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

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.”

Winners of prestigious photography award announced at Riyadh forum

Colors of Arabia held an event to honor artists in Riyadh. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 14 December 2018

Winners of prestigious photography award announced at Riyadh forum

  • Colors of Arabia forum held under the patronage of SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman

RIYADH; The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has announced the winners of the Prince Sultan Bin Salman Photography Award in four categories.
Winners of the prestigious award, which was launched to recognize budding talent and efforts to highlight the Kingdom’s heritage, received SR300,000 each and shields at a ceremony held at the Colors of Arabia forum under the patronage of Prince Sultan bin Salman, SCTH president.
The forum, which is being held at Riyadh’s International Convention and Exhibition Center, spans 15,000 square meters and is expected to have attracted 30,000 visitors by the time it ends on Sunday.
The award for the “pioneers” category, which recognizes the work of Saudis who have successfully contributed to the development of local artists, was won by a photographer in Hafr Al-Batin who began capturing day-to-day life in the Eastern Province city at only 12 years of age. The work of Jarallah Al-Hamad is now used in government brochures.
The award in the “literature and publications” category, which was open to contenders of any nationality both within and outside the Kingdom, recognizes photographers who have captured shots for publications and the film industry. Amin Al-Qusayran, a photographer and graphic designer from Madinah who began pursuing his passion 15 years ago, had previously won two awards in recognition of his work. Al-Qusayran is also author of a pictorial book shedding light on the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
The “civilized heritage” category, meanwhile, was open to photographers from around the globe seeking to preserve world heritage through the power of image.
The award for this category was jointly won by two photographers of Arab descent. Mohamed Bouhsen, from Bahrain, had left university to document national heritage in his country and the Arabian Peninsula at large. He won the award alongside Jalal Al-Masri, an Egyptian photographer who has taken part in 133 local, Arab and international exhibitions.
The STCH also announced the winners of the photo and short film awards in seven categories.
Mazen Flamban, who won the award in the “cultural heritage” category, expressed his surprise and joy at having had his work recognized.
“My ambition is to revive Hijazi heritage through my lens,” Flamban told Arab News. “This was the first year I joined the competition. My photo depicts an old woman who lives alone as she reminisces over old photos.”