Source of Light: Towering Italian sculpture unveiled in Dhahran

The 90-foot tall artwork consists of three towering bronze ‘trees’ that ‘grow’ from the base of the Source, the physical core of Ithra. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 06 May 2019
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Source of Light: Towering Italian sculpture unveiled in Dhahran

  • Ithra is a Saudi Aramco initiative and was designed by Oslo-based architects Snohetta

DHAHRAN: Towering metallic “trees” in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province have been unveiled at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.
The sculpture, from Italian artist Giuseppe Penone, is called “Source of Light” and marks the symbolic location near where Saudi Arabia first discovered oil in 1938.
The 90-foot tall artwork consists of three towering bronze trees that grow from the base of the Source, the physical core of Ithra.
It is Ithra’s largest permanent art commission.
“We are delighted to have Giuseppe Penone’s iconic work, ‘Source of Light,’ at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture,” said Ithra director Ali Al-Mutairi. “His poignant integration of ideas and materials located at the core of our built environment resonates deeply while creating space for contemplation. In our quest to foster cross-cultural exchange, this work offers visitors a unique and tangible example of global artistic expression. With the Source, Penone has synthesized memory and nature in dialogue with architecture to inspire our consideration of what has yet to be discovered. We are honored to present such work to the world.”
Penone is inspired by organic systems and natural forms — including wood, stone, resin, and the human body — believing in the connection between humans and nature. This commission responds both to the Source and to the natural forms and sustainable materials of Ithra itself, which evoke rocks and mountain ranges. The sculpture connects the earth below with the sky above, forming a symbolic link between these two sources of energy.
“‘Source of Light’ emphasizes and represents the energy extracted from the earth that helps life and growth,” the artist said in a statement. “It symbolizes the Source, where oil needed for the growth and development of the world’s economy was discovered. It celebrates with its own form and materials, including the gold that covers the central tree’s inner surface, the elevation of life.”
Ithra is a Saudi Aramco initiative and was designed by Oslo-based architects Snohetta. The buildings form four giant futuristic rock-like structures which support one another. At its center lies a deep and open square well — the symbolic location of the Source, where oil was first discovered in the region.
The journey to the Source takes visitors down a spiral ramp that gives different views of Penone’s artwork.


King Salman issues directive for Saudi Arabia to host families of Christchurch attack victims during Hajj season

Updated 12 sec ago
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King Salman issues directive for Saudi Arabia to host families of Christchurch attack victims during Hajj season

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host 200 Hajj pilgrims of families of victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand on the orders of King Salman, a Saudi Press Agency report said.
The attack in March by Brenton Tarrant on two mosques in the city killed 50 people and wounded dozens more.
The directive from King Salman was announced on Tuesday by Sheikh Abdullatif bin Abulaziz Al-Asheikh, the Minister of Islamic Affairs.
Al-Asheikh said the hosting of the families during the Hajj season was part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to “confront and defeat terrorism” in all forms.
Al-Asheikh added that his ministry was working with the Saudi embassy in New Zealand to ensure the invitees have everything they need to perform Hajj during their visit.