Saudi curators to bring communities together through art

Yinka Shonibare MBE — Butterfly Kid (boy) II.
Updated 17 September 2017

Saudi curators to bring communities together through art

JEDDAH: Contemporary Collective, a group of Saudi curators which aims to bring communities together through art, will present its first exhibition “We Are Not Alone” from Oct. 17 till Nov. 16, 2017, at ATHR gallery, Jeddah.
The curators have selected works from the British Council’s art collection that they feel will help viewers lift their thoughts away from their daily lives and think differently about how they approach the unknown. They especially want to engage audiences of all ages in the Kingdom to share the message that creativity can help them overcome their fears and anxieties.
The formation of Contemporary Collective follows the successful implementation of the British Council’s latest arts management program in Saudi Arabia. The program was launched in alignment with Vision 2030’s art and entertainment mission to leverage the arts to contribute to a prosperous economy and help individuals express themselves.
Following an open call for applications, the British Council selected Reem Al-Jalhami, Dalia Fatani, Raneen Bukhari, Maryam Bilal, Solafa Rawas and Thahab Al-Osaimi as the collective’s founding members. In addition to the above fundamentals, the successful participants attended the British Council’s two-week International Museums Academy course at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, explored the British Council’s British Art Collection, and visited key art spaces across the UK and the UAE to learn skills and build useful international networks.
The exhibition will feature works of contemporary art from the British Council collection by some of the UK’s most prominent artists: Anish Kapoor, Ryan Gander, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Rachel Whiteread, and Damien Hirst, all of which are being exhibited in Saudi Arabia for the first time.
Al-Jalhami, a member of the collective who works at the National Museum in Riyadh, said: “We hope that people leave the exhibition inspired to have meaningful conversations about how they can help each other and use art as a medium to express themselves in the future.”
Commenting on the exhibition, Maya El-Khalil, former director at ATHR, said: “What’s extraordinary about art is its subjectivity. It is expected and accepted that viewers often have divergent understanding and appreciation of particular works of art. ATHR is proud to celebrate in this exhibition where a group of young female curators from Saudi Arabia immersed themselves in the work of some of the best contemporary British artists from the British Council Art Collection, a collection of over 8,500 works.”
Amir Ramzan, country director of the British Council in Saudi Arabia, said: “There is a clear wealth of talent and opportunity in Saudi Arabia for the visual arts industry. Just look at the talent and creativity these six Saudi women have demonstrated in curating this exhibition, and their passion for engaging the next generation in Saudi with the arts. It’s our hope that initiatives like this support Saudi youth on their journey to developing a dynamic, resilient creative economy and we look forward to their next project.”

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

Updated 37 min 56 sec ago

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

  • “We share common values,” said Majid Al-Qasabi

TOKYO: Saudi Arabia has a “special relationship” with Japan, which is “reliable strategic partner and friend” of the Kingdom, the Saudi Minister for Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi said on Monday.

The minister was speaking at the launch in Tokyo of the Japanese-language online edition of Arab News, in the latest stage of its global expansion. The event came on the eve of Tuesday’s ceremonial enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in the Japanese capital. “This is a great opportunity, a moment in history,” Al-Qasabi said.

The news website, published in Japanese and English, will focus on enabling the exchange of information between Japan and the Arab world in business, current affairs, and arts and culture. “It will be good to have news in Japanese so many Japanese can read about the Arab world,” Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the launch.

Common values

“We share common values, we have a high respect for the elders and we think that the family is very important … to me we are friends and I think we need to work together.

“In order to do that we need to know what people in the Middle East are actually thinking, what is happening on a daily basis, and we haven’t got the source for that — but now Arab News is in Japan.

“This is a very good means to exchange information between the Middle East and Japan, so I am very much looking forward to it.”