Saudi Art Council exhibition presents 'Jina Min Al-Taif'

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A man showcases his calligraphy at the art exhibition. (AN Photo)
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Drums can be seen at the art exhibition. (AN Photo)
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The event shed light on the history as well as the culture of Taif in different forms of art, from music and calligraphy to photography and virtual reality. (AN Photo)
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The event shed light on the history as well as the culture of Taif in different forms of art, from music and calligraphy to photography and virtual reality. (AN Photo)
Updated 24 February 2018

Saudi Art Council exhibition presents 'Jina Min Al-Taif'

JEDDAH: The 21,39 art exhibition turned the old, abandoned corners of the Pepsi Co. factory into a spectacular work of art through the sounds and colors of Taif’s rich culture on Friday. The event was to bring people together to celebrate and learn about the city.
“For us, old and abandoned is exactly what the Saudi Art Council looks for when it comes to activating and creating exhibitions because it may be dead for most people, but for us there is so much history here, and to have people come and visit is a rare opportunity,” Nada Sheikh-Yasin, manager at the Art Council, told Arab News when asked about the reason for choosing the location.
She explained that the event is new, and it is the last day the Pepsi Co. factory will hold an art exhibition.
The event sheds light on the history as well as the culture of Taif in different forms of art, from music and calligraphy to photography and virtual reality.
Locals and expatriates all gathered at the site to witness the event. “I think it’s a great event. We started off at the Saudi Art Council in Gold Moore, then came here tonight. It looks interesting and I highly recommend that everybody attends,” said Nati Marvidis, who attended the exhibition.
The event took off to the beautiful sound of the Oud (musical instrument), through the live performance of Sa’ad Al-Atif and his group. People enjoyed the music very much, clapped their hands, sang along and expressed their affiliation with Taif’s heritage.
Artist Sa’ad Al-Atif explained that the sound of Taif’s music is different from any other musical sound in the Kingdom. It has sounds specific to the city of Taif.
Taghreed Wazna, photographer and attendee, said: “It is the first time we have an event dedicated to the people of Taif, their culture, tradition and lifestyle. The rose factory was presented in a new and creative way by artist Hassan Mabrook. Many people here in Jeddah have no knowledge of the rose factory, and how they make rosewater and rose oil.”
She added: ”I have also discovered amazing photographs taken by photographers from the Association for Culture and Arts in Taif. This event taught me so much about Taif’s architecture, buildings, traditional music and dances.
“I would like to thank the Saudi Art Council for cooperating with the Association for Culture and Arts in Taif and their manager, artist Faisal Al-Khudaidi,” said Wazna.

Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

Updated 08 December 2019

Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

  • The attack, in which a Saudi gunman killed three Americans, is viewed as an act that does not represent Saudi people
  • The OIC has said the attacker did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people

From the king and top-level Saudi government officials to everyday Saudi citizens, all are united in condemning the attack on a US Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, calling it as “un-Islamic” and barbaric.

The shooting of three Americans by a Saudi gunman was an individual attack that does not represent the Kingdom’s people, it has been widely  stressed. 

For decades, many Saudis have lived in the US for work or attended universities across many states, becoming their own ambassadors. 

Nedda Akhonbay, a communications professional working in Jeddah, expressed her sadness when she heard the news.

“My condolences go out to the families of the victims as I hope they find peace in their lives after facing such a tragedy. As a Saudi-American and having spent many formative years in the US and made friends who became like family, I thought this attack was very close to home and I hope both people work together to get past it.”

“As a student who lived in the States, I never faced any problems for being a Muslim,” said Alaa Sendi, an American-Saudi lecturer working in Jeddah University.

Having obtained a PhD in electrical engineering, Dr. Nazih Al-Othmani lived between the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania for ten years in the late 1990s and was in the US during the 9/11 attacks. He recalled how Americans understood that such atrocious attacks never represented a community, and this one was no exception.

“The tragic event that took place yesterday does not represent us, this attack is unacceptable regardless of any reason and no sane person can ever accept it,” he said. “I lived in the States for many years, I was also there on 9/11, and made many American friends throughout my time there. They stood by us, they helped us, protected us and our relationship was very civil and courteous. We need to stand together to combat this dangerous tendency that can be found in every community.”

The attack at the US naval station in Pensacola, Florida, was the second incident at an American military base in this week, following another shooting at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Wednesday. (

Many Saudis are angered over the actions of this one individual. Dr. Al-Othmani expressed his concerns about those who would take advantage of the situation and try to point a finger at Saudis.

“Though right-wingers will take advantage of the event and attack Saudi Arabia, I don’t believe many Americans will see it that way. Americans are aware enough to differentiate between the nationality of an individual and his actions,” he said.

Al-Othmani recommends that Saudi students communicate, cooperate and extend a hand of friendship to their respective communities.

In the decades of friendship and cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia, many Americans have come to work in the Kingdom and some have made it their home. 

Dr. Alia Mitchell, vice dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, is an American citizen who has been a Muslim for more than 30 years and has lived in the Kingdom for more than 20 years. She has chosen to live in the Kingdom as she sees the beauty of the religion interwoven into society, one that she believes is not represented by the shooter. 

“When something tragic that happens like this, it’s on the individual,” she said. “it doesn’t go back to the community or the society.

“I’m still sickened and mostly very, very saddened with this tragedy,” said Melanie H. “I’ve a son the same age as the shooter and can’t imagine what the pain and grief his actions would do to me as a parent. To learn that your son has caused so much hell… that he has taken others’ lives.”

She said: “I lived in Saudi Arabia for over 10 years and I have experienced Saudi’s hospitality, warmth — nothing like what I imagined or expected before arriving. It isn’t perfect but then what country or nation is?” 

“Now that the country has opened its doors to the world, people really shouldn’t judge the book by its cover especially when criminals like this shooter make such a false, misleading cover.” 

Melanie H continued: “Do not judge a people by an individual — that’s what we Americans are all about. No judging.”


• King Salman leads Saudi official condemnations of Florida attack

He doesn’t represent us’: Saudis tweet in solidarity with Americans over Florida Navy base shooting

 Florida shooting ‘nothing to do with gunman’s family, tribe’

“This crime does not represent us as Saudis,” said Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, minister of Islamic Affairs, on his personal Twitter account. “We reject such criminal acts and we sympathize with the injured and the families of the victims. It is a horrible crime and a dishonest act.

“We condemn crimes anywhere and anytime, and we stress our complete rejection of such horrible criminal acts which Islam forbids.”

Saudi scholar and Imam of Quba Mosque in Madinah Saleh Al-Maghamsi shared the same notion. He said: “This incident should be stripped away from religion and from the country to which whoever committed this criminal act is affiliated. The Shariah does not approve of this act for it violates the texts of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet, which is based on the principle of no bloodshed. Logic also does not approve of this action.” 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the aggressor did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people and all Muslims who believe in tolerance, moderation and coexistence.

The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia also condemned the shooting incident in Florida and called it a heinous crime. 

Describing it as a crime against humanity, the senior scholars stressed that such actions were against the true teachings of Islam. They said that the Saudi people will continue to uphold their noble values and contribute to the progress and prosperity of the world and humanity.