DHAHRAN: The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) has marked the opening of its museum’s inaugural exhibitions on Tuesday and Wednesday. The opening was part of Tanween, Ithra’s creativity season, a 17-day event that explores creativity in art, music, film, theater, science, literature, cultural heritage and entrepreneurship.
Ali Al-Mutairi, director of Ithra, said the museum is an essential part of Ithra, and an important supporter of achieving the center’s goals. The museum seeks to spread knowledge, help in cross-culture interaction and sponsor national content through attracting visitors to the exhibitions and the varied interactive performances.
He said: “The Center’s mission is to offer developmental and educational programs in this sector that is considered to be new in the Kingdom; in addition to introducing the visitors to the great art — contemporary and Islamic — and natural science. The overall goal of the center is to achieve a society of innovation, knowledge and creativity in line with Vision 2030.”
During the ceremony, short films specially produced for this event were showcased, including the documentation of the setting-up of the exhibitions and the “Damascus Room,” an 18th-century room on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Dr. Linda Komaroff, curator of Islamic art and head of Middle Eastern art at LACMA, attended the opening.
To finish the event, visitors toured the galleries, beginning with contemporary Saudi and Middle Eastern art, followed by Saudi identity and heritage, Islamic art and its impact, and concluding with the natural history of the Arabian Peninsula.
The 6,000 square-meter museum includes four galleries: Funoon Gallery showcases the best of Saudi and Middle Eastern modern and contemporary art; Ajyaal Gallery gives visitors the chance to explore the history of Saudi heritage; Kunooz Gallery encompasses works of significant value in Islamic history dating back to the establishment of Islam in the 7th century and representing the diversity of Islamic art from across three continents; Rehlaat Gallery is the most interactive gallery — it includes screens and voice effects to exhibit wildlife and nature through the Arabian Peninsula’s geographical history.