Celebrating Saudi art at the 2017 Shara Fair

1 / 4
Ali Cha’ban’s ‘Broken Dreams’ was on show at the fair.
2 / 4
Ali Cha’ban’s ‘Broken Dreams.’
3 / 4
Artist Sara Alabdali’ ‘Sara and Majnoun.’
4 / 4
A piece by Italian artist Maimouna Gueressi.
Updated 07 June 2017
0

Celebrating Saudi art at the 2017 Shara Fair

JEDDAH: For the third year running, the Shara Art Fair in Jeddah has shown off works by some of the Kingdom’s finest artists in what was a celebration of color and creativity.

Organized by the Saudi Art Council and held under the patronage of Princess Jawaher bint Majed bin Abdulaziz, the fair ran from June 1-5 and saw myriad galleries take part.

Participating galleries included the Athr Gallery, Al Mashreq Gallery, first-timers 20 Icons of French Design and the Al Mansouria Foundation’s silent auction gallery.

It was a one of a kind gathering which sought to empower artists and propel along Saudi Arabia’s progressive art scene. According to organizers, all proceeds will go toward funding art programs in government schools.

One highlight from abroad was the 20 Icons of French Design booth which presented 20 examples of French creativity which have been praised for breaking conventions and being ahead of their time. The objects on display ranged from the first plastic stool and the first ball point pen to a pressure cooker and images of a supersonic turbojet-powered Concorde. The exhibit’s intention was to show how a simple object was able to become a significant symbol due to commercial success, notoriety, functionality and innovation.

Of the many pieces on display, many had underlying messages that spoke to one’s spirituality, to the inner artist hidden within us all.

The pieces on show included photography, such as Moath Al Ofi’s “The Shepherd” which is a large photograph portraying the sun-beat and wrinkled face of a shepherd living and herding livestock in the vast land masses near Madinah. Also on show were installations by Zaman Jassib that fuse together calligraphy with stainless steel on wire, Osama Esid’s original negatives of the old tradition of carrying the Kaaba’s kiswa printed on silver gelatin, an original Nasser Al Salem calligraphic piece on white painted wood and many more exquisite pieces.

Ali Cha’ban, an artist with a background in anthropology, has been a keen visitor to the fair in the past and took part for the very first time this year.

His piece “Broken Dreams” shows the true essence of the artist, he told Arab News.

“This piece is a mix of my childhood and my adulthood. I wanted to find an aesthetic that linked all of this together and what better way than to display my childhood idol, Superman, on a simple yet essential item in every single Arab household, the rug. Superman is the epitome of my childhood and many others’ as well. I specifically called it ‘Broken Dreams’ because I’ll never be Superman.”

Many of the visitors agree that the pieces on display are not only quite beautiful but intriguing as well. Visitor Ahmed J. admitted that this was his first visit to an art gallery of this magnitude.

“I never understood art, I’ve never dwelled on it, thinking it’s just for the elite but coming to Shara, I’ve changed my mind. There’s more to it that meets the eye, I understand the image before me and it is mind boggling how I once thought of art as something boring and dull. It won’t be my last visit either,” he told Arab News.

The art on show was truly emotive and thought-provoking and many visitors professed their desire to return to the event. So, until next year, Shara.


Saudi treasures at Louvre Abu Dhabi dazzle visitors

The exhibition helps to spread cultural knowledge among visitors about the glorious past of the region. (Photos/SPA)
Updated 32 min 48 sec ago
0

Saudi treasures at Louvre Abu Dhabi dazzle visitors

  • The event reflects image of distant past from the heart of a country that preserves the spirit of ancient civilization

JEDDAH: The Roads of Arabia exhibition at the Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi has proved a big attraction for visitors of various nationalities. Subtitled Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia, it carries important information about the history and civilizations of the Kingdom and the Arabian Peninsula.
Visitors expressed their pride that the exhibition confirms the Kingdom’s special place in the field of archaeology, in both the discovery of these treasures and the way they are preserved.
“The exhibition represents the ancient desert memory when trade was the lifeblood of the world. The Arab trade route through the region was one of the world’s most famous routes at the time,” said former Director General of the French National Museums Pierre-Francois Zemmour.
A similar exhibition titled Treasures of Saudi Arabia was held in the Paris Louvre in 2010 and achieved great popularity in Europe, according to Zemmour.
“The exhibition hosted by Louvre Abu Dhabi this year displays 466 artifacts from the Arabian peninsula, the land of the Hijaz and the Arabian Kingdom of Kindah in 200BC,” he added.
“This is a cultural and historical event of great importance which is attracting the attention of thousands of people around the world. It shows the authentic lifestyle of these ancient peoples, who were interested in riding, breeding falcons and hunting, as well as in the protection and organization of commercial convoys,” Zemmour said.
“What is distinctive about the exhibition is that the museum reflects the image of the distant past from the heart of a country that still preserves the spirit of ancient civilization and lives on the spirit of authenticity in a contemporary form.”
Simone Garaudy, a researcher at the National Institute of Archaeology and Heritage in Paris, said that Western and Arab archaeological missions have discovered thousands of important sites in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain over the past 10 years. “These discoveries are very important for the history of humanity. It is great to see that the UAE is particularly interested in national museums which represent the memory of the region and preserve the history of the Gulf region and the civilization of the Arabian Desert for the present and future generations,” said Garaudy.
Garaudy said that the Louvre Abu Dhabi displays the great value of the past using the latest techniques of presentation, preservation and storage. “This is very important because it makes it easy for millions of people around the world to follow the exhibitions, which present Arab history to the world,” she added.
Jean de Cornies, an artist and a member of the board of trustees of the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, said that the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum has a collection of thousands of artifacts that reflect Arab lifestyle through the ages, collected from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen and Oman.
“The Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi works with its counterparts in other Arab countries and around the world, making the Louvre Abu Dhabi a integrated historical memory that reflects a long history of the Arabs.”
Indian researcher Alimuddin said: “I can see sculptures from the Stone Age and artifacts that are tens of thousands of years old, and this makes us rethink many ideas and wonder how these pieces have been preserved, despite the difficult environmental conditions in the region.”
Kabra, a visitor, stressed the importance of viewing this great heritage, noting that she did not know much about the heritage of the Arabian Peninsula, and that holding such exhibitions helps to spread cultural knowledge among the people.