Tasmeem Fair gives Saudi designers a chance to shine

An artwork on show by Ahmed Jeddawi, architect and calligrapher, in the second edition of Tasmeem Fair in Jeddah. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 14 October 2018
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Tasmeem Fair gives Saudi designers a chance to shine

  • The exhibition was a big success last year
  • Arab News was given special exclusive access to the venue before opening night

JEDDAH: Tasmeem, a nonprofit initiative by the Saudi Art Council, is opening in Jeddah tonight in its second edition. The initiative serves as a platform for interior designers and architects to present their work in a different light, reinforcing their role in Saudi society.

Under the patronage of Princess Jawaher bin Majed bin Abdul Aziz, Tasmeem’s selection of the best and most innovative designers this year grasped the mysterious concept curated by Lama bin Mansour. 

Arab News was given special exclusive access to the venue before opening night. An aura of mystery surrounds the venue but its buzz for excitement can be felt around you.

The initiative’s first exhibit last year was regarded as a success by many, presenting architects and interior designers in a new light, allowing them to develop their displays, resulting in innovative and unexpected creations. Visitors can flow from one hall to the next, admiring the installations and experience some of them firsthand. From a first look, it seems that this year will be equally successful, if not better.

This year’s mysterious concept is one that can resonate with many, with several keynote speakers presenting a number of topics ranging from calligraphy and architecture, architectural photography and more. Workshops and lectures will accompany the exhibition for the duration of the fair. 

Tasmeem Fair is open to all on Oct. 11-22 in SAC’s Gold Moor headquarters in the Shatea district.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 33 min 55 sec ago
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.