Officials in Saudi Arabia have unveiled plans for new permanent art installations which will be on display in Wadi AlFann – meaning ‘Valley of the Arts’.

Located within AlUla, Wadi AlFann is set to open by 2024 and spans 65 sq km in north-west Saudi Arabia.

Within the cultural destination, there will be a display of large-scale, site-specific contemporary art by some of the world’s leading artists including Manal AlDowayan, Agnes Denes, Michael Heizer, Ahmed Mater and James Turrell.

The first five works will explore themes like collective memory, folklore, civilisation, achievement, form, scale, myth, mirage, perception and the materiality of light.

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Learning from the desert, the commissioned artists will take inspiration from AlUla’s topography, geology and ecosystem.

AlUla says that the latest announcement is only the start of a continued programme of commissions, with more artists to be announced.

Render of Ashab Al-Lal by Ahmed Mater at Wadi AlFann. Courtesy of ATHR Gallery

Wadi AlFann is one of several new creative landmarks planned for AlUla as part of its Journey Through Time masterplan – developed by the Royal Commission for AlUla and unveiled by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz – which will see 15 new destinations for culture, heritage and creativity open by 2035.

Later this year, Wadi AlFann’s pre-opening programme will feature temporary exhibitions, artist residencies and public symposia.

A yet-to-be-announced public programme will accompany the unveiling of the first five artworks, including performances and tours through the valley, along with educational opportunities for local communities.

“Wadi AlFann will rekindle the creativity of AlUla and deliver new transformative experiences for locals and visitors alike,” says Nora Aldabal, executive director of Arts and Creative Industries at the Royal Commission for AlUla, “This visionary destination will build a vibrant and prosperous local cultural economy, forging pathways for the people of AlUla to unlock creative potential.”