‘Colors of Saudi Arabia’ concludes with over 30,000 visitors

Updated 18 December 2017
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‘Colors of Saudi Arabia’ concludes with over 30,000 visitors

RIYADH: The sixth edition of the Colors of Saudi Arabia Forum concluded on Saturday, December 16.

The event was organized by Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and was held at the Riyadh Center for Exhibitions and Conferences between Dec. 12-16, 2017, with over 30,000 visitors from all walks of life.

The director of the Saudi Colors forum, Bodor Al Sudairi, said that Chairman of SCTH Prince Sultan bin Salman’s interest in this annual forum is to help citizens and residents recognize hidden treasures in the regions of the Kingdom through works presented by young people.

“Images and films do not need translation or texts; however, they are a universal and faster visual message for the recipient.”

Al-Sudairi said that “(Colors of Saudi Arabia) activities are held throughout the year, with special trips for filmmakers from the Kingdom and the Gulf to explore new and diverse areas of the Kingdom, cover events, festivals and archaeological sites. The output of these trips is displayed on the Saudi photo and film library site.”

She added that the Colors of Arabia forum annually visits all regions of the Kingdom in cooperation with the branches of the SCTNH and partners, which show all pictures and films which won in the past years. She announced that the forum will have stops in Gulf States.

The event serves as a competition for photography and films in which both citizens and residents compete. This year’s edition was a distinguished one due to hosting the world-class New York Film Academy, with a specialized course for photography, and a specialized film session was held daily during the event.

The vice president of marketing and programs at the SCTH, Abdullah Al-Morshed, said that the forum succeeded in drawing attention to the capabilities of participants in the field of photography and film production.

“The last five sessions of the forum witnessed 150 workshops, 170,000 visitors, 300 films and displaying of 15,000 pictures. The SCTH-backed New York Film Academy and National Geographic received a lot of attention from specialists and photography enthusiasts.”

Al-Morshed pointed out that the forum establishes a new culture in arts, literature and tourism through the presentation of photographic visions (photographs and films) about the present and future of the Kingdom and how to establish positive mental images of Saudi society.

The Prince Sultan Bin Salman Award for Photography was awarded to the Kingdom’s first photographers, including Mohammed Bin Abdullah, one of the pioneers of photography in the Kingdom. He began filming in 1977 and participated in international competitions.

Saad bin Mohammed Al-Sunaidi also received an award; he was one of the first Saudis to obtain a bachelor’s degree in photography from the Higher Institute of Cinema in Egypt.

The Cultural Heritage Award was presented to Abdul Aziz Al-Dakhil, the founder of the Erth Aerial Photography Team, which documented aspects of the Prophet’s biography, history, nature and cultural sites in the modern state of Saudi Arabia in more than 40 different locations in the Kingdom and with more than 10,000 pictures.


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”