Showcasing Saudi culture, ‘Mobheron’ art expo makes waves in Khobar

The exhibition embraces a number of art styles, including realism, modernism and abstract art. (Farah AlSharif)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Showcasing Saudi culture, ‘Mobheron’ art expo makes waves in Khobar

  • The word “Mobheron” is Arabic for “sailor” — and the Qatif artists and friends say the “Mobheron 2” exhibition at Desert Designs gallery in Alkhobar city is part of their dream to “sail the world of art.”
  • The exhibition embraces a number of art styles, including realism, modernism and abstract art, with a variety of materials on display

ALKHOBAR: Four Saudi artists have set sail across the Kingdom with a traveling art exhibition that portrays the country’s magic in a range of artistic styles.

The word “Mobheron” is Arabic for “sailor” — and the Qatif artists and friends say the “Mobheron 2” exhibition at Desert Designs gallery in Alkhobar city is part of their dream to “sail the world of art.”

Muneer Al-Hajji, one of the artists, said: “Each of us presents a unique kind of art. We have about 30 pieces that are affordable, and easy for interested buyers and art tasters to acquire.

“The art pieces in the ‘Mobheron 1’ exhibition last year were completely different than the art pieces in ‘Mobheron 2’ exhibition this year.”

The exhibition embraces a number of art styles, including realism, modernism and abstract art, with a variety of materials on display.

Some art pieces portray regions of the Kingdom and their heritage through different colors, materials and motifs.

“I started with realism art by drawing horses and then slowly moved to abstract,” said another artist, Fadhel Abushoumi.

“I mostly use black and white with certain techniques where I can mix the constant, which represents Saudi tradition, with the variables that represent the continuous progression of the land.” 

Hussain Al-Musawif, an art teacher and the sailor in the group, explained his motivation: “My work usually focuses on the sea environment because I am a sailor and obsessed with the sea. This gives me a broad dimension to work with, even with the choice of materials used.”

A third member of the group, Abbas Al-Roqaia, said: “The Kingdom is making great moves in culture and art. That it is for the advantage of all artists.

“Such steps can contribute highly to reinforcing unity in the Kingdom, showing that opportunity is for everyone and the Kingdom is for all Saudis.”


SemSem’s Ramadan line has a charitable twist

US-Somali model Halima Aden has worked with SemSem in the past.
Updated 46 min 4 sec ago
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SemSem’s Ramadan line has a charitable twist

Famed French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent once said that the city of Marrakesh taught him color. It seems that the Moroccan city has struck again, serving as the inspiration for SemSem’s bold Ramadan line this season.

With its mélange of cultural currents and cosmopolitan charge, the bustle of Marrakesh is manifest in SemSem’s red-based collection. A brassy fire-engine trench and gilded-blush maxi are among the highlights of the edit, available exclusively at luxury e-tailers The Modist and Ounass.

For those seeking bold, iftar-appropriate looks this season, SemSem’s berry-red jumpsuit or high-low hemmed jacquard top are both beautiful, souk-inspired statement pieces.  Floral prints appearing throughout the collection recall the Majorelle garden, Saint Laurent’s lush Marrakesh property. 

Separates, including tailored pants befitting the refined city-stroller, can be paired with the collection’s pleated tops or layered for dramatic effect. 

Self-consciously eschewing derivatives of slouched kaftans, the pieces all feature refined, structured cuts. True to the brand’s aesthetic, SemSem’s Ramadan collection is an unabashed ode to modern, metropolitan femininity.

 Founder Abeer Al-Otaiba, who originally hails from Egypt, says this year’s Ramadan edit was “deeply personal.

“I wanted it to be beautiful, impactful and reflective of my heritage,” Al-Otaiba said.  “I enjoy the sense of purpose Ramadan represents and I try to embrace all that it has to offer. Creating this collection is an extension of this time of introspection and celebration.”

A dedicated philanthropist with a degree in civil engineering and stints spent living across the Middle East, Europe and America, Al-Otaiba created SemSem in 2015 as a way to celebrate women and children across the globe. Bestowing the label with her daughter’s nickname, Al-Otaiba’s vision has allowed SemSem to mature in a few short years, emerging at the forefront of the luxury, ready-to-wear market.

With lines for both women and girls, the brand has become a favorite of multi-tasking mothers seeking balance and an elegant wardrobe with a charitable sense of purpose. Every season, Al-Otaiba teams up with a non-profit promoting the well-being of women and children. 

This year, 10 percent of the sales from the brand’s Ramadan collection sold at Ounass will go to causes supported by the Dubai Cares charity.

Previously, Al-Otaiba sought to raise awareness about maternal mortality rates and youth illiteracy, supporting organizations working across Africa to empower women and children. 

Insisting on the confluence of doing good and dressing well, SemSem has become a celebrity favorite, worn by conscientious Hollywood moms like Blake Lively and Kourtney Kardashian. 

Showing at Paris Fashion Week and regularly written up in Vogue, SemSem has brought a jet-set chic to mother-daughter wear. 

But the line’s ethos isn’t about red-carpet glitter. Encouraging mothers to instill a sense of global awareness and dedication to philanthropy in their daughters lies at the heart of SemSem’s mission. It’s a perfect conversation — and the perfect conversation-provoking ensembles— to have this Ramadan season.