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US Cultural Tour

KSA/LAX took place in a warehouse at 820 Sante Fe Avenue, Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, where media and the public were invited to enjoy an immersive exhibition of large scale paintings, live performances and animated projections, virtual reality and video by a new generation of Saudi artists and designers. The event offered a unique perspective on ancient art forms, exploring traditional themes and aesthetics in a 21st century context.

Works by two generations of Saudi artists demonstrated the contemporary significance of traditional art forms. Through experimentations in paint, sound, animation, VR and video, the exhibition explored tradition, innovation and enduring shared aesthetics.

As Paul Cezanne famously said, ‘everything in nature adheres to the cone, the cylinder, and the cube’, and while western artists rediscovered geometric abstraction at the turn of the last century, artists of the Arab world have explored the potent perfection of geometry for millennia, leading the way with cutting-edge reinterpretations of this perennial art form.

Abiding Al-Qatt Al-Asiri set the scene. The collective creative expression sustaining these cross-generational murals echoes the approach of young pioneers collaborating with their cultural histories. Uniting the past and future, these vital 21st-century innovators preserve cultural identity as they realize vibrant works charged with the currents of fascinating social change.

Central to the exhibition was the work of Jeddah-born abstract artist Abdullah Qandeel, who uses bold line and color to illustrate the coalescing of Saudi traditional norms and the vastly changing cultural landscape of the Arab world.


3 April 2018


Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, United States

Part of Misk Art Institute's US Cultural Tour. Other activities included:

Participating artists: Abdalla Khashoggi, Abdullah Qandeel, Amira Al-Almai, Arwa Mohammed Alzehr, Dana Awartani, Fatemah Faya Yaqub, Fatimah Hassan, Fatima Yahya, Fawzeiyah Mohammed Barzyq, Halimah Moshabab Assiry, Jameelah Mater, Jamelah Ali Alsoghayer, Jewaher Mater, Nala Ali, Nasser Alsalem, Nawarah Abdolrahman Moghawi, Noha Khashoggi, Nouf Beydoun, Nugamshi, Ohud Ebraheam Moghawi, Reem Mater, Safia Ahmed, Salehah Abdulazeaz Alraqde, Salehah Yahay Alalmaiy, Salha Al-Qahtani, Sharifa Ayed, Sharifah Mohammed Mahdi, Tahreek Motion Graphics, Zaina Al-Shahrani, Zohrah Faya Yaqub, US artist Connor Tingley

Artists – Performers

Connor Tingley
Connor Tingley

“I never studied Picasso, I never studied Chagall. The only painter I loved was John Singer Sargent, who was the last great classical painter.”

Abdullah Qandeel
Abdullah Qandeel

"Don’t be afraid to go slow, only be afraid not to advance."


Nugamshi's research explores the evolution of traditional calligraphy and typography employing different techniques and unusual tools (broom or spray paint instead of brushes). Despite intentionally breaking with convention, Nugamshi remains true to that tradition of calligraphy while stirring dialogues within communities and looking for the spirit of the Arabic letters. 

Nugamshi currently lives in Riyadh. He trained as a graphic designer specializing in branding and type design. 

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