In London, a contemporary art exhibition is giving voice to a ‘new generation’ of Saudi talent

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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (AN Photo)
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A traditional Saudi music band performing at the opening of the show. (AN Photo)
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The event runs from March 7-9 from 10am to 6pm in the Phillips building in Berkeley Square, London. (AN Photo)
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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (AN Photo)
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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (AN Photo)
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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (AN Photo)
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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (AN Photo)
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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)
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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)
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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)
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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)
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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)
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The program features art exhibitions, film screenings and music performances. (Ziyad Alarfaj/Arab News)
Updated 08 March 2018
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In London, a contemporary art exhibition is giving voice to a ‘new generation’ of Saudi talent

LONDON: A new generation of creative talent transforming Saudi Arabia’s art scene unveiled its work in London yesterday.
Short films and photography by some of the Kingdom’s most promising artists went on display at a major new exhibition in Berkeley Square, in Mayfair, which runs until March 9.
One of the event’s organizers, Ahmed Al-Maziad, hailed the exhibition as the “beginning of an international era” for Saudi creativity. “There is so much talent that hasn’t been shown,” he said.
Some of the biggest names in contemporary Saudi art are represented through exhibits on two floors of the Phillips gallery and salerooms. Their works are featured alongside traditional pieces that convey the breadth of creativity in the Kingdom.
“What better way to give people a true sense of the real Saudi Arabia than through its artists?” said Raneem Z. Farsi, one of the exhibition curators. Speaking to Arab News, she said the display is one of the first in a series to promote Saudi culture in Europe.

 “People are looking at our contemporary arts scene like it’s a new trend, but we have a deep-rooted culture of creativity, and art is a very important part of that. 
 “We have so much talent, so much to offer, and this is just the beginning.”
The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until March 9, is organized by Saudi Arabia’s General Culture Authority (GCA) in cooperation with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation. 
 A large section of the exhibition is given over to examples of Alqatt Alasiri art, one of Saudi Arabia’s most distinctive handicrafts. Used by the women of the southern Assir region to decorate the walls of their homes, this historical art form, which dates back several hundred years, was added to the UNESCO list for intangible cultural heritage in 2017.
 Ali Moghani, whose wife runs a small Alqatt Alasiri museum in their hometown of Rijal Almaa, said: “We have been working for 20 years to show the world this kind of art and now, with the GCA’s support, we hope it will become a school of art in its own right.”
 The exhibition’s three-day program features music performances by Saudi bands in a variety of genres, as well as film screenings that include the award-winning Saudi movie “The Bliss of Being No One” as well as “A Colorful Life,” a documentary produced by the GCA exploring female empowerment, which will be shown on March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day. 
 With new tourist visas opening the Kingdom up to visitors, the exhibition also offers insights into some of the country’s most extraordinary attractions via virtual reality tours of famous Saudi sites, including Makkah, Mada’in Saleh and the historic village of Al Diri’yah.
 Other highlights include a photo exhibition chronicling a visit to Saudi Arabia in 1938 by Princess Alice, the youngest granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the first member of the British royal family to visit the Kingdom.


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 55 min 48 sec ago
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.