DiplomaticQuarter: Cyclists pedal in Riyadh for world peace

Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ausaf Sayeed with participants at the ‘Gandhi Cycle Rally for Peace’ in Riyadh. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 13 June 2019

DiplomaticQuarter: Cyclists pedal in Riyadh for world peace

RIYADH: Scores of cyclists took to the streets of the Saudi capital to pedal for peace as part of a series of global events to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi.

The rally, organized by the Indian Embassy in Riyadh along with the city’s Diplomatic Quarter Authority and the Saudi Cycling Federation, aimed to promote a message of tolerance and harmonious coexistence throughout the world.

The Indian government has lined up an international program of celebrations to commemorate Gandhi’s birth in 1869. The activist, who led India to independence, was described by embassy officials as the embodiment of truth, non-violence and self-obedience.

His ideology also mirrored the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan, which aims to establish a vibrant society based on peace and harmony.

Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ausaf Sayeed flagged off the “Gandhi Cycle Rally for Peace” in Riyadh, which was attended by a number of Saudi dignitaries, diplomats, Saudi nationals and members of the Indian diaspora.

A Saudi cycle acrobatic team put on a spectacular performance before riders set off around a 6 km route inside the diplomatic quarter.

Speaking at the event, Sayeed stressed the importance of physical activities such as cycling for a healthy lifestyle, which Gandhi exemplified by personal example throughout his life.

The envoy thanked riders for taking part in the rally, and congratulated the Saudi Cycling Federation, Diplomatic Quarter Authority and the Diplomatic Quarter police for working together to make the event a success. All participants received T-shirts and certificates to mark the occasion.

The cycle rally, one of the first events of its kind, reflected growing strategic relations between India and Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited India in February this year to further strengthen the strategic alliance between the two countries which has seen major developments in trade and commercial ties.

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

Updated 26 June 2019

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.