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Saudi government sells off art to fund Jeddah museum

Saudi government sells off art to fund Jeddah museum

Contemporary artworks will be sold to pay for a historical museum at a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jeddah

Jeddah is home to one of Saudi Arabia's five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Jeddah is home to one of Saudi Arabia's five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

More than 40 contemporary pieces of art will be sold to raise cash for the construction of a heritage museum in Jeddah.

In a rare move for the Saudi Arabian government, the Ministry of Culture will collaborate for the first time with art auctioneer Christie’s to sell dozens of contemporary Saudi artworks at a charity sale on 26 June.

Art For Al Balad: A Charity Auction has been described by Christie’s as the “first event of its kind” in the kingdom, with tens of artists and collectors putting contemporary works up for sale in a bid to raise funds for the preservation of Jeddah’s historical district.

Auction proceeds will pay for a heritage museum in Al Balad and a not-for-profit centre for children with special needs.

Located on the Red Sea along the west coast, Jeddah is the country's second-largest city and is central to the oil-rich state’s plan to position itself as destination for cultural tourism.

Al Balad is already home to one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Saudi Arabia. Under the country’s Vision 2030 strategy for social and economic change, the country wants to more than double the number of UNESCO-tagged sites.

“I am delighted to be hosting Art for Al Balad: A Charity Auction in the heart of Jeddah’s historical district, one of Saudi Arabia’s cultural treasures,” said HH Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Culture.

“A dedicated Al Balad Museum is an important cause that will play a crucial role in historic Jeddah’s preservation and regeneration. It will showcase a part of Saudi Arabia’s heritage to a wide audience and ensure that culture is embedded into Saudi citizens’ everyday lives for generations to come.”

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