‘And Along Came Polyester’ art exhibition opens

Aisha Al-Sowaidi stands next to her artwork at the exhibition in Jeddah on Thursday. (AN photo by Lulwa Shalhoub)
Updated 03 February 2017
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‘And Along Came Polyester’ art exhibition opens

JEDDAH: A Thursday night of contemporary art puts a refreshing end to schools’ midyear break. Young people and art lovers filled Athr art platform based at Serafi Mega Mall’s office towers as the artwork of five woman artists from the Gulf had them mesmerized.
The exhibition entitled “And Along Came Polyester” displayed the work of Saudi artist Sarah Abu Abdullah’s “18 Blankets,” Qatari artist Aisha Al-Sowaidi’s “The Shift,” Bahraini artist Hala Al-Khalifa’s “She Wore Her Scares Like Wings,” Kuwaiti artist Monira Al-Qadiri’s “Legacy” and Emirati artist Layla Juma’s “A Still Moment in Thought & Spatial Perception.”
Al-Sowaidi, standing next to “The Shift,” talked to Arab News about her work that represented a phase of her childhood and memories of her family.
“This talks about my memory when I used to come home after school and sit in the majlis," Al-Sowaidi said. "I used to be surrounded by adults and I was the only child there. It felt that I was alone. I felt that I had the universe for myself. I felt that I had the majlis for myself as I started going into my imagination.”
When asked about the story behind the roundedness of the “majlis,” the Qatari artist said: “I created my own universe in the majlis by myself although I was surrounded by others…. And that’s where the rounded shape came from… it’s the universe I created by myself, and it rolls. Everything lost gravity while seated inside.”
Going up to the On The Terrace rooftop, the scene had a vintage sense of traditional food venders surrounding an open space for people to sit and enjoy grabbing a bite in the open air space.
The exhibition will be open to the public until April 7.


Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 54 min 44 sec ago
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Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece exhibition in Dhahran.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.