Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qatt Al-Asiri added to the UNESCO list

Modern Qatt is now practiced by using synthetic paint and bristles. (UNESCO photo)
Updated 08 December 2017
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Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qatt Al-Asiri added to the UNESCO list

JEDDAH: Al-Qatt Al-Asiri was on Wednesday added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Al-Qatt Al-Asiri is an art form deeply rooted within the identity of the southern region in the Kingdom, and practiced exclusively by women. It can be seen decorating the interior walls of guest rooms in Asiri homes.
Women draw geometric shapes and tribal symbols and paint them in vibrant colors to make their guests feel welcome. During the creative process, female relatives design masterpieces on the walls, bringing about a sense of solidarity between them.
The Saudi Heritage Preservation Society (SHPS), along with the Kingdom’s permanent UNESCO delegation, were participating in the 12th session of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage on Jeju Island, South Korea, when the news broke.
“We filed Al-Qatt with UNESCO back in 2016 and we continued to strive to provide further information regarding its intricacies until it was inscribed during today’s session,” Rihaf Qasas, SHPS project manager, told Arab News.
“I wouldn’t describe it as a struggle; we just had to collect enough data and fill in the gaps, and we did it.
“This is so important because it keeps this traditional art that’s existed for ages from being buried. It ensures this culture is documented for generations to come, and it acquaints the world with the magnitude of the Kingdom’s heritage,” Qasas added.
On their future endeavors with UNESCO, Qasas said the SHPS could only register one file every two years. The Janadriyah festival will be registered next year, and the Kiswat Al-Ka’aba (the Holy Mosque’s cloth) in 2020.
The most distinguished practitioner of Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, Fatima Abou Gahas, dedicated her life to sustaining and teaching the art until her death in 2010.
 


Program launched to empower young Saudis

Saudi men attend a technical education evening class at an electrical workshop as part of a pioneering programme for extending skills in Riyadh, in this file photo taken on May 2, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Program launched to empower young Saudis

  • Saudi nationals will be trained by the company to work at one of its specialized facilities and deliver Alfanar products to its customers
  • The pioneering program goes hand-in-hand with the ministerial decision to nationalize the sales in 12 economic sectors

RIYADH: A pioneering program to train Saudis to work in the electrical sector so that they can eventually replace expat workers has been launched by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
The ministry launched the program in cooperation with Alfanar group in Riyadh as part of its effort to empower young Saudis by providing them with more private sector job openings.
According to the agreement, Saudi nationals will be trained by the company to work at one of its specialized facilities and deliver Alfanar products to its customers.
As well as offering job opportunities, the program has been designed to help the company overcome the lack of qualified candidates through designing specialized training programs. The pioneering program goes hand-in-hand with the ministerial decision to nationalize the sales in 12 economic sectors.
“The partnership between the Ministry of Labor and Alfanar is an example for other large companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Kingdom,” Abdul Salam Al-Tuwaijri, director for nationalization of the commercial sector, said on Monday.
Making a strong pitch on the nationalization of this sector, Al-Tuwaijri stressed the importance of this sector to help replace expatriate workers with Saudi men and women.