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.


King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed ‘lend new dimension to unification’

Millions of citizens plan to celebrate the Saudi national day on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 23 September 2018
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King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed ‘lend new dimension to unification’

  • More than 900,000 fireworks will light up the sky from 58 locations across the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Day, celebrated every year on Sept. 23, has come a long way in broadening the concept of unification over the years.
Though the National Day meant unifying disparate sheikhdoms under the nation’s founder, the late King Abdul Aziz, its implications across the political, socioeconomic and cultural spectrum have not been lost on successive rulers.
It was King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who fine-tuned the definition of unification as an operating philosophy. This is why millions of citizens plan to celebrate the Saudi National Day on the streets on Sunday.
The capital city, along with other Saudi cities, will witness fireworks and the unfurling of the largest national flag. More than 900,000 fireworks will light up the sky from 58 locations across the Kingdom.
Car owners, limousine drivers and young Saudi motorcyclists said that they planned to go for drives, particularly on the fashionable streets of the capital city, to celebrate. Grocery shops, stationery shops and vendors were selling bunting, flags, banners and pictures of national heroes.
“We went around the city to see the lighting and fireworks,” said Saleh Al-Omri, a local pharmacist. “Green and white balloons fill either sides of Riyadh streets,” he said.
In his National Day congratulatory message, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, said: “The wise policy of the leaders of this country contributed to peace, security and stability.”
Fakhr Al-Shawaf, chief executive of Al-Bawani Contracting Co., said: “We are celebrating the 88th anniversary of our unification, a day when the late King Abdul Aziz established the Saudi nation.”
Ali Al-Othaim, a member of Riyadh Chamber’s board of directors, said: “The Kingdom is on the path of comprehensive economic and social development under Vision 2030.”
Shafik Namdar, a taxi driver, said that he had bought an SR10 flag for his car and planned to work and also drive with his friends to look at the city and its landmark buildings.
Several young boys, including Arslan, 12, and Mishal, 14, said that they had bought bunting, badges and flags to decorate their houses. They planned to celebrate with a special meal at home with relatives, before going into the city streets for dance and music. Some of them had plans to organize celebrations in public parks.