Jeddah’s Hafez Gallery showcases Arab talent at Art Dubai

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Thuraya Al-Baqsami’s “No to the Invasion” (1990).
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Osama Esid’s “Mona” (2005 – 2007).
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Abdulsattar Al-Mussa’s “Dancing” from the series “Wedding in Al-Refaa” (1986).
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Ahaad Al-Amoudi’s “My Palm, Your Palm, Our Palm” (2017).
Updated 22 March 2018
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Jeddah’s Hafez Gallery showcases Arab talent at Art Dubai

Hafez Gallery is one of the few Saudi Arabia-based galleries featured in the 12th edition of Art Dubai — arguably the region’s most influential art gathering.

Founded in Jeddah in 2014, Hafez Gallery claims to engage “the art community to visually converse and explore Saudi and Middle Eastern modern and contemporary art” and to “nurture the discovery of a Saudi visual identity and participate in the international art dialogue.”

Art Dubai 2018 is split into three main collections: Contemporary; Modern — devoted to masters from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia; and Marker — a curated section of art spaces that focuses each year on a particular theme or geography.

This year, Hafez Gallery is participating in both Art Dubai Modern and Art Dubai Contemporary with a collection of works that includes photography, acrylics, etching and calligraphy.

In Art Dubai Modern, Hafez Gallery will present the work of two Russian-educated GCC artists: Saudi Abdulsattar Al-Mussa’s “Dancing” (from his series “Wedding in Al-Refaa”), and Kuwaiti Thuraya Al-Baqsami’s “No to the Invasion.”

Al-Mussa’s drawings examine daily social scenes, such as cafés and the energy of their employees. He is one of the few professional Saudi artists to have studied complex typography, carving and graphic art.

Al-Baqsami is a singular voice in the region. She does not bow in the face of societal and political pressure. Her exposure to a multitude of cultures shows in the mélange of history, concept and form presented in her work.

In the Contemporary section, Hafez will showcase artworks from several artists, including “My Palm, Your Palm, Our Palm” by multidisciplinary artist Ahaad Al-Amoudi, whose work intersects the past and present of Saudi Arabia. Al-Amoudi is interested in how communities measure and promote heritage through archiving and how different historical narratives weave through families and communities.

Damascus-born artist Osama Esid’s photography explores personal identity — he has lived in both the US and Egypt. Hafez will show Esid’s “Mona” at Art Dubai, as well as work from other regional artists including Nora Al-Issa, Filwa Nazer, Abdulrahman Al-Shahed and Ibrahim El-Dessouki.

Qaswara Hafez, founder of Hafez Gallery, spoke to Arab News about its participation in Art Dubai.

“Dubai has become a hub for museum directors, curators, and art-world professionals from all over the world,” he said. “Art Dubai commands the respect of the global art community and elicits the participation of galleries and artists from around the world. It is integral to the local art community, representing the state of the region’s art to define where our culture stands at the moment.”

He continued, “We focus on works that reflect the Middle East and discuss its rich culture and diverse standpoints. We don’t select art in isolation — I have to be able to establish a human connection with the artists before anything, after that comes our belief in their projects and the social contribution of their artworks.”


Saudi Movie ‘Joud’ to screen at Ithra during National Day celebrations

The film’s producer, and program director of the center, Abdullah Al-Ayaf, said that “Joud” sets a cinematic precedent for the Kingdom. (Social media)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Saudi Movie ‘Joud’ to screen at Ithra during National Day celebrations

  • Scenes filmed in various parts of the Kingdom are accompanied by a lively musical soundtrack, taking viewers on a journey of discovery of the Saudi lifestyle.

JEDDAH: The Saudi film “Joud,” produced by the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), which is now screening in local and international cinemas in the Kingdom, will also be shown at Ithra’s own cinema from September 20 to 23, 2018, as part of the center’s National Day events.

The film, which dispenses with dialogue to make it more accessible to a global audience, features visuals inspired by classical Arabic poems that reflect the natural heritage and diversity of Saudi Arabia, the discovery of oil and the resultant social change. Scenes filmed in various parts of the Kingdom are accompanied by a lively musical soundtrack, taking viewers on a journey of discovery of the Saudi lifestyle.

The film’s producer, and program director of the center, Abdullah Al-Ayaf, said that “Joud” sets a cinematic precedent for the Kingdom, “and we believe that its uniqueness opens the door to discovering more stories preserved in the hearts of our people and our land.”

He added that Ithra was keen for Saudi filmmakers to work alongside an international crew during production of the film. For example, assistant director Osama Al-Kharji directed scenes set in Makkah, with director of photography Abdullah Al-Shuraidah and cameraman Fahad al-Dajani, while Hussam Al-Hilweh helped to write the script. Composer Diaa Azouni contributed to the soundtrack, and co-director Osamah Saleh was responsible for behind-the-scenes photography for almost a year.

Andrew Lancaster, the film’s director, said that “Joud” “shows how music and natural landscape play a big role in communicating the soul of the movie.” He added that it "talks about a deep experience through culture, music and natural landscape. It was a great adventure for me to transfer this to the screen.”

Ithra, in Dhahran, aims to set new standards for excellence in the Saudi film industry, and create innovative projects through its relationships with partners and visitors by stimulating the sustainability of creative and cultural communities. Through its diverse programs, the center helps to develop new ways to foster creativity, supporting and promoting national talent by providing an environment for the production and exchange of knowledge, in a manner that respects diversity and promotes different concepts in science and the arts.