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Eye of Riyadh
Culture & Education | Friday 23 February, 2024 4:59 am |
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Diriyah Gate Development Authority Unveil 'The Earthen Testaments' at UNESCO House, Paris

The Earthen Testaments,’ a multidisciplinary exhibition exploring Diriyah’s natural and built landscapes through imagery, film, artefacts, and contemporary artworks commissioned from Saudi artists, has opened at Ségur Hall, UNESCO House, in Paris, France. This exhibition combines historical remnants and archaeological objects to offer a wider lens into Diriyah and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif, the center of government of the First Saudi State and the ancestral home of the Saudi Royal family[ . The exhibition will be on view from 22- 29 February 2024.

“We are thrilled to host this exhibition on the rich heritage of Diriyah and At-Turaif, its UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our collaboration is vital to our mission to protect cultural heritage sites and to bring their archaeological significance to life—not only for the Saudi people but also for the international community. ‘The Earthen Testaments’ presents, through the visionary work of contemporary Saudi artists, a window into the world of Diriyah and At-Turaif. For this enriching cultural exchange, we extend our sincere gratitude,” added Fahad bin Maayouf Al Ruwaily, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to France Republic and Principality of Monaco and Interim Permanent Delegate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO.

“It is an honor to unveil 'The Earthen Testaments'—an exhibition that celebrates and preserves the cultural heritage of Diriyah. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Kingdom, At-Turaif represents the birthplace and gateway to Saudi Arabia, and it is a privilege and great responsibility to share Diriyah’s stories, values, culture, art, and heritage with the world through this exhibition,” said Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority.  

The historical  city of Diriyah, birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia situated along Wadi Hanifah, has today been redefined as a thriving, vibrant center of culture, history, heritage, and knowledge that celebrates its storied landscape, history, heritage, ] and symbolic monuments. The unique characteristics of this site have contributed to its status as a natural, cultural, and national landmark, with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif at its heart. The earthen structures of At-Turaif, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010, stand today as a symbol of the heritage, traditions, values[, and material forms that define Najdi culture and heritage. 

The exhibition combines historical remnants and archaeological objects with contemporary responses from various Saudi artists, offering a wider lens into Diriyah’s heritage and values through material traces. The artworks and film are juxtaposed with a selection of material excerpts, archival images, historical maps, poetry, and an interview with a descendent of the master builder of At-Turaif. [ Numerous elements immerse visitors in the unique properties of At-Turaif and its intimate link between landscape, natural resources, and the history of place. ‘The Earthen Testaments’ presents a glimpse into the story of this historical city  and its people through an exploration of its materials.

The exhibition combines archeological fragments, archival photographs, film, poetry[ , and artworks by Saudi artists Rasha AlRashed (b.1985), Omar Abduljawad (b.1989), Ali AlSumayin. and the collective Bricklab (Est. 2015). In addition, the artisan Abdullah AlSayegh  and the perfumer Bader AlHarqan have crafted a Diriyah-inspired giveaway. Visitors will be able to trace the material as witness to the stories of the Wadi  and the archeological structures of the sites and experience the tangible and intangible heritage of the area] , stepping into a site that stands today as the gateway to the establishment of the story of Saudi Arabia today. 

‘The Earthen Testaments’ is open from the 22nd February until the 29th of February and is presented by The Diriyah Gate Development Authority.

 

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