Literature and art attract thousands to Jeddah Book Fair

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There were 2,000 exhibitors and book signings for over 200 authors. (SPA)
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Updated 07 January 2019
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Literature and art attract thousands to Jeddah Book Fair

  • This year’s book fair theme was “Tolerance and Peace” and drew to a close Sunday with Saudi Arabia’s “Ardeh” dance and other folkloric activities
  • The fair drew more than 50,000 visitors a day and publishers from 40 countries

JEDDAH: Of the tens of thousands of people who flocked to the Jeddah International Book Fair, one stood out more than most.
Author Hala Tala Al-Tamimi is 11 years old and was at the fair, signing her debut work “Sweet Imaginations” for fans like a seasoned pro.
“I was inspired to write this book because I wanted to share my writing talent with everyone,” she told Arab News.
Her mother supported her endeavors and was determined to help in whatever way possible, letting Hala focus on writing and busied herself with the publishing process.
“Hala always had a creative side and expressed and interest in creative things in school activities, and she was a good student academically,” the mother told Arab News. “She always had a sense of confidence, so I was excited to hear that she was writing poetry. When she showed me the first drafts, I was impressed by the depth expressed in them.”
The young writer, beaming with pride, said: “All the good comments or advice make me better and more confident and I’m especially happy that there are people that like what I do. Bad comments or advice hurt my feelings, but does nothing to my confidence.”
She added that readers should get ready for a sequel, “Sweet Imaginations Part Two,” as the concept was already in the pipeline.
The fair drew more than 50,000 visitors a day and publishers from 40 countries.
There were more than 60 workshops in fine arts, photography and calligraphy, as well as seminars, lectures, and plays focusing on social and cultural topics.
An accompanying art fair pulled large crowds, even though it was not the main attraction.
Sculptures and paintings from different artists were on display and, among the exhibits, was a man painting a gigantic canvas of the sunken ships of Jeddah.
Hisham Binjabi, 65, said he was the president of an association of fine arts in the Kingdom’s second city and a youth welfare consultant. He also teaches art and oversees two galleries.
“I have always been painting. I was four years old when everybody would stop me from painting because I would paint all the walls black,” he told Arab News. “I just love to see people appreciate art. I never asked anyone to be a painter, it was something that ran in my veins and I just portrayed it through my art.
“Prince Mishaal bin Majed, the governor of Jeddah, asked me to take care of this place and I am actually the one who collected everything in the first place.”
The fair, which ended Sunday, was held under the direct supervision of the Jeddah governor and under the patronage of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal.
There were 2,000 exhibitors and book signings for more than 200 authors. A number of participating countries presented their heritage, folklore and theatrical performances including Jordan, Sudan, Finland, the US and Mexico.
This year’s book fair theme was “Tolerance and Peace” and drew to a close Sunday with Saudi Arabia’s “Ardeh” dance and other folkloric activities.


UN hears culture and heritage are essential aspects of Saudi Vision 2030

Updated 22 May 2019
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UN hears culture and heritage are essential aspects of Saudi Vision 2030

  • Culture and Sustainable Development conference was held at UN headquarters in New York
  • Dr. Afnan bint Abdullah Al-Shuaibi, the general supervisor for International Relations at the Ministry of Culture, delivered the Kingdom’s speech

NEW YORK: UN hears culture and heritage are essential aspects of Saudi Vision 2030

At the United Nations on Tuesday, the Saudi Ministry of Culture highlighted the important role that diverse cultures and national heritage can play in the development of nations and promoting peace, and the ways in which the Kingdom is using this to encourage intercultural dialogue, diversity and openness.

The conference, titled Culture and Sustainable Development, was organized by the UN General Assembly in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to mark the annual World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

Dr. Afnan Al-Shuaibi, the general supervisor of international relations at the ministry, delivered the Kingdom's speech during the event at the UN’s New York HQ. She said “culture is an essential part of the Saudi Vision 2030” and highlighted the “importance of preserving cultural and natural heritage to achieve peace, and the common endeavor of all countries to build a rich cultural future in which various kinds of culture and arts flourish.” She also described the vision and outlook of the ministry, and the ambitious initiatives it has implemented to develop the Saudi cultural sector.

The conference, which was based around the importance of cultural diversity and indigenous cultures to sustainable development, focused on local, regional and international experiences of this. It highlighted the relationship between culture and diversity, and how they link to local solutions to climate change and environmental challenges; offered views on the effective role of culture in providing decent employment opportunities and reducing poverty; social resilience and other aspects of sustainable development plans; and showed how culture, arts, education and the creative industries can contribute to the achievement of development goals and creative solutions in urban and rural areas, at local and national levels.

The event also included a panel discussion titled “Cultural Diversity as a Common Human Heritage.” It explored two themes: “Culture and Education: Foundations of Sustainability” and “Culture as an Instrument for Change, Innovation, Empowerment and Equality.”

Other issues were also addressed, including the importance of preserving cultural and natural heritage, the role of traditional knowledge and skills to promote environmental sustainability, the resilience of climate-related disasters and the impact of cultural heritage on identity preservation and peace building.

The Ministry of Culture took part in the event as pat of its efforts to promote cultural dialogue and showcase the Kingdom’s experiences in pursuing its ambitious cultural-development goals, which are an integral part of the transformations that are key to achieving Saudi Vision 2030.