ART - Art celebrates change

The works by Sultan bin Fahad tell the story of the Red Palace, a place of great symbolic value for Saudi history

"The Red Palace" is one-man show by artist Sultan bin Fahad, and the title of the work refers to the building that hosts it: the old Saudi royal palace, now abandoned.

This is where Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz lived and ruled. The halls of this palace have welcomed all the local dignitaries, plus kings and heads of state. The residence, vacated in the Eighties, was ready to be demolished when Sultan, who is also a member of the royal family, asked to use it one more time before it was knocked down. The object of this vast site-specific work is metamorphosis. The profound economic, social and cultural change that has taken place in Saudi Arabia in the last decades. The artist has created installations and sculptures connecting objects and situations that have created the history of this land and set them very wisely in a seat of monarchic power in disrepair.

An original work, a painstaking collection of photos, videos and installations. And then there's the artist himself. Sultan is a man of great culture, with an education in keeping with his standing, who has realised with great foresight how art is one of the keys to innovation. This is an enlightened political operation, that breaks away from the old way of approaching culture. A way of pushing the future Saudi generations on a path toward change there's no turning back from.

@GuidoTalarico

This article is also published in the July/August issue of eastwest.

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