Five female Gulf artists highlight Jeddah’s art scene

Hala Al-Khalifa — She wore her scars like wings
Updated 02 February 2017

Five female Gulf artists highlight Jeddah’s art scene

JEDDAH: Art lovers can mark their calendars, as the contemporary art scene in Jeddah is about to get busy starting Thursday.
An exhibition entitled “And Along Came Polyester” is opening at Athr art platform, based at Serafi Mega Mall’s office towers, featuring five solo presentations by female artists from the Gulf.
The exhibition, alongside two others opening on the same day, is part of the 21,39 Jeddah Arts non-profit initiative organized by the Saudi Art Council.
“This is the first time to host five women from the (Gulf) region to present at Athr,” Leila Evangelista, one of the organizers at Athr, told Arab News.
“The story behind the title of the exhibition is that polyester is a material derivative from oil. Oil has been the main source of economic strength in the area from which the artists come.” 
The artists express their personal reflections of economic, domestic, architectural, nostalgic and cathartic processes and fluxes within their work.
“They and their observed surroundings are a result of a singular discovery that affected their already constantly shifting geopolitical, socioeconomic and religious communities,” Evangelista said.
From Saudi Arabia, Sarah Abu Abdullah’s exhibition “18 Blankets” is an experiential art project she uses as a vehicle to showcase the absurdity of reconstructing daily life in the context of domesticity.
Her work, to which her family and friends have contributed, unravels the “processes” of home, a journey mangled and untangled by the uncanny familiar within private domestic spaces.
Through her exhibition “The Shift,” Qatari artist Aisha Al-Sowaidi attempts to shift the dynamics in traditionally used objects and furniture.
She focuses on the “majlis,” redesigning core elements in its main function. With a sense of nostalgia, her artwork suggests that through having these objects in the memory, they can compel you to traverse through emotions.
Hala Al-Khalifa’s exhibition “She Wore Her Scars Like Wings” demonstrates a journey of healing for the Bahraini artist.
The artworks — covered in thick strokes of paint, interrupted with bold lines of color — depict deformed and mangled wings rising from the collision of strokes and dripping paint.
They provoke an emotional response, and realize a moment of intimacy and vulnerability, but also strength and perseverance.
Her works attempt to shed light on our emotional state, and pose as reminders of our natural ability to heal and overcome.
Emirati artist Layla Juma employs through her exhibition “A Still Moment in Thought & Spatial Perception” repetitive, geometric shapes to create rhythmic sequences and forms.
In her work, these shapes and rhythms are crafted to conceptually articulate the ever-changing architectural landscapes of the present and the imagination of their future.
Her recurrent, ruminating meditations consider the influence and impact of spatial arrangements.
Coming from Kuwait, Monira Al-Qadiri’s exhibition “Legacy” draws an unusual connection between black pearls and oil, emphasizing that they share the same color scheme on opposite ends of the dichroic color spectrum.
It highlights the exploitation of these two materials at various points in history, and how that has been fundamental to the cultural and economic life of the Gulf.
Al-Qadiri’s art installation likens the heads of oil drills to intruders from another planet. The substance of oil is an alien intruder that dramatically altered the historical narrative of an entire region.
Thursday will also mark the start of what 21,39 says is the “largest art event in Jeddah.” The day will witness the opening of the Tadafuq Group and Tasami exhibitions, and the launch of a series of art-related talks and panel discussions under the three-day Safar Forum.
Athr is collaborating with street food caterer Krab Load to bring together 20 food vendors to the On the Terrace rooftop open gathering that starts at 8 p.m.


Saudi minister receives head of Iranian Hajj organization

Updated 36 min 26 sec ago

Saudi minister receives head of Iranian Hajj organization

  • A treaty was signed related to the arrival of Iranian pilgrims

MAKKAH: The Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Salih Bentin received today in his office in Makkah Ali Reza Rashidian, head of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization in Iran in preparation of the upcoming season.
The meeting was attended by Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat, deputy minister for Hajj and Umrah in the Kingdom, and a number of Saudi officials.
Bentin and Rashidian signed a treaty related to the arrival of Iranian pilgrims.
Bentin confirmed in a press conference “the keenness of the government of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide all necessary facilities for pilgrims coming from around the world.”
In addition, he expressed his thanks to Iranian pilgrims and their cooperation during the last Hajj season, and their dedication to their religious rituals, serenity and peace.
Rashidian expressed his thanks for the reception and hospitality, and expressed his best wishes for the success of the upcoming Hajj season, as was the case in previous years.