Art Jameel, an independent organisation that supports artists
and creative communities, announces that Hayy Jameel will launch this winter in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom’s dedicated home for the arts is designed by multi-award-winning architectural studio waiwai and conceived as a dynamic, creative, community hub.
The launch of Hayy Jameel marks three-quarters of a century of Jameel family global philanthropy and comes to fruition in line with a new era for culture and the arts across the Kingdom. The name of the 17,000-square-metre creative complex is derived from the Arabic word for neighbourhood, to denote it intent as an accessible, communal and collaborative space.
Built to bring together the broadest range of creative disciplines in one destination, Hayy Jameel includes Hayy Arts, a 700-square-metre museum that hosts a roster of homegrown and international touring arts and design exhibitions; Fenaa Hayy, a multi-purpose space for performances, workshops and talks; Hayy Learning, a community-focussed education platform with a rolling programme that embraces in-person and virtual learning, research and apprenticeships; Hayy Studios, makers’ spaces and facilities for hands-on learning and residencies; and Hayy Cinema, the Kingdom’s first independent audio-visual centre, including a 200-seat theatre, a community screening room and a multimedia library.
Imagined as a year-round home for the Saudi film community and local cine-enthusiasts, the cinema is designed by Jeddah-based architectural practice Bricklab, awarded through a highly competitive international design competition run by Art Jameel.
Hayy Jameel’s building design has received multiple architectural accolades, including Gold in the Hong Kong Design Awards; Silver in the New York Design Awards; the Honour Award for Exceptional Design by the American Institute of Architects (Middle East chapter); and nominations for the 2A Continental Architectural Award and the London Design Awards.
Designed to nurture creative cross-pollination, the three-storey building in the residential north Jeddah area of Al Mohammadiyyah responds to its surroundings: tall façades intimate the privacy of a home while allowing for interior openness, flow and maximum natural light, achieved by centring all activity around Saha, the community courtyard, with landscaping rooted in concepts of sustainability and adaptability year-round. The steel structures of the building allow for the flexibility to reconfigure space as cultural trends emerge.
Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel, said:
The opening of Hayy Jameel is a major milestone for Art Jameel, the creative community we work with in Saudi Arabia and our partners around the world. The result of more than a decade of consultation, planning and building, Hayy Jameel is imagined as a home-from-home where different generations of artists, practitioners and enthusiasts gather to meet the like- minded, to experience, learn, and find a collective voice– and thus contribute ever more strongly to the development of the thriving arts scene across the Kingdom. We thank the community for their support and look forward to welcoming everyone to Hayy Jameel this winter.
Complementing the Art Jameel-run spaces, Hayy Jameel brings together homegrown partner-tenant Residents from Saudi Arabia who all play a pioneering role in their respective fields. The Hayy Residents
represent a wide spectrum of creative disciplines, ranging from contemporary art and performance to design and publishing, as well as baking institutes, new cafes and eateries. Details of these entities and
their programmes will be announced through the summer.
The Art Jameel-run exhibitions space Hayy Arts anchors the complex, presenting robust, curated, museum-style shows – featuring Saudi and international artists and designers – that address themes of local and global relevance. The opening show, ‘Staple: What’s on your plate?’, co-curated with London-based partner Delfina Foundation, is inspired by Jeddah’s richly diverse population. The exhibition investigates what we eat and the entanglement of food with memory, ecology and place through the varied contributions of more than 30 artists, researchers, thinkers, performers, filmmakers and creative practitioners. A collaborative research process exploring food systems and networks globally has been underway for the past two years and includes a “laboratory” of artists, writers and thinkers from the Gulf and beyond.
These conversations are set to continue through the run of the exhibition, from November 2021 to April 2022, accompanied by an extensive public programme that includes talks, performances and a learning and film programme with contributions from regional and international artists, plus a range of workshops and activities for children, youth and lifelong-learners.
Sara Al Omran, Deputy Director of Art Jameel, said:
Hayy Jameel is a community-led organisation that listens to its surroundings and has a focus on amplifying local thematics through rigorously researched exhibitions and programming. Creatives are the soul of the built environment, which is why the design of the building is centred around the needs of artists, cultural workers, and entrepreneurs. Hayy is a
hayy that acts as an incubator, contributing to the creative ambitions of Jeddah and Saudi at large.
In Saudi Arabia, Art Jameel has long played a pioneering role in documenting, developing and raising awareness of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Projects have taken place in Asir and Al Ula, and at the Jameel House of Traditional Arts in Al Balad, Jeddah. Since 2015, the Jameel House in Jeddah has featured a range of community workshops and prestigious, intensive one-year artisans’ programmes, delivered in partnership with the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts. The end-of-year show by the 2021 cohort will be the culmination of the current iteration of the Jameel House in Jeddah, which will relocate from Al Balad to Hayy Jameel. In conversation with the Prince’s Foundation and other
organisations, Art Jameel has begun to devise new ways to support the crafts community in Saudi that complement and build on the Kingdom-wide effort to preserve its rich architectural and artisanal history.