Two Saudi artists to take part in major art exhibition in Russia

Saudi artists Daniah Al-Saleh (left) and Lulwah Al-Homoud
Updated 14 May 2019
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Two Saudi artists to take part in major art exhibition in Russia

  • Al-Homoud has developed an abstract graphical form of language developed from the Arabic alphabet, which some predict could become a universal language

JEDDAH: Two Saudi artists are to take part in a major international exhibition aimed at exploring the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in modern art.
Lulwah Al-Homoud and Daniah Al-Saleh will be among the leading artists showcasing their work at the event in St. Petersburg, Russia, next month.
The new exhibition, organized by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the State Hermitage Museum, will be launched during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
The Saudi duo will join with artists from throughout the world for the expo, titled “Artificial Intelligence and Intercultural Dialogue,” which will open in the Hermitage’s general staff building (historical archive hall) on June 6, the first day of the SPIEF gathering and part of its cultural program.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, said: “The development of intercultural dialogue is RDIF’s important long-term mission. This exhibition is our new initiative aimed at promoting this dialogue and creating the trust needed for successful trade and investment.”
He added: “For this exhibition, we brought together artists of different nationalities, all of whom are using AI technologies. We are able to witness a new form of art being created. We hope that people from different nations will find it easier to understand each other through this art of the future.”
He said: “We are very pleased that the exhibition of the world’s best AI art is taking place during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum at the Hermitage, one of the most renowned museums in the world. This exhibition reiterates Russia’s cultural and technological leadership.”
The RDIF and its international partners are already investing in AI technologies which, according to experts, could add $13 trillion to the global economy by 2030, drastically transforming many sectors. Many countries are already developing their own AI programs.
Al-Homoud has developed an abstract graphical form of language developed from the Arabic alphabet, which some predict could become a universal language.
AI technology is used to process large volumes of data, including images. In recent years, the use of AI has helped to achieve revolutionary results in cybersecurity, banking and marketing, as a result of facial-recognition technology.

AI-based contemporary art has received global attention following “The portrait of Edmond Belami,” a painting created by the French art group Obvious which sold at Christie’s for $432,500 on Oct. 25, 2018.

Artists and computer programers from Obvious used generative-adversarial network (GAN) algorithms, designed in 2014 to create the painting. GAN is able to simultaneously run two algorithms. One algorithm constantly generates images, while the second one processes them, filtering out the failed images.

The invention of GAN has enabled AI systems to process information in a manner that is closer to that of the human brain. This enables it to use imagination and take a critical approach to the received information. The activity of both algorithms in GAN is balanced and excludes conflict, allowing for the best results.

Three artworks from Obvious, as well as pieces from other AI-based art specialists, will be exhibited for the first time in Russia. Most of the works are a result of creative processing by large AI algorithms.

Mikhail Piotrovsky, CEO of the Hermitage, said: “The Hermitage Museum always welcomes the experiments where art and science demonstrate their similarities and readiness to enrich each other. The artistic exploration of artificial intelligence continues the important process of humanization of science.”

An installation from Italian artist Davide Quayola will represent the AI “view” of French impressionist paintings, while the work by Turkey’s Refik Anadol, “Machine Hallucinations,” has been created using the latest GAN algorithm, which processed 100,000 photographs of Gothic and modern architecture. 

The work of Kostya Novoselov, who won the 2010 Nobel prize for physics after discovering the material graphene, will examine the limits of machine learning, drawing parallels with artworks created by humans.

The exhibition is the RDIF’s new initiative aimed at promoting dialogue between cultures. It builds on earlier successful cultural endeavors by the fund, including organizing concerts by the Mariinsky orchestra, and a Russian avant-guard art exhibition in Saudi Arabia in 2019, in partnership with Saudi Aramco and the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Exhibition participants also include Mario Klingemann from Germany, Chinese artists Sun Xun and Aaajiao, Russia’s Egor Kraft, ::Vtol::, and Novoselov in collaboration with Zhestkov Studio, Team Void from South Korea, American computer animator Jonathan Monaghan, and Norimichi Hirakawa of Japan.

Dmitry Ozerkov and Victoria Kondrashova are the curators of the exhibition, which will run until July 7.


Peace is our priority but the world must take a stand against Iran, says Saudi cabinet

Updated 22 May 2019
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Peace is our priority but the world must take a stand against Iran, says Saudi cabinet

  • Saudi cabinet says the international community must take firm action against the regime in Tehran
  • Saudi’s king invites GCC leaders to hold Gulf and Arab summits in Makkah on May 30

JEDDAH: The Saudi cabinet on Tuesday said that while the Kingdom believes all people in the region have a right to live in peace, including the Iranians, the international community must take firm action against the regime in Tehran to prevent it from spreading destruction and chaos.

After a meeting of the Council of Ministers at Assalam Palace, presided over by King Salman, Turki Al-Shabanah, the minister of media, told the Saudi Press Agency that the cabinet reviewed reports on regional and global development, and the king invited GCC leaders to hold Gulf and Arab summits in Makkah on May 30. The invitation reflects the Kingdom’s desire to work with other nations to boost security and stability in the region, the minister said, especially in light of the Iran’s continuing aggressive actions. The regime’s recent activities threaten regional and international peace and security, and the supply and stability of international oil markets, he added.

Al-Shabanah reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to peace and said it will make every effort to prevent war. The nation’s hand is always extended, he added, in the belief that everyone in the region, including the Iranians, has the right to live in a secure and stable environment.

However, the cabinet called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities by taking a firm stance against the actions of the regime in Tehran, to prevent its disruptive and destructive activities throughout the world. It also called on Iran to halt the reckless and irresponsible behavior of its agents, to save the region from the dangers they pose and potential repercussions.

The cabinet also expressed the Kingdom’s hopes and expectations that the 14th Ordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference, will encourage unity of response to ongoing events in the Islamic world. The summit, chaired by King Salman, will be held in Makkah on May 31 under the title “Makkah Summit: Hand in Hand toward the Future.”

Ministers heard that the Kingdom has sent $250 million to the Central Bank of Sudan as part of a previously announced package of assistance in partnership with the United Arab Emirates. This latest demonstration of support from the Kingdom to the Sudanese people aims to help stabilize the country’s economy, and strengthen the Sudanese pound in particular, to help improve the lives of the nation’s people.

The cabinet also welcomed the decision of the 14th meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee to monitor an oil production reduction agreement concluded in Jeddah, which was headed by the Kingdom and Russia, and affirmed its commitment to balancing the oil market and stabilizing it on a sustainable basis.

Turning to local affairs, the Council of Ministers confirmed the generous support of SR 100 million ($26.7 million) from the king, and SR 30 million from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Jood Housing platform. Launched a day earlier, and supervised by the National Housing Development Association, it aims to accelerate the development process through the introduction of a new model of social solidarity, in which government, charities and commercial entities work together in accordance with regulations designed to provide support for those in need.

The council also discussed the results of the 26th meeting of the region’s governors, and praised the king for his directives designed to preserve security and help people throughout the Kingdom.