RDIF to Present the Best of Russian Fine Art in Riyadh

Press release, 11.10.2019

Riyadh, October 11, 2019 – The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, together with the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Culture, will present masterpieces of Russian art as part of the “Russian Culture in Riyadh” programme, that will be launched during the state visit of the President of the Russian Federation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The cultural programme will be hosted by the King Fahd Cultural Centre in Riyadh and will include the following events and exhibitions:

“Kandinsky in Russia” exhibition from the collection of the State Russian Museum.

With the support of RDIF, the State Russian Museum is presenting 19 paintings by the world-famous founder of abstract art. These works will be presented for the first time in the Middle East and will include pieces from Kandinsky’s early creative period, when the artist was under the powerful influence of folk art from the Russian north. The exhibition also includes several works from his “revolutionary” period, in particular, Black Spot (1917) and Picture with Points (1919).

In 2018 RDIF and the State Russian Museum presented five works by Kandinsky and the renowned Russian abstract painter Pavel Filonov on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative forum. The interest shown in Russian abstract art by the forum’s participants resulted in a request for a more extensive exhibition in Saudi Arabia by the State Russian Museum.

“Artificial Intelligence and Intercultural Dialogue” exhibition.

An international exhibition of contemporary art, created with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The exhibition, organized with the support of RDIF, was first held in the State Hermitage Museum’s General Staff Building in St. Petersburg in June 2019.

Leading artists from ten countries embracing the use of AI are taking part in the exhibition, including the Russian academic Konstantin Novoselov, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics, who will be presenting his work Time.

Pride of place at the exhibition will go to a joint work by the Russian artists Alexandra Sukhareva and the Saudi artist Nasser Al Shemimri, which is a response to the central aim of the exhibition: the creation of a dialogue and mutual trust between the two cultures.

Concert by the Stars of Russian Opera with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Felix Korobov.

Russian opera stars Aida Garifullina and Ildar Abdrazakov will perform celebrated works of classical music from Russia and abroad, including the “Song of the Varangian Guest” from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Sadko and a piece “Fly Away on the Wings of the Wind” from Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor. The first concert by a Russian symphony orchestra in Saudi Arabia took place in 2018, when the Mariinsky Theatre orchestra and superstar conductor Valery Gergiev performed at the opening of the concert hall in the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture, which was created as part of a cultural initiative by the Saudi Aramco company.

Russian Cinema Week.

With the support of the Russian Ministry of Culture, Karo Film, Russia’s leading cinema chain and one of RDIF’s portfolio companies, presents nine of the best Russian and Soviet films and animations: The Cranes Are Flying, Coach, Salyut 7, Stalingrad, Mirror, Hoffmaniada, Hedgehog in the Fog, The Old Man and the Sea, and Come and See. The event will be the first ever screenings of Russian films in Saudi Arabia, where public screenings recommenced in 2018. A total of 300 cinemas will open in the country as part of the Kingdom’s “Saudi Vision 2030” programme of reforms.

A unique light-projection show “Russia and the World: A Millenary Development Path”.

As part of Russian Culture Evening a unique light-projection show “Russia and the World: A Millennary Development Path” will be presented, which will help the guests learn more about the milestone events of Russian history, the key achievements of scientific thought that have changed the course of world technological progress and major pieces of Russian Culture: paintings, classical music, choreography. Millenary culture of Russia will come to life before the eyes of the guests. The show will be demonstrated on the walls of the King Fahd Cultural Centre.


Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said:
“Russia and Saudi Arabia have recently achieved a major breakthrough in cultural cooperation. With support from RDIF a number of landmark events have already been held in Saudi Arabia with the participation of prominent representatives of Russian culture. These include, in particular, a concert by the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra and an exhibition of works by Russian abstract artists from the collection of the State Russian Museum. Russian Culture in Riyadh will become the largest Russian cultural event in the Kingdom to date. Culture plays a great role in the transformation process that is currently taking place in Saudi Arabia. There is significant interest in Russian culture in Saudi Arabia, a country that is actively opening up to the outside world, and we will help the leading Russian museums, music and theatre groups, as well as companies working in this field, become part of the rapidly developing cultural life of the country.”

Vladimir Medinsky, Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation:
“Russia is bringing to Saudi Arabia the best of classical and contemporary art – from the music of Russian composers and the works of Wassily Kandinsky to contemporary paintings created with the use of artificial intelligence. This is far from the first, but definitely the largest – both in scale and content – cultural event that Russia has held in the Kingdom. A historical event in many ways. We expect this project will not only introduce Russian art to the Saudi public but will also take cooperation between our countries in the cultural and humanitarian spheres to a new level.”

Learn more about RDIF cultural programme in KSA at: https://rdif.ru/Eng_cultural-centre/


Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is Russia's sovereign wealth fund established in 2011 to make equity co-investments, primarily in Russia, alongside reputable international financial and strategic investors. RDIF acts as a catalyst for direct investment in the Russian economy. RDIF’s management company is based in Moscow. Currently, RDIF has experience of the successful joint implementation of more than 70 projects with foreign partners totaling more than RUB1.5 tn and covering 95% of the regions of the Russian Federation. RDIF portfolio companies employ more than 800,000 people and generate revenues which equate to more than 6% of Russia’s GDP. RDIF established joint strategic partnerships with leading international co-investors from more than 15 countries that total more than $40 bn. Further information can be found at rdif.ru

For additional information contact:
Arseniy Palagin
Russian Direct Investment Fund
Press Secretary
Tel: +7 495 644 34 14, ext. 2395
Mobile: +7 916 110 31 41
E-mail: arseniy.palagin@rdif.ru

Andrew Leach / Maria Shiryaevskaya
Hudson Sandler
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7796 4133