Misk Art Institute, Art Dubai pair up to celebrate contemporary Arab art

Misk Art Institute and Art Dubai set to boost contemporary Arab art scene with new partnership. (Courtesy Art Dubai)
Updated 08 March 2018

Misk Art Institute, Art Dubai pair up to celebrate contemporary Arab art

RIYADH: Misk Art Institute and Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in the region, have begun a partnership to celebrate the flourishing Arab contemporary art scene.
The institute, directed by the celebrated Saudi artist Ahmed Mater, was set up last year.
This is one of the largest partnerships in the region for the institute, which has announced a series of collaborations with high-profile international organizations.
Misk Art Institute, established by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Misk Foundation, will be the main supporter of the fair’s modern section and the symposium, which was added last year.
The partners will organize exhibitions and talks documenting and celebrating the modern and contemporary art of the Arab world, Nada Al-Tuwaijri, Misk spokeswoman said.
The collaboration will include Misk Art Institute’s exclusive partnership of Art Dubai Modern, with a non-selling exhibition exploring significant modern art movements from the region entitled “That Feverish Leap into the Fierceness of Life.” The exhibition will be curated by Dr. Till Fellrath and Dr. Sam Bardaouil.
Elsewhere in the fair, Misk Art Institute will take a look into contemporary movements shaping Saudi Arabia through a limited-edition publication produced in partnership with Saudi Art Guide.
“Reframe Saudi,” a virtual reality film that takes a look inside the working studios of artists in the Kingdom, will be previewed at the fair.
Ahmed Mater commented: “It feels particularly fitting to forge this partnership through the presentation of Art Dubai Modern.
“When considered in the context of wider Arab visual arts narratives, both Misk Art Institute and Art Dubai are relatively young, yet it is through these historical channels that we have come together.
“Though we are newly inaugurated, our focus does not depart from the past. We embrace regional art histories and cultural archives as the substantial and essential foundations of sustainable future growth.
“In many ways, the very existence of our institution is predicated on the strength, understanding and preservation of these cultural narratives, and with them, we can build new, rooted stories for the future.”
Art Dubai Director Myrna Ayad commented: “We are delighted to partner with the MiSK Art Institute, an organization which shares our support for educational initiatives in the arts and culture sector.”
The partnership, and its physical manifestation at Art Dubai, aims to strengthen and celebrate some of the objectives that Misk Art Institute and the fair have in common — education on art from the region, creating a platform for the regional cultural scene, and acting as an ambassador for modern and contemporary art.
Art Dubai, a leading international art fair, is the preeminent place to interact with contemporary art from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
The 12th Art Dubai fair will be held from March 21-24 at Madinat Jumeirah. Art Dubai presents 105 galleries from 48 countries, presenting galleries from new markets rarely seen on the international stage alongside leading galleries from established art centers.

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

Updated 24 June 2018

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

  • They start their engines and hit the roads throughout the Kingdom
  • End of driving ban is crowning achievement so far of Saudi Vision 2030

Women throughout Saudi Arabia waited for the stroke of midnight, turned the keys in the ignition, fired up their engines — and hit the road to a bright new future.

It was the moment they had waited for since King Salman issued the royal decree on September 26, 2017, to lift the driving ban on women. 

Just after midnight on Saturday and in the first minutes of Sunday, Samah Algosaibi grabbed the keys to her family’s 1959 Corvette C1 and drove out of the driveway of her beach house in Khobar.
“We are witnessing history in the making as we look toward the dawn of a promising future,” said Algosaibi, the first female board member of Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros.

“As a businesswoman in Saudi Arabia, I am grateful for the women’s empowerment movement taking place. Today, I am honored to be sitting behind the wheel of change.”

Another woman to hit the road after midnight was Lina Almaeena, a member of the Saudi Shoura Council. “It feels very liberating,” she said about driving her mother’s Lexus.
Almaeena, also the co-founder and director of Jeddah United Sports Co, had exchanged her UAE license for a Saudi one. 

“I am thrilled!” Sarah Alwassia, 35, a nutritionist in Jeddah, told Arab News. “I learnt how to drive 18 years ago in the States where I got my driving license. I can’t believe that the day to drive in my own home town has come.”

Alwassia obtained her first American license when she was 18 years old in 2000, and had it exchanged for a Saudi license on June 6 in Jeddah. She explained that she is a mother, and this change provided comfort for her and her family. It also comes with various benefits, such as taking quick action in emergencies, and economic benefits such as saving money instead of paying for a driver when she needs to run errands. 

“I will be driving my kids to school and picking them up in comfort and privacy,” she said.

Women in the Kingdom commented on how this event is changing the course of their lives. “Independence is a huge thing for me,” Alwassia said. “Driving is one small part of it. I am very optimistic of the change that our loving country has made.”  

Alwassia applauds the efforts the country has made to support women. “I am confident that driving in the beginning will be pleasant, since our country has made all of the effort to support women and to protect them.
“I think our society was looking forward for this change, and I am sure the majority will adapt fast.

“I feel safe, our country did everything to make this transition pleasant and safe for every woman behind the wheel. I am really thankful to witness this historic moment and I am so happy for all the women in Saudi Arabia, especially my daughters.”
Sahar Nasief, 64, a retired lecturer from the European languages and Literature Department at King Abdulaziz University, said: “Nothing could describe my feelings. I can't wait to get on the road.”
Nasief received a very special gift from Ford for this occasion.

“They gave me a 2018 Expedition to drive for three days, a Mustang California Special,” she told Arab News.

Nasief obtained her Saudi license on June 7. She also holds a British license and two American licenses. “Now, I have my national license too,” she said. 

She also said the lifting of the ban provided a sense of relief. “I feel that I can practice one of my rights, and I don't have to live at the mercy of my driver any more.”
Society has been demanding such a change for years, “as it will take the physical and economic burden off most men.”
Pointing to the anti-harassment law, Nasief said: “I feel very confident especially after announcing the strict harassment law.”
Joumana Mattar, 36, a Jordanian interior designer, exchanged her Jordanian driver’s license and obtained a Saudi one on June 11. 

“I had my Jordanian license since I was 18 years old, and the moment I heard about the opening of exchanging foreign licenses, I immediately booked an appointment,” she said.
Mattar said she looks forward to the change in so many ways. “I'm finally in control of my time, schedule and privacy.” 

Mattar said she is both confident and anxious about the event. “I'm anxious only for feeling that I'm part of a huge first step for women driving in the Kingdom, but I'm confident also because of the support that I'm getting from my husband and family.
“Every first step is the hardest. Society is facing a huge change, but I'm positive because this change is done and supported by the government and Vision 2030.”

Mattar said she feels secure now. “I'm in control of any case I'm facing.”

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