I am Wejdan Reda, the founder of Sahaba.
I was always fantasised by pink clouds. I remember first coming across it on Pocahontas -this strong woman surrounded by all things enchanted and most importantly with pink clouds. Yet, growing up in Saudi, the sky was always blue and clear of clouds. This became symbolic, the absence of clouds was in a way an absence of fantasy, an absence of a better world where the challenges and issues I was directly dealing with as a woman and a practitioner in the art world would not exist. In a sense the pink clouds were a form of escape mechanisms that began with me during my childhood and lasted till this current moment.
I realised afterwards that instead of escaping it was time to resolve some of those challenges directly through a space that is dedicated to highlight the artistic practices of women artists from the region and beyond, and work on bridging the gap between emerging artists and the art scene by providing consultancy services to help them achieve their goals.
I’m currently working on Sahaba’s official launch, and the public programs for the following months including a program coinciding with Saudi art week 21,39. I will be announcing soon our monthly art book club program which aims to take the participants through the most important art theories from both the East & West, to help expand the conversation around art. I will also be hosting a thematic monthly art salon where a group of no more than 10 people can join in, discuss, and reflect on the latest events around the art scene.
As for my personal projects and contributions, I have recently graduated with a master’s degree in curating contemporary art from the royal college of art, and during my studies I conducted a 10,000 words research on how the Saudi contemporary art scene is situated between the local and the transnational. At the moment I am working on developing this research further as well as translating it to Arabic in preparation for publication. In addition, I have recently co-curated a large scale public art commission titled ‘Every Second in Between’ by artist Kyung Hwa Shon at White City, London. The installation is still on view in London and was recently shortlisted for Elephant X Griffin Art prize which is a great honour.
I hope Sahaba serves both artists and art enthusiasts in the best way possible through specialised consultancy services to help them navigate the Saudi art scene and beyond. Sahaba aims to help artists take their first step to having an art career through supporting them create their portfolios and online presence, writing their biographies, connecting them with opportunities to showcase their work through local and regional art galleries and initiatives, and understanding their rights when it comes to selling their works.
Last by not least, Sahaba also provides curatorial services to initiatives, galleries, as well as curate its own exhibitions.