Renowned calligraphers display their work at Saudi Arabia’s Souq Okaz

The show allows visitors to learn more about the techniques used in creating art work. SPA
Updated 09 July 2018

Renowned calligraphers display their work at Saudi Arabia’s Souq Okaz

  • The souq is a unique chance to dive into a 1,000-year-old culture
  • The souq represents an important chapter in the history of the Arabs before Islam

MAKKAH: The Makkah Development Authority took part in cultural events at the 12th annual Souq Okaz by displaying 20 creative works by famous calligraphers at the pavilion of Arabic calligraphy in Okaz Cultural Avenue.
The calligraphy show allows visitors and interested people to learn more about the participating calligraphers’ experiences and techniques used in creating their work. Authentic calligraphy of a series of verses from the Qur’an and proverbs formed the main content of the show. There were Saudi calligraphers such as Nasser Al-Maymoun and Fahd Al-Mujhidi, calligraphers from the Gulf and Arab states such as Zaki Al-Hashimi, and some of the best calligraphers from the Islamic world, including Daood Biktash and Othman Ozjay.
They aimed to promote and encourage visitors’ interest in Arabic calligraphy and related arts. It also represents an initiative by the authority to honor the calligraphers who have made special contributions in the field of calligraphy and modern arts. The show invites interested visitors to benefit from special events to develop their skills, and achieve the authority’s goals of promoting the cultural aspects of society.
Souq Okaz is a unique tourism destination in Taif, and is considered one of the most important in the Kingdom.
For 1,500 years, the festival has organized poetry contests, horse shows and textile workshops. It has become a go-to annual event for those wishing to discover Saudi Arabia’s roots.
In this mountainous town in the middle of the desert, one can discover the foundations of Saudi culture through shows, traditional clothing, handicrafts, art and textiles. The souq is a unique chance to dive into a 1,000-year-old culture.
Many tourists from around the world visit the souq, which has provided a unique historical and artistic forum gathering intellectuals and people interested in literature and culture.
Souq Okaz last year introduced a new event, “Narrator’s Tent” under the supervision of the King Abdul Aziz Research Center (Darah), in which six narrators, four from the GCC countries and two from Saudi Arabia, recounted historical stories about the most important historical events of the Arabian Peninsula.
Okaz Avenue, where most of the events and performances are organized, is considered the most important element of the Souq Okaz. It also includes a number of cultural and heritage events, and theater performances. The Souq Okaz over the years has witnessed comprehensive development due to the efforts of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-
The souq represents an important chapter in the history of the Arabs before Islam. It was more than a trade fair, serving as a cultural, social, economic and political gathering of Arabs.
This year’s edition, which will end on July 13, was opened under the patronage of King Salman, with Egypt the honorary guest.
This is the second edition since the king gave the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) the responsibility of organizing the event, in coordination with executive bodies in Makkah and Taif.

Ithra marks National Day with exhibitions, competitions and performances

Updated 23 September 2020

Ithra marks National Day with exhibitions, competitions and performances

  • The study reveals a need to protect and preserve Saudi heritage in the face of cultural homogenization

RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is marking Saudi Arabia’s 90th National Day with exhibitions, a scavenger hunt, a fine dining pop-up, and artistic performances.

The center started its National Day celebrations on Sept. 21 and the activities run through to Sept. 26. 

Rania Biltagi, the head of communication and partnerships at Ithra, said she hoped that people this year would ask themselves what being Saudi meant to them.

“I am proud to be part of an organization created as a creative and cultural destination perfectly positioned to drive and participate in conversations such as these,” she told Arab News. “Our mandate involves igniting cultural curiosity, exploring knowledge and inspiring creativity, and it’s a task we don’t take lightly.”

“Saudi at heart, multicultural by nature” had been the Ithra motto from the start, she said, and the center was always looking inward even as it looked outward.

Biltagi shared the results of research that Ithra had conducted about the impact of globalization on Saudi Arabia’s culture.

“The study reveals a need to protect and preserve Saudi heritage in the face of cultural homogenization. However, it also shows that Saudis are willing and able to embrace modernity and globalization while still cherishing their unique national identity.”

Ithra has created the “Kingdom of Cultures” exhibition, which will take visitors on an interactive and state-of-the-art journey through Saudi Arabia’s lands and tell stories about the Saudi people. It will also feature crafts, dialects and customs.

Writer and Saudi heritage expert Ali Ibrahim Moghawi said he was honored to be participating in the festival as part of the “Flower Men” booth.

“To be representing our great nation at the very place where oil was first discovered, a place that represents the heart of progress in Saudi Arabia, the place that has done the most to respect our heritage and support every Saudi generation future, past, and present, is an honor,” he told Arab News.

Ithra has scheduled musical performances from Saudi band Al-Farabi, which will also feature the pianist Abeer Balubaid and singer Ameen Farsi. Award-winning poet Abdulatif Almubarak will host an evening of poetry – “Aswat” – accompanied by musicians in a celebration of Saudi civilization.

The center has devised a pop-up restaurant called Takya, which will offer guests a fine dining experience with Saudi fusion cuisine and modern takes on old favorites.

It has also announced plans to revamp and renovate an old farmer’s market in Alkhobar’s Al-Ulaya district to give it an energetic and artsy edge. The covered space is being redecorated and will feature areas for art and music, in addition to a dedicated and upgraded space where local farmers can sell their produce.

Ithra plans to curate installations at the market to make it more visually appealing as well as to take art and creativity directly to the community.

It has scheduled two celebration sessions a day with limited space and occupancy. The first runs from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. while the second is from 8:30 p.m. until midnight.

Tickets to the events, as well as the special performances, are available on Ithra’s website.