Misk Art Institute expands in region

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Ahmed Mater, head of Misk Art Institute.
Updated 18 November 2017

Misk Art Institute expands in region

RIYADH: The Misk Art Institute has announced the launch of a regional cultural program to promote art in the Middle East.
The Misk Art Institute is a new cultural organization established by the Misk Foundation led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The institute, which has permanent locations in Riyadh and Abha in the southwestern region of the Kingdom, is headed by leading Saudi artist Ahmed Mater, who aims to establish Saudi Arabia as a leading platform for grassroots cultural creativity, diplomacy and international exchanges.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum, Mater said that the 2018 regional program will encompass public art commissions, exhibitions, art book fairs, school curriculum projects, artists’ competitions and cultural festivals, including the launch of a national public art prize to be implemented in cities across Saudi Arabia.
“Art is the universal language people used to communicate. The Misk Art Institute is shining light on great young Saudi talents,” Mater told Arab News.
He said the institute plans to hold a festival of Saudi art exhibitions and events in Riyadh, followed by an artist-led program of workshops and curriculum resources for Saudi schools.
Other programs will organize a competition for young Saudi artists to win the trip of a lifetime to Silicon Valley, and to hold the first Art Book Fair during Jeddah Art Week in February next year.
Meanwhile, on the final day of the forum, Saudi Arabia’s creative industries received a game-changing boost on Thursday following the signing of three agreements with leading Japanese games development companies and animation studios to train youths and develop Saudi-created content.
The Misk Foundation and its subsidiary, Manga Productions, signed agreements with Square Enix, Shin Nippon Koki (SNK) and Toei Animation Studios at the MiSK Global Forum.
A memorandum of understanding was signed with Square Enix Group, one of the most respected and successful video game developers in the world today. Creators of the Final Fantasy series, Square Enix was an early pioneer of online gaming and 26 of its titles were included in Famitsu magazine’s “Top 100 Games Ever.”
Square Enix will provide training and mentorship to young Saudi games developers through the Misk Foundation, empowering them to introduce more Saudi-created content to the world stage.
In addition, Manga Productions, a Riyadh-based games development, animation and creative studio, affiliated with MiSK Foundation, signed a new agreement with Toei Animation Studios to jointly produce a number of anime movies and television serials to be shown in both Japan and Saudi Arabia.
Toei is a storied pillar of Japanese animation responsible for the first color anime feature film in 1958, and the pioneer of a number of now well-established animation techniques.
The two companies have already collaborated on an all-ages television adaptation of the Saudi folk tale, “The Woodcutter and the Treasure,” which will be broadcast in both countries.
The collaboration will enable young both countries to share and appreciate each other’s culture, bring Saudi folklore to Japan and anime techniques to the Kingdom.

‘I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi Arabia for years’: Akon tells Asharqiah crowd

Updated 23 March 2019

‘I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi Arabia for years’: Akon tells Asharqiah crowd

  • “First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed to Makkah to perform Umrah” Akon said 
  • He entertained the crowd with some of his most popular hits at the Asharqiah Music Festival

DAMMAM: American rapper Akon captivated a packed crowd at the Asharqiah Music Festival on Friday, opening up the second night of musical festivities at Sharqiah Season with a special shout-out to Saudi Arabia.

“You have no idea, I’ve been waiting to get to Saudi for years, man,” Akon said, before launching into his song, “Gunshot.” Later, he told the crowd: “I’m seeing a tremendous change in Saudi Arabia here tonight."

At 8 p.m., under a bright moon on a beautifully cool night, Akon began his set, delighting fans who had spent over 10 minutes chanting his name in anticipation of his arrival.

He entertained the crowd with some of his most popular hits, including “Smack That,” “Mr. Lonely” and “Sorry: Blame It On Me.” And he wrapped things up with “I love you, Saudi... thank you for making me feel at home."

Backstage before the concert, Akon told Arab News how excited he was to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time. He was especially excited to visit one Saudi city in particular.

“First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed to Makkah to perform Umrah.”