Saudi photographer Ashraf Faden to exhibit in American cities during crown prince’s tour

Ashraf Faden enjoys shooting landscapes, street photography, nature, portraits and headshots. He says that he simply loves capturing memorable moments and cannot let go of his camera.
Updated 28 March 2018
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Saudi photographer Ashraf Faden to exhibit in American cities during crown prince’s tour

JEDDAH: An eye for beauty and a passion for photography has made Ashraf Faden one of the most talented Saudis based in Washington, DC.
He has covered events for UNICEF USA and had his photographs published on the website of the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the US, the NBC and ABC networks’ social media. Faden’s most recent photos were also published in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper and on the Saudi Misk Art Institute website.
Faden enjoys shooting landscapes, street photography, nature, portraits and headshots. He says that he simply loves capturing memorable moments and cannot let go of his camera.
“I bought my first camera in 2004 and I have been carrying it almost everywhere with me,” Faden told Arab News.
He said the landscape in Virginia lends itself to many different photographic possibilities: Urban living and cityscapes, areas of historical interest or natural beauty.
Also living close to the District of Columbia, he enjoys the four seasons in all their glory. “There is something for every photographer and a bit more in Virginia,” he said.
He is happy about the rising number of talented Saudi photographers portraying the Kingdom through their work. “Photography is allowing the world to see our rich history and our breathtaking modern-day beauty,” Faden said.
“Because of social media, a challenge that Saudis faced in the past has been solved. The barrier created by distance is no longer applicable. People can post one picture in one particular part of the world and in seconds it can reach the entire globe.”
To him, getting support has been key to nurturing Saudi talent at home and abroad. “What is amazing is the effort of the Saudi government in trying to reach out to the world,” Faden said.
Despite enjoying Virginia, Faden has not forgotten the power of the Saudi landscape. “The surreal beauty of the unique architecture and culture in Saudi Arabia catches the eyes of millions of people around the world. The symmetry and richness of Arabesque patterns used to decorate walls, the sight of millions of people praying in one place, such as in the two holy mosques, usually has people staring in awe as they comprehend the details in such imagery,” he said.
Faden’s exposure to audiences in the US and beyond has been increased by exhibitions in US cities, which have been made possible by the Misk Art Institute in conjunction with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the US, including one show at the Kennedy Center on March 21.
“It was a thrilling educational experience for those who attended as they learned about Saudi Arabia through art pieces,” Faden said.


Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience. (SPA)
Updated 20 January 2019
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Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

  • Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry.
There are 399,479 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 277,372 in Makkah and 122,107 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 2,288,789 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 257,266 entered by land and 15,486 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (681,392) followed by Indonesia (447,450), India (306,470), Yemen (146,067), Malaysia (142,290), Algeria (92,752), Turkey (86,925), Egypt (85,438), Bangladesh (53,131) and the UAE (62,927).
The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 9,983 Saudis including 8,259 males and 1,724 females.
Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.