TheFace: Maysa bint Ahmed Al-Ruwaished, Saudi artist and founder of Canvash studio

Maysa bint Ahmed Al-Ruwaished. AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj
Updated 07 June 2019

TheFace: Maysa bint Ahmed Al-Ruwaished, Saudi artist and founder of Canvash studio

I am the founder of Canvash, an institution in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia dedicated to the creation and appreciation of art. Painting involves a brush, colors, a canvas and, of course, passion. It reflects the culture of our society, is a reflection of its history and current state, and contributes to building its future. Hence, Canvash was launched to help express the Saudi identity and represent our country.

Canvash studio is named using the Dutch word for the canvas on which we paint, the texture of which makes paintings all the more appealing and beautiful. The studio and its workshops have a number of strategic goals: To help young artists develop and refine their skills and talents through training programs provided by a team of experienced professionals; to help visitors discover their own artistic abilities, build their confidence and channel their energy into the creation of art; to provide a display space for the work of professional artists; to provide a cultural forum for the exchange of ideas and artistic opinions; to create an artistic atmosphere suitable for the creation and enjoyment of art; and to organize and host art exhibitions in cooperation with public and private organizations based on the highest global standards and art protocols. My vision is for Canvash to become one of Saudi Arabia’s arts landmarks.

Since I was a child, I enjoyed visiting art galleries and museums, spending hours contemplating the beauty of the works on display. My decision to create Canvash was inspired by the vital socioeconomic development that is underway in Saudi Arabia, along with my faith in the ability of the art to reflect the progress and development of societies and nations. Through art, we can send our message to the world.

Art is a culture, a passion and a hobby, and I was expressing all three aspects when I established the studio, after I returned from the US and noticed a lack of community art facilities in the Eastern Province. I assembled the best training and organizational team to ensure that Canvash, which opened in 2018 and was the province’s first licensed studio, could provide all that support and assistance needed by artists and enthusiasts. The idea behind Canvash was honored with an award for the best pilot project in the province contributing to change and the support of art.

The staff help artists and workshop participants develop their artistic personas while instilling in them faith in their skills, enabling them to create art and providing an enduring record of their first steps in the world of fine arts. The initiative is characterized by its artistic and fun atmosphere, which greatly contributes to encouraging creativity. The studio has been carefully designed, its activities are well organized, and there is a cafe.

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Dammam. I am passionate and artistic, enjoy creativity and constantly strive to learn about all that is new in the arts. I believe that art is a cultural asset, capturing reality and helping a society to express itself.

My father Dr. Ahmed Abdulrahman Al-Ruwaished is an academic and a researcher at a Saudi university. He has a Ph.D. in architecture from the US in solar energy and construction systems. My mother worked as a teacher in Saudi public schools for over 20 years. My sisters, Nouf, Amal and Nada, hold university degrees in management and economics. My daughter, Haya, is the source of my happiness.

I seek to contribute to the advancement of the artistic and cultural movement in Saudi Arabia, and I hope my country will one day be home to some of the most important and famous art galleries and museums in the world. I also hope to see many works by Saudi artists in the most-renowned galleries around the world. 

Startup of the Week: Ensuring people’s safety on the road in a trendy way

Updated 52 sec ago

Startup of the Week: Ensuring people’s safety on the road in a trendy way

  • The MoI has set a target to reduce road-related fatalities to eight per 100,000 as part of the government’s Vision 2030 program

JEDDAH: Drivers usually consider themselves safe on roads as long as they are following regulations concerning their style of driving, speed limits and laws regarding turns and red lights.
Truth be told they are not safe as long as they do not follow one simple rule i.e. wearing safety belts. According to experts, wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent death and serious injury in a crash.
Malak Khayat, the Saudi founder of Belt.on, came up with an interesting idea to promote the use of seat belts and raise awareness about the importance of wearing seat belts while driving.
It offers customized leather belt cases that can be placed on seat belts.
Khayat also came up with a catchy slogan “Buckle up, someone loves you!” to prod people to think for their loved ones before putting their lives in harm’s way.
“It is a safe and trendy accessory that would hopefully encourage passengers to keep on their seatbelts,” Khayat told Arab News.
The idea came to her mind a year ago, when she witnessed a terrible road accident, in which the front seat passenger ejected through the car’s windscreen.
“It cost him his life. What if the passenger was buckled? His chances of survival would have increased, and it could even have saved his life.
“We hear such sad stories and witness heartbreaking road accidents. Law enforces the use of seat belts and a lot of awareness programs around the world emphasize the importance of wearing them. I wanted to promote their use, but in a trendy way, so that is how Belt.on started.”
At a presentation to the 2019 Traffic Safety Conference held in Riyadh in March, the Ministry of the Interior (MoI) revealed the number of deaths in the Kingdom had dropped from over 7,000 in 2017 to 6,025 in 2018, with traffic-related injuries down almost 10 percent to around 30,000.
The MoI has set a target to reduce road-related fatalities to eight per 100,000 as part of the government’s Vision 2030 program. Wearing seat belts is essential to hitting that target.
Belt.on’s embroidery can be made to almost any specification, with messages sewn in any language — recently the company even had an order for one in Armenian. They can also add logos or specific shapes, and there is almost no limit to the colors on offer.
“Safety is my No.1 concern, therefore, I aim to keep my customers safe yet trendy. Belt.on aims to raise awareness on safety as it encourages people to put on their seat belts in a cool way,” Khayat said.
Customers can place their orders via WhatsApp, or contact and keep up to date with Belt.On through Instagram (@belt.on).