Raneen Bukhari and Najla Al Suhaimi do not claim to be artists, but love for art runs deeper in their veins. They regularly attend exhibitions and keep abreast of the developments in the art scene.
The two enterprising women from Saudi Arabia even launched a new platform, Loud Art, in 2012 to help artists showcase and sell their works in different art galleries all over the world. “Loud Art aims to give jumpstart to artists cutting across different genres,” explains Raneen.
The twosome hit upon the idea when they met at an exhibition at Al Khobar, their home town in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia. Najla, who works at her family-owned architecture firm, and Raneen, who looks after her family-owned art gallery, Desert Design, discussed the idea threadbare whenever they got time.
But they were a bit skeptical when they invited local artists in Al Khobar to the first exhibition, titled Loud Art. “We requested artists to create works that stick to the topic. We got encouraging response much to our surprise. The venture helped us realise eagerness of artists to talk about issues through their works,” says Najla while taking a trip down the memory lane.
The successful show gave them the confidence to move ahead and retain Loud Art as their brand name. They travelled to Jeddah next year. They did shows in three venues — Al Khobar, Jeddah and Riyadh — in the third year. Loud Art crossed Saudi border for the first time this year for a show in Muscat.
The theme of the exhibition at the Bait Al Zubair Museum, which began on January 20, is ‘Interpreting the Contemporary’. Around 80 works by artists from Middle East are on display at the exhibition, which will continue till February 14.
“Works of artists from Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia apart from artist from Middle East who have settled in United Kingdom and United States are on display here,” says Najla.
Works of Omani artists Ali Shirji (Omani landscape) and Mohammed Al Kindi (Perfect Sandwitch: CCHO) are the top draws of the show.
Among other notable works include Saudi artists Khalid Zahid’s who shows simple joys of everyday life, Najla Abdulla’s pixellated Mona Lisa and Yousuf Al Ahmed’s works on skateboards.
Though the platform grows bigger every year, Loud Art hasn’t changed the format to select artists. “We announce the exhibition plan and theme in February every year through social media.
“We want to get works from as many genres as possible. More than 30 artists associate with us every year. Those who associated with us in the first year have gone on to international exhibitions,” says Najla.
The duo believes that Loud Art gives advantage for artists. “It is all about promoting creativity. Artists can decide the number of entries.
“They are free to submit just one piece or more than 10 pieces every year. We select works based on quality and not by the fame and repute of artists.”
Above all, artists are free to price their works.
“We will interfere if they price it exorbitantly. At present, we have works between OMR12 and OMR2,000. We thank Bait Al Zubair for bringing us to Oman. We would like to continue our association with them,” says Raneen. — [email protected]