RIYADH: More than 40 pioneering Saudi artists have been honored for their role in developing the Kingdom’s arts movement as part of Misk Art Week.
Tributes to the artists were made at a ceremony to mark the end of the art week. Among those present were Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Emirati Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Noura Al-Kaabi, Misk Foundation Secretary-General Bader bin Mohammed Al-Asaker and several ambassadors.
Misk Art Week was held at Durrat Arriyadh from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 and was organized by the Misk Art Institute of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk).
More than 250 artists were featured in the five-day event, which focused on the Kingdom’s artistic development and cultural orientation, and included a range of creative schools in visual arts, sculpture and innovation.
The innovative Art Street and the Misk Global Forum higlighted the dialogue between the Kingdom’s artistic generations, encouraging artists to develop an authentic cultural identity in their works in the Kingdom and abroad.
Art Street featured the work of Riyadh artists in pop art, portraiture and murals, and drew visitors from around the Kingdom and other countries.
Leading artists who took part in Misk Art 2018 included Nora Al-Qahtani, Ruhaifa Ba’asfar, Manal Bahanshal and Amal Felemban, whose work is shown at Manal Art Studio and Gallery Studio in Jeddah. The gallery also organizes exhibitions, workshops and art courses.
Al-Qahtani told Arab News: “I love to address a woman’s personality in my pieces. Usually, people say men are absent in my work, but they are not. Men appear through the stories of women and their feelings in my paintings. Men appear indirectly in the background images, the memories, and through the elements of my paintings.”
Saeed Aboud from Glm Rsas Group explained his group’s mission in Misk Art 2018: “We are working on a 10-meter mural; our exhibition contains four murals, each telling a certain story.
“We like to combine old heritage drawings and color them with modern pop colors. For example, we painted the Masmak palace with a pop pink color. We are also planning to work on a 3D mural. Each mural takes from two to three days to complete.”
Hayfaa Hisham Hasanain, a Saudi artist from Jeddah and now a resident in Dubai, said: “I am happy because this is my first participation with Misk Art in Riyadh. I came with an open heart to meet and interact with people and visitors of Riyadh.
“I have always loved painting because I was encouraged by my family and friends. I started taking serious steps from painting as a hobby to becoming a professional painter. Now I have a daily routine that always involves painting.”
Hasanain said that each of her paintings embodied an idea. “For example, I have a painting that represents circles that look different. Each circle represents our personal experiences and differences, but at the same time are similar and harmonious, and are integrated with each other and our relationship with the universe.”
Art Street offered artists a space to present and sell their works and communicate directly with other professional artists.
Professional artists who took part in Misk Art 2018 said the event had been a major success, attracting all age groups from different segments of Saudi society, and offering artists, collectors, exhibition and museum owners, students and arts academics a chance to meet.
At the closing ceremony, Prince Badr praised 43 artists for their role as “pioneers in the artistic field and the establishment of the cultural movement in the Kingdom.”
Executive Director of the Misk Art Institute, Ahmed Mater, said that this year’s edition focused on the large number of gifted artists in the Kingdom, while celebrating the achievements of artistic trailblazers and attracting international artists and schools.
“This gives the concept of art an aesthetic value that enriches the noble human concepts,” he said.
Misk Art Institute is one of Misk’s initiatives that seeks to enrich the artistic culture and support creative experiences by organizing events that connect artists to international schools, helping them to improve as professionals and market their work.