How to support Saudi designers — wear their art on your sleeve

Spark is a design platform and online marketplace that allows artists to have their creations printed on everything from T-shirts and hoodies to bags and cushions.
Updated 19 February 2018
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How to support Saudi designers — wear their art on your sleeve

JEDDAH: Some art hangs on your wall. Some art sits on a plinth. Saudi entrepreneur Baha’a Gazzaz had a better idea — art you can wear.
The result of his brainwave is Spark, a design platform and online marketplace that allows artists to have their creations printed on everything from T-shirts and hoodies to bags and cushions, and then sold to fashion-conscious customers who value something just a little bit different.
“I was inspired in 2012 when I was at a life and style exhibition, I walked in and all I found was products made straight from designers,” Gazzaz, 34, told Arab News.
“I went to Hong Kong and did some research on design-related exhibitions and selling creative products, then I came home to Saudi Arabia and started to contact companies to market the products.
“But then I thought, I need to be more professional, so I built my own website. What I wanted was to bring these creative arts to Saudi Arabia by building a store with a diversity of products.”
Spark now has 24,000 items on sale — not to mention 50,000 followers on Instagram. “The majority of our artists are Saudi, including the calligrapher Shaker Kashgari, but we have artists from other GCC countries, Turkey, Sweden, Mexico and the US,” Gazzaz said.
All the products are made in Jeddah, and the Spark delivery team can then send them anywhere in the world.
The benefit to the artists is not only that they’re paid for each item sold, but their work reaches a worldwide audience.
The Spark website contains a biography of each artist, and web links to more of their work. “Artists have their own URL that enables them to share their art with others,” Gazzaz explained. “When we scan an item through our bar-code system and a customer pays for it, the artist is notified immediately.
“Whenever anyone buys a product, 15 percent goes to the artist who designed it. This is how we give credit to designers and bring them value.”


Pitbull and Akon wow crowds at Saudi Arabia’s Asharqiah Music Festival

Updated 22 March 2019
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Pitbull and Akon wow crowds at Saudi Arabia’s Asharqiah Music Festival

  • Earlier on Friday, planes raced over the waters of the Dammam Corniche, thrilling the crowd who had gathered to see the Red Bull Race
  • Although not the actual championship itself, the demonstration did not disappoint, with pilots pulling their aircraft through barrel rolls and high G-force turns along a floating obstacle course

DAMMAM: Week two of Sharqiah Season started with a bang as US rapper Pitbull performed at Dammam’s Life Park as part of the Asharqiah Music Festival on Friday afternoon.
Although his Thursday night concert was canceled, fans were certainly not disappointed when he took the stage at 4 p.m. An energy-filled Pitbull hyped-up the crowd in minutes, and soon enough everyone was singing along to some of his most famous songs, including “Taxi,” “Timber,” “On The Floor” and more.
The rapper even teased a short sample of his newest song, “Cinco de Mayo,” leading the crowd in the opening chant before launching into the song’s intro.
He thanked his fans multiple times for their understanding over the delay of the concert, telling them how happy he was to have made it.
“I want you to be able to tell people, ‘I went to a Pitbull concert, and I had the time of my life, Saudi Arabia!’” he shouted, before launching into a rendition of “Time of Our Lives.”


Fireworks, confetti and a wildly enthusiastic audience made for a memorable experience.
Arab News caught up with Pitbull backstage after the show. When asked if he had something to say to his fans, he replied: “To everyone in Saudi I wanna say thank you for the love, I appreciate the opportunity. Great crowd, great energy.”
The performance was hastily rescheduled due to the rapper’s delay in Iceland on his way to Saudi Arabia for the festival.
Due to technical difficulties, his plane was grounded and unable to fly until a spare part was delivered from the US, causing him to miss the initial date.
Pitbull posted an apology video on Twitter, in which he promised fans an unforgettable experience at the rescheduled show. “Make sure you keep your tickets,” he told his fans.
Safa Hukrdoh, from Dammam, said she would have preferred to experience the concert at night, but had no complaints. “I think it was amazing. I have been to other concerts outside (of Saudi Arabia), but this is the first time inside.”
The festivities at Life Park continue today as Akon, French Montana and Amr Diab all take the stage for the second evening of the Asharqiah Music Festival.

It is one of 83 events planned for the Sharqiah Season, the first of 11 Saudi Seasons taking place across the country in 2019.
Earlier on Friday, planes raced over the waters of the Dammam Corniche, thrilling the crowd who had gathered to see the Red Bull Race. Although not the actual championship itself, the demonstration did not disappoint, with pilots pulling their aircraft through barrel rolls and high G-force turns along a floating obstacle course.
“It’s been a nice day for the family,” said Mohammed Saleh Al-Ghamdi, who had come out with his wife, his mother-in-law and his three children. “We come here every weekend, and every weekend there is a new surprise waiting.
“This time it is these air races, which my son, Hussam, found really exciting. We all had our photos taken with the planes and ate hamburgers, and now we are going to have some ice cream before the next plane comes out to perform.”
Sharqiah Season is the first of 11 cultural events organized by the General Entertainment Authority, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, The General Sports Authority and General Culture Authority.
The initiative falls in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program, which aims to improve the quality of life in the Kingdom by providing enriching cultural pursuits and shows. The 83 activities planned for the festival, which is being held in 9 different cities, feature entertainment, educational activities, sports events and culture.
Sharqiah Season continues until March 30, with the weekends ahead also featuring the Formula 1 H20 boat race, as well as concerts in Dammam featuring Deadmau5 among others.