Gharem Studio helping budding but undiscovered artists

Gharem Studio has served as a launching platform for many young Saudi artists across multiple artistic disciplines. (Supplied photo)
Updated 14 January 2019
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Gharem Studio helping budding but undiscovered artists

  • Gharem Studio has collaborated with the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran
  • It has toured 10 art exhibitions within the US, with each exhibition featuring between 30 and 35 artists

JEDDAH: Saudi artists and brothers Abdulnasser and Ajlan Gharem are the founders of a not-for-profit art studio dedicated to encouraging individual thought and self-expression. 

Having first opened in 2013, Gharem Studio has served as a launching platform for many young Saudi artists across multiple artistic disciplines. 

The Gharem brothers founded their art studio with the goal of helping kick-start the careers of budding but undiscovered Saudi artists. 

The studio has collaborated with the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran and has toured 10 art exhibitions within the US, with each exhibition featuring between 30 and 35 artists. 

Their dedication to cultivating the Saudi contemporary art scene has helped expose many talented up-and-coming local artists.

“Art has become a platform to which audiences and curators can gather and conversation can begin,” said Abdulnasser.

“As artists, we always look to light the spark of a conversation. Right now, we are living in a time of great change, especially with Vision 2030, which has invigorated the cultural body with energy and vibrancy, and I believe it is now up to young men and women to invest in those resources.” 

Ajlan is a multi-disciplinary artist with an interest in how Saudis articulate their culture through art. 

In a world of increased globalization, he is particularly interested in Saudi culture and the constant change of power dynamics. In the current climate of rapid development across the Gulf region, Ajlan’s work focuses on the balance of power between the individual and the state, with an emphasis on his generation’s ability to create change.

Ajlan received his undergraduate degree in mathematics at King Khalid University and he has frequently used his formal analytical training to influence his art. 

His most famous art installation has been his conceptual work, “Paradise Has Many Gates.”

The art piece has been displayed in Saudi Arabia, the US, Bahrain, and most recently in Canada’s Vancouver Biennale. 

The life-sized conceptual art installation has the structural appearance of a mosque consisting completely of chain-linked steel fence materials. 

While the controversial artwork may invoke feelings of restriction or unrest through its caged structure, it also symbolizes religious transparency. 

Being exhibited in a Western country, the piece invites viewers to recognize the way Islam is unfairly perceived. 


Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

Updated 23 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting
  • Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE will participate in a conference next month in Bahrain aimed at encouraging investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as part of US President Donald Trump’s long–awaited Israel–Palestine peace plan. 

The Peace to Prosperity conference, to be hosted on June 25–26 in cooperation with the US, has already been rebuffed by Palestinian officials and business leaders, who want their political demands met by any proposed solution to the conflict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting.

The Saudi minister of economy and planning, Mohammed bin Majid Al–Tuwaijri, will attend, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Abu Dhabi would also send a delegation.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted American peace efforts since late 2017, when Trump decided to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the latter as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US policy.

The Trump administration has sought to enlist support from Arab governments.

But Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands, which include affirming East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, the right of return for refugees, and a freeze on Israeli settlement construction.