London's Albion Jeune gallery, newly refurbished by John Pawson, presents a solo exhibition of paintings by Saudi Arabian artist, Alia Ahmad, inspired by Riyadh’s industrialised desert and the colors of Al Sadu textiles woven by nomadic Bedouin tribes. Sophie Goodwin reports.



Albion Jeune, 16-17 Little Portland Street © Ben Westoby



Newly designed by legendary architect, John Pawson, Albion Jeune has officially opened its doors on London's Little Portland Street in Mayfair. Founded by art curator and Courtauld Master’s graduate, Lucca Hue-Williams, the gallery is now presenting its inaugural show, 'Thought to Image'. The solo exhibition of large-scale paintings by Saudi Arabian painter, Alia Ahmad, spearheads Albion Jeune's emerging international art programme, curated by one-to-watch Hue-Williams.


Portrait of Saudi Arabian painter, Alia Ahmad, courtesy the artist & Albion Jeune


Ahmad's show, curated by Sacha Craddock, presents arresting, kaleidoscopic paintings that draw on the lush characteristics of Riyadh’s industrialised desert, the colours of Al Sadu textiles woven by nomadic Bedouin tribes, and the calligraphic lyricism of the oldest from of arabic script, khatt.

The canvases have immediate impact; Lucca Hue-Williams has an innate ability to identify, and present, fledgling creativity set for the cultural world stage. She operates at the intersection between art, design and fashion, having trained at fashion houses, including Cai Guo-Qiang, Tom Ford and Marc Newson, and worked across verticals in the art industry, assisting curatorially at UCCA, Beijing and the inaugural Diriyah Biennale.

"From a market perspective, it has been fascinating watching even the blue-chip galleries restructure in the current economic headwinds," she tells Cabana

"Galleries both young and mature are turning to fresh forms of collaboration as they tackle a difficult global economy. The next generation of dealers are focusing on forging strong relationships with the artists and working in a curatorial manner that extends beyond a white cube setting."


 Portrait of Lucca Hue-Williams and John Pawson at Albion Jeune  © Nick Knight


"I'm fascinated by unearthing new talent and watching the world's response. I first saw Alia's work when I was based in Riyadh in 2021, and we hit it off immediately because of my interest in the region and the desire to bring forth the next generation of young talent. She continues a lineage of landscape painting from the region in a fresh yet urgent manner, while weaving in ancestral traditions, the contemporary notion of the archive, and her academic background in digital culture."


 Alia Ahmad, Installation view, Thought to Image, Albion Jeune 2024   © Gilbert McCarragher

- - - - - - - - - - - 

Alia Ahmad, Thought to Image, is showing until 12th June 2024.

Join the Cabana family