Dania Al-Saleh and Lulwah Al-Homoud represent Saudi Arabia at exhibition in Russia

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Saudi participation in the exhibition aims to strengthen the Kingdom’s cultural communication with the rest of the world. (Photos/Supplied)
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Saudi participation in the exhibition aims to strengthen the Kingdom’s cultural communication with the rest of the world. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 07 June 2019
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Dania Al-Saleh and Lulwah Al-Homoud represent Saudi Arabia at exhibition in Russia

  • Event explores the role of AI in contemporary art by combining creativity and technology

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian artists Dania Al-Saleh and Lulwah Al-Homoud are representing the Kingdom at the Artificial Intelligence and Intercultural Dialogue Art Exhibition, which began Thursday at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and ends July 7.

The exhibition explores the role of AI in contemporary art and features work that combines art and technology.

Al-Saleh’s “Sawtam,” which won this year’s Ithra Art Prize — the annual award for Saudi Arabian, or Saudi Arabia-based, talent — is one of the pieces on show.

Al-Saleh explained that her artwork consists of audio and video that revolves around the concept of deconstructing spoken language to its most basic form — the phoneme (or “sawtam” in Arabic). 

The purpose of “Sawtam” is to shed light on the simplicity of the Arabic language, which has just 28 phonemes but is still capable of great expression.

Al-Saleh’s artwork consists of recordings of her voice speaking each of the 28 phonemes, integrated with software based on the computer language Java, which creates visual images as it analyzes the sound waves of the language.

Saudi artists Daniah Al-Saleh (left) and Lulwah Al-Homoud

Al-Homoud’s “Al-Kayan Wal Wujud” (Entity and Being), meanwhile, is Islamic art expressed in modern technological form and based on a scientific and philosophical platform, she explained. 

Al-Homoud is considered one of the most prominent artists working with abstract forms. Her work explores hidden rules of artistic innovation in mathematical forms, and through the use of the Arabic language, in a way that combines arts and science. 

The work is being exhibited in “a composite way,” she said, that will give the public an opportunity to view it in “an untraditional manner.”

“People will stand in front of the painting and enjoy a peaceful and tranquil spiritual experience,” she said. 

Al-Saleh thanked the Saudi Ministry of Culture for sponsoring her participation in the Hermitage exhibition and for its support of arts and culture. 

HIGHLIGHtS

• Artists praise the Saudi Ministry of Culture for its key role in promoting Arab and Islamic culture.

• When an artist participates in such important international exhibitions, they not only represent themselves, but their whole society, and their culture as a whole, they say.

Al-Homoud said: “When an artist participates in such important international exhibitions, they not only represent themselves, but their whole society, and their culture as a whole.” 

She also praised the Ministry of Culture for the role that it is playing in promoting Saudi, Arab and Islamic culture. 

Abdul Karim Al-Hameed, Ministry of Culture spokesman, said that Saudi Arabia’s participation in this exhibition is intended to strengthen its cultural communication with the rest of the world, and show the level of cultural development achieved in the Kingdom. 

He stressed that Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud has always supported the sponsoring of Saudi artists as part of the directives and objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 


Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 26 June 2019
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Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece exhibition in Dhahran.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.