Saudi curators to bring communities together through art

Yinka Shonibare MBE — Butterfly Kid (boy) II.
Updated 17 September 2017

Saudi curators to bring communities together through art

JEDDAH: Contemporary Collective, a group of Saudi curators which aims to bring communities together through art, will present its first exhibition “We Are Not Alone” from Oct. 17 till Nov. 16, 2017, at ATHR gallery, Jeddah.
The curators have selected works from the British Council’s art collection that they feel will help viewers lift their thoughts away from their daily lives and think differently about how they approach the unknown. They especially want to engage audiences of all ages in the Kingdom to share the message that creativity can help them overcome their fears and anxieties.
The formation of Contemporary Collective follows the successful implementation of the British Council’s latest arts management program in Saudi Arabia. The program was launched in alignment with Vision 2030’s art and entertainment mission to leverage the arts to contribute to a prosperous economy and help individuals express themselves.
Following an open call for applications, the British Council selected Reem Al-Jalhami, Dalia Fatani, Raneen Bukhari, Maryam Bilal, Solafa Rawas and Thahab Al-Osaimi as the collective’s founding members. In addition to the above fundamentals, the successful participants attended the British Council’s two-week International Museums Academy course at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, explored the British Council’s British Art Collection, and visited key art spaces across the UK and the UAE to learn skills and build useful international networks.
The exhibition will feature works of contemporary art from the British Council collection by some of the UK’s most prominent artists: Anish Kapoor, Ryan Gander, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Rachel Whiteread, and Damien Hirst, all of which are being exhibited in Saudi Arabia for the first time.
Al-Jalhami, a member of the collective who works at the National Museum in Riyadh, said: “We hope that people leave the exhibition inspired to have meaningful conversations about how they can help each other and use art as a medium to express themselves in the future.”
Commenting on the exhibition, Maya El-Khalil, former director at ATHR, said: “What’s extraordinary about art is its subjectivity. It is expected and accepted that viewers often have divergent understanding and appreciation of particular works of art. ATHR is proud to celebrate in this exhibition where a group of young female curators from Saudi Arabia immersed themselves in the work of some of the best contemporary British artists from the British Council Art Collection, a collection of over 8,500 works.”
Amir Ramzan, country director of the British Council in Saudi Arabia, said: “There is a clear wealth of talent and opportunity in Saudi Arabia for the visual arts industry. Just look at the talent and creativity these six Saudi women have demonstrated in curating this exhibition, and their passion for engaging the next generation in Saudi with the arts. It’s our hope that initiatives like this support Saudi youth on their journey to developing a dynamic, resilient creative economy and we look forward to their next project.”

VIDEO: Saudi mountaineer Mona Shahab on the charitable cause that helped drive her to the summit of Everest

Updated 44 min 25 sec ago

VIDEO: Saudi mountaineer Mona Shahab on the charitable cause that helped drive her to the summit of Everest

  • Shahab vows to continue her close friend's charitable work helping underprivileged children in Egypt

JEDDAH: A Saudi mountaineer who climbed Mount Everest this year has described how her commitment to her late friend’s charity helped drive her to the top of the world’s highest mountain.



Mona Shahab reached the highest point of the world on May 23 as part of a team of Arab women.

In an emotional video published this week, the mountaineer breaks down as she describes how her close friend and fellow mountaineer Marwa Fayed died in 2013 after complications during childbirth.

Shahab vowed to continue Fayed’s charitable work helping underprivileged children in Egypt, and used her Everest ascent to raise money for the cause.

“I’m doing it to help Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run give 300 children in underprivileged areas in Egypt a chance to be change agents in their communities,” Shahab says in the video posted by filmmaker and mountaineer Elia Saikaly, who documented their ascent.

In an interview with Arab News days before her successful ascent, Shahab spoke about how she hoped her ascent would inspire Saudi women.

“Saudi women can, Saudi women will, reach whatever heights they set their mind and heart to,” she said.

To help Shahab reach her fundraising goal, go to