Entitled I Love You, Urgently, the seventh edition of 21,39 Jeddah Arts is a call to action in response to the environmental emergency from the specificity of a local context. At a time when Saudi Arabia is undergoing a rapid transformation, it asked local and international artists, architects, designers and thinkers to seek out tangible solutions, and to formulate alternative and symbiotic ways to inhabit our planet.
As it departs from the scientific vernacular, it emphasized the highly personal dynamics we are living today. Through exhibitions, commissions and a series of dialogues, talks and debates that took place in the gallery spaces of the Saudi Art Council and in Al-Balad, the historic city center of Jeddah, participants were invited to address three specific themes: ideas of biomimicry, the imitation of the models, systems and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems; of adaptability; and of specificity, how to think of alternative and symbiotic ways to inhabit our planet from a local context.
“Artists, architects and designers—in short, creators—are in a unique position to explore ideas and take an active role in dismantling Anthropocene attitudes, replacing these with solutions to the environmental crisis we face and inspiring debate and dialogue. I have long been delighted and fascinated with the concepts and positive attitude of biomimicry, as well as with the notion that, by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies, we already have the solutions to a sustainable future. I hope 21,39 Jeddah Arts 2020 is a catalyst for new ways of thinking about how we live.” Maya El Khalil, curator of the seventh edition of 21,39 Jeddah Arts