COVID-19 Exhibit

Ithra exhibit connects the world through shared pandemic experiences

From the Kingdom’s first COVID-19 lockdown, the curation highlights how we grew closer together even while apart.

Ithra exhibit connects the world through shared pandemic experiences

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is marking the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdown with the launch of a virtual showcase titled “COVID-19 Exhibit.” A display of mementos tied to an unexpected cultural and social reset that resonated across borders, cultures and languages, the exhibition is a collection of thoughts, memories and reflections on the pandemic experience by people from across the globe. 

“A year into the global health crisis, the COVID-19 Exhibit is an opportunity for the global community to reflect on this complicated and difficult time and tell our pandemic stories,” said Ithra curator and head of Ithra museum, Farah S. Abushullaih. 

Art is about connecting people through culture, but we connect maybe even more easily through common objects.
— Farah S. Abushullaih

Shared feelings, significant objects

The exhibition is the result of an open call to art enthusiasts around the world. It received hundreds of submissions, from which a collection of 270 pieces has been curated. The COVID-19 Exhibit highlights our shared feelings and experiences during lockdown — an ordeal that transcends language, cultures, and borders. 

The collection finds common ground in the diverse sentimental and significant objects that helped people worldwide cope in a time of change. Recurring themes emphasize our unity through the similarity of our experiences, and range from lockdowns, social distancing, masks, and working from home to supporting medical heroes and front-line workers. The objects include everyday items as well as instruments, photos, notes, and artworks — both old and new. 

Ithra received exhibits from:

  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Bahrain
  • Australia
  • Malaysia
  • Germany
  • Egypt
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Jordan
  • India
  • Sudan
  • Bangladesh
  • Philippines
  • Pakistan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Through telling personal COVID-19 stories, the COVID-19 Exhibit provides a universal snapshot of how humanity has dealt with and continues to grapple with what has become our new reality, amid a unique moment of global solidarity. The exhibition puts the effects of the coronavirus on ourselves and our relationships with objects into perspective, while also connecting cultures and creating dialogue through international participation.

The COVID-19 Exhibit will run for two years. To view it and for more information on Ithra and its programs, visit


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