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.”


Art collection of fugitive Indian billionaire to be auctioned

Updated 34 min 19 sec ago
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Art collection of fugitive Indian billionaire to be auctioned

  • Auctioneers say the sale is the first of its kind in the country
  • The sale in Mumbai of some 68 works is expected to fetch anywhere between $4.4 million and $7.3 million

MUMBAI: Indian tax authorities are hoping for a windfall with the auction on Tuesday of rare oil paintings that were once part of fugitive billionaire jeweler Nirav Modi’s collection and have been seized by the government.
Auctioneers say the sale is the first of its kind in a country where tax authorities have usually auctioned property, gold and luxury items, but not art.
After a court order allowing the auction to take place, tax authorities, who are pursuing Modi over the country’s largest bank fraud, appointed professional auction house Saffronart.
The sale in Mumbai of some 68 works is expected to fetch anywhere between $4.4 million and $7.3 million (300 million and 500 million rupees).
“Until a few years ago, the tax authorities really didn’t know the value of art,” said Farah Siddiqui, an art adviser who is advising clients eyeing Modi’s collection.
The 48-year-old Modi, whose diamonds have sparkled on Hollywood stars, is one of the primary accused in a $2 billion loan fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank. Modi denies the charges and believes they are politically motivated.
The auction comes just weeks before a national election and as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces pressure to bring back Nirav Modi (no relation), who fled the country last year and has been residing in the United Kingdom.
He was arrested last week by British authorities and remanded in custody after he appeared before a London court. India asked Britain last August to extradite Modi.
The auction includes works by Raja Ravi Varma, a 19th century painter considered among India’s finest, and V.S. Gaitonde, a modern artist known for his abstract and often monochromatic paintings.
“We believe that the collection’s intrinsic value will garner a positive response from collectors,” said Saffronart Chief Executive Dinesh Vazirani.
India Law Alliance, a law firm representing the company controlled by Modi that owns the artwork, said it was challenging the court order that allowed the auction. The case will be heard by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday, a lawyer at the firm told Reuters.
Vijay Aggarwal, a lawyer for Modi, declined to comment.