Halla Bint Khalid is a Riyadh-based visual artist and storyteller. She works in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, installation, and children’s books. Living within the rigid Saudi system, Halla uses her work to pose questions, encourage self-awareness, and challenge limiting social norms. She is the co-owner of Gharem Studios, a non-profit organisation that encourages artists to explore their culture, heritage, and personal truths.
Halla was born in Saudi Arabia in 1971. She holds a BA in Business Administration from King Saud University, and developed her art practice with private and self-guided study. Throughout her career she has moved between classical figuration, modern expressionism, and conceptual presentation, telling stories that are rich in cultural specificity and personal narrative. Halla’s artwork is at times playful and arresting, always cut with emotional intelligence and diagnostic insight. Her children’s stories emphasis care and protection of the self and the wider world.
Halla’s first solo exhibition was in Riyadh, in 1991, and her first international solo show was at MoMA Tbilisi, in 2019. She participated in the Moscow Bienniale of Contemporary Art in the same year. Halla established a publishing house in 1997, and has since published 18 titles for children in both Arabic and English. She regularly visits schools to read and speak with children about social awareness and independent thinking. In 2020, Halla became the co-owner alongside fellow artist Abdulnasser Gharem of progressive arts platform Gharem Studios.