Gharem Studio helping budding but undiscovered artists

Gharem Studio has served as a launching platform for many young Saudi artists across multiple artistic disciplines. (Supplied photo)
Updated 14 January 2019

Gharem Studio helping budding but undiscovered artists

  • Gharem Studio has collaborated with the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran
  • It has toured 10 art exhibitions within the US, with each exhibition featuring between 30 and 35 artists

JEDDAH: Saudi artists and brothers Abdulnasser and Ajlan Gharem are the founders of a not-for-profit art studio dedicated to encouraging individual thought and self-expression. 

Having first opened in 2013, Gharem Studio has served as a launching platform for many young Saudi artists across multiple artistic disciplines. 

The Gharem brothers founded their art studio with the goal of helping kick-start the careers of budding but undiscovered Saudi artists. 

The studio has collaborated with the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran and has toured 10 art exhibitions within the US, with each exhibition featuring between 30 and 35 artists. 

Their dedication to cultivating the Saudi contemporary art scene has helped expose many talented up-and-coming local artists.

“Art has become a platform to which audiences and curators can gather and conversation can begin,” said Abdulnasser.

“As artists, we always look to light the spark of a conversation. Right now, we are living in a time of great change, especially with Vision 2030, which has invigorated the cultural body with energy and vibrancy, and I believe it is now up to young men and women to invest in those resources.” 

Ajlan is a multi-disciplinary artist with an interest in how Saudis articulate their culture through art. 

In a world of increased globalization, he is particularly interested in Saudi culture and the constant change of power dynamics. In the current climate of rapid development across the Gulf region, Ajlan’s work focuses on the balance of power between the individual and the state, with an emphasis on his generation’s ability to create change.

Ajlan received his undergraduate degree in mathematics at King Khalid University and he has frequently used his formal analytical training to influence his art. 

His most famous art installation has been his conceptual work, “Paradise Has Many Gates.”

The art piece has been displayed in Saudi Arabia, the US, Bahrain, and most recently in Canada’s Vancouver Biennale. 

The life-sized conceptual art installation has the structural appearance of a mosque consisting completely of chain-linked steel fence materials. 

While the controversial artwork may invoke feelings of restriction or unrest through its caged structure, it also symbolizes religious transparency. 

Being exhibited in a Western country, the piece invites viewers to recognize the way Islam is unfairly perceived. 


Six Flags: “We will break records for the fastest, biggest and longest rides.”

Updated 18 min 34 sec ago

Six Flags: “We will break records for the fastest, biggest and longest rides.”

  • Speaking at the Misk Global Forum, Centola said the efforts made for Qiddiyah would make it the city of the future
  • The Oscar-winner and mind behind the “Born a King” biopic of King Faisal explained that the story of the Saudi monarch was a great external promotion for the Kingdom

RIYADH: Mario Centola, the vice president of international operations and business development at Six Flags Entertainment, said government support for Qiddiyah was facilitating expansion that would help the company attract tourists and business to Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at the Misk Global Forum, Centola stated his firm was aiming to build “the biggest, fastest, longest, steepest roller coaster by far in the world ... you will only get to experience that type of ride and this type of park right outside Riyadh.”

He explained during his participation in a session at the forum, entitled “Entertainment is serious business,” that the efforts made for Qiddiyah would make it the city of the future, pointing out that the latest technology would be in every part of the city.

He mentioned how innovation in the Kingdom was creating great job opportunities, especially in the field of entertainment, and he called on Saudis to seize the opportunities ahead of them.

Also speaking, the Spanish producer and CEO of Lola Films, Andrés Gomes, pointed out that his relationship with Saudi Arabia began 10 years ago.

The Oscar-winner and mind behind the “Born a King” biopic of King Faisal explained that the story of the Saudi monarch was a great external promotion for the Kingdom, given its international storyline, with 70 percent of its events taking place in the UK.

“We have to make films that people like … Saudi Arabia should be very careful to not be invaded by foreign cultures for your movies and TV,” he said.

“Of course, you have not had the time to develop your own productions, but that’s what you have to ask your government for — you have to ask for support.”

Shinji Shimizu, senior director and producer at Toei Animation, talked about his own first visit to Saudi Arabia a decade ago, and his vision of the interest of young Saudis in Japanese animators.

“Animation was established 63 years ago. I had been working with the company for 42 years … Japanese animation was gradually enjoyed by young people, by lots of people.

“Young people are very talented and they absorb very quickly, and they want to express Saudi culture. We are working with a Japanese crew and we are having a tremendously enjoyable time together.”

Alabbas Bin Alabbas, the founder of Alsahar Animation, stressed the importance of this period for the Saudi people, as the country opens up to entertainment and the arts, stressing the importance of animation as a magnet for children, in addition to the great energy that exists among young people encouraged and supported by the government.

“I think now it’s our turn to contribute to the world, to show who we are, what our stories are,” he said.