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.”


King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

Updated 21 November 2019

King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

  • Saudi Arabia has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies, king says
  • Kingdom also welcomed US decision to return Iran's Fordow nuclear facility to its sanctions list

RIYADH: Iran should abandon its expansionist ideology that has only “harmed” its own people, Saudi Arabia's King Salman said on Wednesday, following violent street protests in the Islamic republic.

A wave of demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit country on Friday after an announcement that petrol prices would be raised by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.

“We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realizes there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practices, without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people,” the king told the consultative Shoura Council.

“The kingdom has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies,” King Salman said, quoted by the foreign ministry, reiterating that Riyadh does not seek war but is “ready to defend its people.”

A satellite image from Sept. 15, 2017, of the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. (Google Earth)

Saudi Arabia has welcomed Washington's decision to return the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran to the sanctions list. 

Washington said on Monday that it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site. 

“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.