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.
 


FaceOf: Princess Lamia bint Majid, secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropies

Princess Lamia bint Majid
Updated 18 November 2018
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FaceOf: Princess Lamia bint Majid, secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropies

  • She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations, marketing and advertising from Misr International University in Cairo, Egypt
  • In 2017, she was awarded the prestigious Arab Women’s Award for her compassion and charitable efforts

Saudi Princess Lamia bint Majid has been secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropies since April 2016, and is a member of its board of trustees.

The Riyadh-based charitable foundation supports and initiates projects worldwide to empower women and the youth, develop communities, provide disaster relief and create cultural understanding through education. It has donated $4 billion to humanitarian causes in more than 60 countries.

Before becoming secretary-general, Princess Lamia was executive manager of media and communication at Alwaleed Philanthropies between 2014 and 2016. 

She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations, marketing and advertising from Misr International University in Cairo, Egypt.

In 2003, the princess founded Sada Al-Arab, a publishing company operating from Cairo, Beirut and Dubai. 

She also co-founded Media Codes Ltd. in Egypt, and the Fortune Media Group in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. 

She was editor in chief of Rotana magazine between 2004 and 2006, and of Mada magazine between 2002 and 2008. 

In 2017, she was awarded the prestigious Arab Women’s Award for her compassion and charitable efforts. 

“Our aim is to ensure gender equity,” the princess said during her speech at the first World Tolerance Summit in Dubai. It is “a message of tolerance when you highlight the strength of women,” she added.

Princess Lamia highlighted the need to bridge gaps between Islam and the West, and the lack of research into the “gaps or shortcomings” that prevent more tolerance in society.