Riyadh’s largest-ever street art exhibition, RSH, recently transformed an abandoned Ministry building into a vibrant hub of creativity. Held from November 15th to December 6th, the festival, inspired by the Arabic word for “spray,” drew artists from around the world, showcasing over 30 large-scale murals, sculptures, and installations.
Co-curated by Cedar Lewisohn, Head of Public Art at London’s South Bank, and Jeddah-based artist Basmah Felemban, RSH assembled a diverse array of talent. Notable participants included renowned names like Futura, JR’s Inside Out Project, and Faith 47. The festival underscored the prominence of women artists in the street art community, providing them a prominent platform.
Dina Amin, CEO of the Saudi Visual Arts Commission (VAC), highlighted the festival’s role as “a dynamic platform for artistic exchange.” Amin emphasized its importance in celebrating street art’s transformative power, “transcending boundaries and forging links between diverse artistic practices.” The festival aligned with the Ministry of Culture’s goal to foster cultural exchange under the Saudi Vision 2030 objectives.
RSH’s public program, led by street art documentarian Martha Cooper, offered rich insights into the genre’s history and future. It particularly focused on the regional scene, largely undocumented until now. The festival’s diverse programming included lectures, workshops, musical and dance performances, skateboarding, streetwear pop-ups, food trucks, and film screenings, engaging communities of all ages.
Over 50 local, regional, and international street artists, speakers, musicians, and performers contributed to RSH, fostering a global fusion of creativity. Lewisohn and Felemban’s vision transformed the AlMughrizat District venue into an artistic journey, honoring the diversity of street art culture locally and globally.
The RSH festival not only showcased Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning street art scene but also set a precedent for future cultural exchanges and artistic collaborations. As Riyadh continues to embrace contemporary art practices, events like RSH play a crucial role in empowering local artists and introducing global art trends to the Kingdom.