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Nouf Al Moneef Lights the Way as Noor Riyadh’s Festival Director

The persona art cultivated within Al Moneef becomes the guiding light she extends to others.

Farida El Shafie

Art speaks when words fail.

Amidst historical omissions and forgotten tales, art stands, revealing societal nuances left untold. Its remnants, a silent testimony to unspoken narratives, weave stories of human experience, and thus, stir the soul. Throughout the kingdom, artists have sown the seeds of a cultural awakening. With sheer vision as their guiding light, they envisioned a Saudi Arabia outside of the confines of oil rigs and spiritual reckonings; a testament to a nation's evolution beyond the expected borders. At the centre of this movement is Noor Riyadh, the world’s biggest light and art festival.

When Nouf Al Moneef, Noor Ryadh’s festival director, was tasked with capturing the kingdom's essence, she envisioned a portrait of the Riyadh that shaped her - a city ablaze with vibrant hues, illuminated not just by light but by the fervour and creativity of its people. Thus she began piecing the puzzle together, gathering artists far and wide, stitching together the tableau that would eventually stand as a cornerstone within the country's burgeoning art landscape.

As an architect and interior designer, Al Moneef wields a keen understanding of the industry's inner workings - a skillset that enabled her to step into the role of festival director. Yet, it was embarking on this mission amidst a global pandemic that fashioned a resolute version of Al Moneef, adept at steering a venture born in uncertain times. Against formidable odds, the inaugural edition Noor Riyadh drew over 300,000 visitors, heralding the emergence of a nascent legacy in the making.

Across 40 locations in Riyadh, 200 artworks stood witness to the swift evolution of a nation. In fleeting moments, the global art sphere turned its gaze to Saudi Arabia, spotlighting the kingdom's vital role in the broader artistic conversation. Curators, artists, influential figures, and industry stalwarts convened amid towering sculptures, weaving a fresh narrative about the kingdom and its inhabitants. In this collective exchange, Al Moneef's innate understanding that art wields profound transformative power was affirmed.

At the heart of Noor Riyadh is a desire to nurture artists and push creativity to its fullest logical potential. The persona art cultivated within Al Moneef becomes the guiding light she extends to others. In her core, she comprehends that the global stage yearns for nothing more than the rich embrace of the kingdom’s leading creatives.

On the eve of the third instalment of Noor Riyadh, running from November 30th to December 16th, SceneNow Saudi, in collaboration with Art D’Egypte, ventured into Al Moneef's realm. Within the sanctum of her home, she began sketching the vivid narrative of her journey, offering exclusive glimpses into the genesis of the world's biggest light and art festival.

📸: SceneNow Saudi