Saudi Arabia: ‘Art is Halal’ poster campaign sparks lively debate


In Saudi Arabia, social media users have engaged in rare criticism of rulers over their arts policy in light of campaign by three female artists. The aim of the campaign, the artists say, is to provoke a public debate about the limits of freedom of expression in art.

A trio of three young students and artists – Boshra al-Ouda, Majd al-Harbi and Ayesha al-Barqi – have stuck more than 400 posters bearing the slogan ‘Art is Halal’ around the streets of the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The campaign has sparked conversations about the place of art in the conservative Gulf kingdom.

“People assume that there’s nothing going on in Saudi Arabia in terms of the arts right now, but that’s not the case,” Chaudhry, a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta who has investigated Twitter and social change in Saudi Arabia, told Middle East Eye.

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Photo above: One of around 400 posters put up around Riyadh bearing the slogan ‘Art is Halal’ (Source: Twitter, @azizhk86)

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