyadh brings together Saudi and international artists such as Grimanesa Amorós, Gisela Colón, Douglas Gordon, winner of the Turner Prize, Alicja Kwade, Sabine Marcelis, Muhannad Shono, who represented Saudi Arabia at the Venice Biennale 2022, and French artists Daniel Buren, Jean-Michel Othoniel and Bertrand Lavier.

Entitled "We dream of new horizons", this second edition transforms the city into a dazzling nighttime gallery without walls, welcoming over 2.5 million from international audiences to visitors from all over the globe.

Gathering a dedicated team, Manifesto manages the artist liaison, especially for Muhannad Shono - who represented Saudi Arabia at the Venice Biennale 2022 - but also the monitoring of artworks production and installation, here with Craft, their monitoring during the Festival and their dismantling, as well as supplier research for 82 of these monumental artworks in the public space. 

It is the second time that Manifesto collaborates with Muhannad Shono, as he participated in the first AlUla Artist Residency, managed by Manifesto. (link to the other reference)

I see you brightest in the dark (2022) by Muhannad Shono is a large-scale immersive multi-room intervention traversing the floors of a 1980’s building in the heart of Riyadh Malaz district. 

Within the darkened space, an abundance of illuminated threads work their way through the edifice, moving from the basement to the roof. The audience is invited to follow these threads, and with them, a journey through loss, devotion and surrender unfolds. 

Starting in the basement, delicate strings of light spill into the dark room through its windows. A visitation that illuminates the obscurity, carrying messages from those we can no longer see. Each floor then becomes a stage, a sequential step in the narrative. The threads and stories they hold are “archived” on the second floor, wound back onto a library of spools, as a symbol of memories kept organized and safe, opening portals to doorways we sense but cannot pass through. On the third floor, the strings pass through a ‘loom’, in an attempt to weave back what has been fragmented, embodying the toil exerted in the futile effort of remaking memories, where some filaments inevitably tangle. On the rooftop, the threads pass above, transcended into a weaved single piece of fabric; here, Shono states, “We wash away our sorrow and hang it far and wide above us. A beacon of devotion, a light for all to see.” 

The process of welcoming in, archiving and looming these threads, are the stages of “dutiful and heartfelt acts of remembrance and acceptance”, the artist explains: “I miss you so I wove you a garment from threads of light.” 

Music and Composition by FaceSoul, Executive Produced by Sole

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