Interior Ministry stresses women’s right to drive without obstacles

Updated 23 November 2017
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Interior Ministry stresses women’s right to drive without obstacles

JEDDAH: Women have the right to drive without facing any obstacles, and traffic regulations will be applied to both genders, said Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki.
Female residents and citizens who want to familiarize themselves with traffic regulations can do so by reading the Traffic Law, he added.
The speed limit might increase on some roads to 140 km per hour, so “it is crucial to follow speed signs,” he said.
The director general of the traffic department, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Bassami, said the amount that people are fined for violations is being reconsidered.
A new strategy will be ready in a few months that will include developing the performance of traffic personnel and relying on technology, he added.
The traffic department is also developing a list of driving schools and monitoring them, as well as new regulations promoting public safety, Al-Bassami said.
Mobile radar will be used to monitor violating cars, drivers using their phones and those not wearing seatbelts, he added.
A traffic-violation points system will be applied in the Kingdom, as will a system of withdrawing driving licenses.
According to a royal decree, women will be allowed to drive as of June 24, 2018, Al-Bassami said.
“We are holding meetings to organize and prepare driving schools to receive female trainees,” he added.
Maj. Gen. Bassam Al-Attiyah of the Interior Ministry said there is an accident every minute, a death every 20 minutes and four injuries per hour, and 70 percent of accidents occur outside cities.
A royal decree was issued in September allowing women to drive in the Kingdom. It ordered the formation of a ministerial body to give advice on the practicalities of the edict within 30 days and to ensure the full implementation of the order by June 2018.
The prohibition of driving is considered a social issue in the Kingdom, as there is no actual law or religious edict that prohibits it.


First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

Updated 54 min 24 sec ago
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First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

  • The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah
  • Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetched SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction

JEDDAH: Art for Al Balad, the first charity auction of contemporary art in the Kingdom, achieved sales of SR 4.8 million ($1.3 million) on Wednesday.

The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, all of which sold, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah, on Wednesday. It was organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with auction house Christie’s.

“It was much above our expectations; we are very happy,” said Michael Jeha, chairman of Christie's Middle East.

About 200 Saudi art collectors joined artists and other members of the Saudi and international cultural communities at the event. Bidding was highly competitive, with “Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetching SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Nassif House was built in 1872. Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, was received at this house upon his entry to the city in 1925.

• The Saudi government is keen to restore and preserve buildings with historic and cultural significance, and carries out regular renovation work.

• Al-Balad, or Jeddah historic district, is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kingdom. It contains about 600 buildings that date back to the 19th century.

 

“Where to” by Prince Badr bin Abdulmohsen was the second-most expensive work, selling for SR 500,000, while “Witness in the Desert” by Abdullah Al-Sahikh attracted a winning bid of SR 380,000.

“It was extremely pleasing, very encouraging,” said Jeha. “The energy in the room was fantastic. The enthusiasm was very strong. I think for the very first auction, we can all be extremely pleased.”

Jeha described the growth of the art scene and culture in general in Saudi Arabia as very impressive, and said that the Ministry of Culture has developed a strong platform and program for the coming years, which will help to establish art and culture in the hearts and minds of people in the Kingdom.

The profits from the auction will help to establish a new heritage museum in Jeddah’s historic district and support The Help Center, a non-profit organization that provides customized support to children in the city with special educational needs.

The auction received donations and funding from galleries, cultural foundations, private collectors, and artists across the Arab World, the assistance of which was acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture.

“This would not be possible without the generous support of both the donors and the talented artists,” said Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, deputy minister of culture, in his opening speech.

The ministry aspires to create and develop a cultural environment in which artists and other creatives can access a platform that celebrates a shared identity and builds understanding between people.

Speaking of the Ministry’s three main objectives in its cultural vision for 2019, Fayez said that it aims to support the nation’s cultural transformation by promoting culture as a way of life, enable the sector to contribute to the economy, and encourage international cultural exchanges.

Before the auction, the works on sale were on display to the public in an exhibition on June 23 and 24.