Noor Riyadh Festival

To transform the city of Riyadh into a two-week open-air gallery of art and light, Light Art Collection came on board as partners of Balich Wonder Studio, a leading global creator of immersive events, brand and destination experiences.

The Royal Commission for Riyadh City created Riyadh Art to bring art to the city’s residential areas, gardens and parks, squares and open areas, transport hubs and tourist destinations.

One of two major festivals supporting this initiative, Noor Riyadh, the city’s first-ever public festival for art and light, was held in 2021. The word “light” translates to noor in Arabic.

Crossing boundaries, connecting cultures

From impressive installations to big names, to crowd-pleasers that sparked wonder and delight, we joined forces with an international team of curators from the Middle East, US and Europe to create awe-inspiring experiences in local neighborhoods across socio-economic categories.

Together with Vincenzo de Belliz and Eiman Elgibreen, our own curator Pam Toonen co-curated 33 light artworks for Noor Riyadh, including works by global luminaries Daniel Buren, Yayoi Kusama, Dan Flavin, Robert Wilson, Carsten Höller, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, and more.

Eleven of these pieces came from our own collection, with another third coming from leading names in contemporary Saudi art, such as Ahmed Mater, Ayman Zedani, Ayman Yossri Daydban, Lulwah Al-Homoudand more.

We also facilitated a landmark cross-cultural collaboration between a Saudi and a Dutch artist made especially for the festival: Nocturnal Dialogue by Ralf Westerhof and Talal Al Zeid.

The future is bright 

With over 310,000 visitors in its first year, Noor Riyadh won two Guinness World Records in 2021: for Karolina Halatek’s commissioned work Beacon, the World’s Largest LED Structure, and Koert Vermeulen’s Star in Motion, the World’s Brightest Suspended Ornament.

The public response from residents was extremely rewarding. So was a sense of accomplishment in helping plant seeds of possibility for more public art in Riyadh’s bright, shiny future.