London show hosts the first Saudi woman specializing in Islamic designs

‘Saudi Arabia, Being and Existence’: Al-Homoud Lulwa’s sculptures incorporate the beautiful calligraphy techniques of Arabic alphabets to create complex geometric patterns. (AFP)
Updated 08 September 2018
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London show hosts the first Saudi woman specializing in Islamic designs

  • The exhibition showcases the work of leading designers and innovators from 40 countries
  • Al-Homoud: My presence at the London Design Biennale is a great responsibility but is also a source of pride for me, because I am able to represent part of the Saudi creativity in a world-class event

JEDDAH: Artist Lulwa Al-Homoud is the first Saudi woman to have her work displayed in front of a British audience, at the London Design Biennale, which runs at Somerset House in London from Sept. 4 to 23. 

The exhibition showcases the work of leading designers and innovators from 40 countries, focusing this year on how design influences our emotions and experiences.

Lulwa’s sculptures incorporate the beautiful calligraphy techniques of Arabic alphabets to create complex geometric patterns as a means of conveying positive emotional feelings. Ali Al-Mutairi, director of Ithra (the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran), said: “We are delighted at Ithra to support Lulwa Al-Homoud in this unique cultural event. Our goal is to develop and deliver innovative artistic and knowledge products in a way that respects diversity and promotes different concepts in science and arts.”

He added: “We are also proud that one of Lulwa’s works is displayed at the Contemporary Arts Hall at the Ithra Museum in Dhahran, stressing that this initiative achieves the center’s mission in spreading knowledge and supporting creativity and cultural communication with the world, through Saudi elites and national talents in international forums.”

Al-Homoud’s participation at the London event sponsored by Ithra, which is an initiative by Saudi Aramco aims to promote local culture, innovation and talents.

During a conversation with the audience, Al-Homoud said: “My presence at the London Design Biennale is a great responsibility but is also a source of pride for me, because I am able to represent part of the Saudi creativity in a world-class event that highlights countries more than individuals. We, as artists, are the product of the cultures of our countries, and Ithra’s support adds to my responsibility, pride and gratitude to my homeland.

“Arabic calligraphy is at the top of the pyramid of Islamic arts. It started to develop the Qur’anic text, and calligraphers did their best to try to make it as beautiful as possible, in order to match the beauty of the text. The language can spread feelings of love and anger, sadness and peace. This design is a trial to gather the public around one opinion in an abstract way.”

The work “Existence and Being” manifests the relation between languages and our emotional state; it explores how languages influence us through the messages we try to convey. She also developed an abstract form of the Arabic language, molding it in geometrical patterns, creating a complex and symmetrical alignment of symbols and lines.

It is worth mentioning that Al-Homoud graduated in sociology in Riyadh and then went on to continue her master’s degree at Central St. Martins in London. She became the first Saudi woman to specialize in Arabic calligraphy and Islamic designs. Her participation in the London Biennale was the result of her research in Arabic calligraphy and Islamic designs.

Her work has been exhibited in international museums such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Jeju National Museum in South Korea, the Five Continents Museum in Munich and the Amsterdam Green Box Museum. She designed several logos, including the Saudi pavilion logo at Shanghai Expo 2010 and the 18 Arabic calligraphy wall panels inside the Saudi Pavilion.


Putin welcomes Saudi delegation at St. Petersburg cultural forum

Updated 18 November 2018
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Putin welcomes Saudi delegation at St. Petersburg cultural forum

JEDDAH: Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Saudi Arabia’s delegation to the 7th St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum as one of the main guest countries attending the annual event.
The delegation was headed by Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, who posted a selfie with Putin on his Twitter account.
“We responded to the invitation from our friends in Russia to participate in the St. Petersburg cultural forum, and it was an opportunity to meet with officials to promote cultural cooperation,” the post said.


The forum, which ran from Nov. 15-17, was held under the theme “Culture as a Strategic Potential of the Country,” was attended by visitors from 101 countries.
Opening the forum, the Russian president expressed hope that the event would develop fruitful dialogue between society and the state.
Putin said the forum gives others a chance to get to know Russia more closely, stressed that “what distinguishes his country is the diversity of languages and traditions.”
During the visit the Saudi minister held talks with the Russian president on the sidelines of the event.
He also met his Italian counterpart, Alberto Bonisoli, on the sidelines of the forum to discuss areas of joint cooperation between the two countries and means of enhancing Saudi-Italian cultural relations.
“I was delighted to meet with the Italian Minister of Culture and we have many opportunities for a future of strong cooperation between the two countries,” Prince Badr tweeted.

Bonisoli said that culture is “a means of communication” for politics, even when serious international crises occur.
“If there are problems between two or more countries, according to their positions, culture is still a way to convey the messages of partnerships, communities, politicians, and sometimes to promote fundamental values,” he added.
The St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum annually attracts thousands of experts in the field of culture from all over the world.
Stars of theater, opera and ballet, renowned directors and musicians, public figures, representatives of and academic communities, all attend the event.
The year’s program includes 14 pavilions, including museums, circuses, theaters, cinema, literature, tourism, folklore and popular culture.