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.”


Book review: ‘Where the Bird Disappeared’ is a tale as old as time

Updated 22 September 2018
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Book review: ‘Where the Bird Disappeared’ is a tale as old as time

CHICAGO: Taking a leaf from the real-life stories of Prophet Zakariyya and his son Yahya, Palestinian poet and writer Ghassan Zaqtan’s “Where the Bird Disappeared” is a beautiful yet haunting novel set in the village of Zakariyya, in modern-day Palestine.
Inspired by Qur’anic stories and political history, the novel talks about the relationship between Zakariyya and his best friend Yahya who not only share their names with the two prophets but bear a distant resemblance to their personalities and fates as well.
Zaqtan’s narrative is lyrical, heartbreaking and profound. Rooted in Palestine — a land that stood the test of time and would go on to become the hub of early and modern civilizations — the story is captivating enough to transport us to the hideaway monastery in Nuba Karam or the vineyards of Beit Jalla, the new homes for several villagers forced into exile.
Recalling the devastation and violence faced by those migrating from their homes and country, Zaqtan’s ability to take his readers through the same mountain paths and into the soul of his characters is a cause for applause. As Zaqtan writes of his central character, Zakariyya, “he felt he was walking inside a book, stumbling inside stories that had circulated in these hills since his birth. Journeys and names repeating themselves in succession without end.” And while the novel succeeds in digging deep into the annals of history, it also makes the reader realize how much impact the land of Palestine has had on the two characters and the various stories generating from the region.
Zaqtan’s tale is gentle enough to etch out images of each village, street or ancient structure that make the story and yet devastating enough that these get lost in the bigger picture. His brilliance lies in how conscious he is about the words used, while never losing sight of the historical context of his narrative or the love of the central characters for their beloved land.
Ghassan Zaqtan is an award-winning Palestinian poet, novelist, and playwright. He first published “Where the Bird Disappeared” in Arabic in 2015. It was then translated into English by Samuel Wilder and published by Seagull Books in 2018.