Indonesia celebrates unity in diversity at Janadriyah Saudi cultural festival

Artists perform at the Indonesian pavilion at Janadriyah festival. (AN Photo)
Updated 19 February 2018
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Indonesia celebrates unity in diversity at Janadriyah Saudi cultural festival

RIYADH: Indonesia, the Southeast Asian nation made up of thousands of islands and home to hundreds of ethnic groups speaking different languages, is representing Asia at the Janadriyah festival this year.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry invited the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh to participate in the Janadriyah festival, Arab News learned on Monday.
“This is as a follow-up to the memorandum of understanding signed to bolster cultural affairs between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia that was inked during the historic visit of King Salman to Indonesia in March 2017,” said Sunan J. Rustam, information officer at the embassy.
Acknowledging the honor, Indonesian Ambassador Agus Maftuh Abegebriel said: “The partnership between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia is moving in the right direction. There are many untapped opportunities in cultural cooperation between the two brotherly countries.”
He also said that Indonesia and Saudi Arabia were key countries in the Muslim world, and with the fresh change of open policy in the Kingdom, cultural cooperation could be synergized to promote peaceful, open and moderate Islam to the world.
Notably, this is Indonesia’s first participation in Janadriyah, the national heritage and culture festival named after the village on the northern outskirts of Riyadh, where it has been organized since its inception in 1985.
Indonesia, represented by its embassy in Riyadh, is showcasing its diverse culture and heritage including traditional dances and signature dishes of the country.
Unity in diversity takes center stage in Indonesia’s participation at the festival, sharing primarily the experience of how Islam and democracy can coexist peacefully in a diverse nation, said the embassy official.
The Indonesian pavilion also highlights tourism on the largest archipelago in the world including packages of halal tourism from Lombok and Sumatra and brochures on Indonesian international products.
Lombok, also known as the island of 1,000 mosques, has been recognized as the world’s best halal tourism and honeymoon destination at a recent event held in Abu Dhabi.
Besides Indonesia, other countries representing various continents include Brazil, Algeria, Ukraine, and Ethiopia.
India is the guest of honor country this year. The annual heritage festival, which runs for 18 days, will conclude on Feb. 24.


Cirque du Soleil prepares ground-breaking show in King Fahd Stadium

Updated 14 min 39 sec ago
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Cirque du Soleil prepares ground-breaking show in King Fahd Stadium

Arab News JEDDAH: A joint press conference between the MBC Group, the General Entertainment Authority, and Cirque du Soleil was held at King Fahd Stadium on Thursday afternoon to answer media questions and give some details about Cirque du Soleil’s upcoming special performance, part of Saudi Arabia’s 88th National Day celebrations. The show is slated to be one of the biggest performed by the Cirque and their first in Saudi Arabia. It is a one-night-only, exclusive event, designed especially for this occasion.
Daniel Fortin, vice president of Creation at Cirque du Soleil, teased the audience with a few details of the upcoming show. “With a cast and crew of over 300, this is one of the biggest shows we’ve ever done,” he said.
“Without giving too much of the plot away, the story is centered around the sun, and takes place from sunset to sunrise. Everything from the costumes to the stage props was created as a homage to Saudi culture. You’ll see a lot of Bedouin influences in the staging and in the music. We drew inspiration from a variety of sources, such as traditional Bedouin tents, desert scenery, even the stadium itself.”
The show has been in development for six months, and the cast and crew have been preparing for the show at the King Fahd International Stadium since the beginning of August.
The show will contain new technology, and 16 unprecedented acrobatic acts. However, Fortin refused to share too many details. “You’ll just have to see what we have planned at the show.” He said. “But I think you will be impressed. We’re doing things we’ve never done before.”
Tickets to the show sold out in less than 48 hours after their release; an incredible feat as the show has allocated more than 27,000 seats for the performance. Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, spokesperson for the General Entertainment Authority, was pleased— but not entirely surprised— by the public’s reaction to news of the show. “We felt that variety in the types of events we brought to Saudi Arabia was important,” he said, “and we conducted a number of research workshops to determine what sort of events would be well-received by the public. Cirque du Soleil was mentioned frequently in our research, so we’re very happy to have had the opportunity to bring them here.”
MBC head of events Omar Al Radi also expects a big response to the televising of the show, which he estimates will break records. “We’re broadcasting the show live on both our local and international channels, such as those in Europe and in America.” he said.
“We’re expecting over 200 million views. Probably record-breaking numbers. MBC is proud to have been part of bringing this historic event to Saudi Arabia, and we can’t wait for you to see it.”