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Over 300 brightly coloured boulders spring up in the canyons of Saudi Arabia for Desert X

Artist Mohammad Ahmed Ibrahim has installed 320 pop-coloured sculptures in the Saudi desert for the inaugural Desert X Al Ula festival, scattering them among its rocky canyons.

The artwork is among 14 site-specific installations created for the bumper art extravaganza, which explores the Al Ula area’s heritage and distinct landscape. It’s the first exhibition of its kind in Saudi Arabia, organised in collaboration with the Royal Commission of AlUla, and marks Desert X’s controversial relocation from California’s Coachella Valley.

Nasser AlSalem, ‘Amma Qabl’ installation view at Desert X Al Ula. Photography: Lance Gerber. Courtesy of the artist, Desert X and RCU

As well as Ibrahim, participating artists include Copenhagen studio Superflex, American artist Lita Albuquerque and Saudi Arabian artist Nasser Al Salem.

Works range from a three-person swingset to a trampoline puddles, a knotted ‘Mirage’ sculpture by French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed and a towering pyramid made from plastic palettes by Rashed AlShashai.

Rashed AlShashaia, ‘Concise Passage’ installation view at Desert X Al Ula. Photography: Lance Gerber. Courtesy of the artist, Desert X and RCU

Curation by Desert X director Neville Wakefield, Raneem Farsi and Aya Alireza is informed by the land art movement of the 1960s and 70s, and Desert X Al Ula runs until 7 March 2020.

You can see a full gallery of installations in Saudi Arabia here. Desert X returns for its third edition in the California desert in 2021.

Lita Albuquerque, ‘NAJMA (She Placed One Thousand Suns Over the Transparent Overlays of Space)’ installation view at Desert X Al Ula. Photography: Lance Gerber. Courtesy of the artist, Desert X and RCU
Manal AlDowayan, ‘Now You See Me, Now You Don’t’ installation view at Desert X Al Ula. Photography: Lance Gerber. Courtesy of the artist, Desert X and RCU
eL Seed, ‘Mirage’ installation view at Desert X Al Ula. Photography: Lance Gerber. Courtesy of the artist, Desert X and RCU
Gisela Colon, ‘The Future is Now’ installation view at Desert X Al Ula. Photography: Lance Gerber. Courtesy of the artist, Desert X and RCU

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