Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium ends in Riyadh

The Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium was the first event of its kind in the Kingdom. (SPA)
Updated 23 March 2019

Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium ends in Riyadh

  • The artists thanked the authority for the successful organization of the event

RIYADH: The Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium ended on Friday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
It began in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter earlier this month, featuring the works of 23 artists from 18 different countries, and was held under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah, minister of culture and chairman of the board of directors of the General Authority of the Diplomatic Quarter.
The artists came from Albania, Italy, Serbia, Germany, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Denmark, Spain, Slovenia, England, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Fahd bin Mushayt, executive chairman of the General Authority of the Diplomatic Quarter, said: “The event’s importance lies in the diversity of nationalities taking part in it. This helped establish a suitable environment for cultural, expertise and experience exchange among some of the world’s most famous artists.
“The holding of such artistic and cultural events contributes to the promotion of expertise, the development of capabilities and the sustainability of such artistic fields,” he said, adding that the symposium was in line with the authority’s recently adopted strategy to promote international cultural dialogue and local culture.
The artists thanked the authority for the successful organization of the event.
The symposium’s three Saudi participants were Ali Al-Toukhais, his nephew Talal Altukhaes, and Mohammad Althagafi.
Altukhaes, who was an organizer as well as a participant, previously told Arab News that the goal of the symposium was to create an environment in which artists could share techniques, collaborate with one another, and promote a sense of camaraderie.
The symposium was attended by students, experts and the ambassadors of the artists’ countries.
Some visitors took part in the closing ceremony and were offered the opportunity to examine the sculptures and meet the artists.


Snap happy: Every face tells a story for Saudi photographer

Updated 50 min 17 sec ago

Snap happy: Every face tells a story for Saudi photographer

  • “There is something majestic about people’s faces, their expressions,” says Abdullah Al-Joghiman

DHAHRAN: Saudi portrait photographer Abdullah Al-Joghiman has a message for everybody: You are beautiful just the way you are.

If you don’t believe him, let him take your picture.

“Even if you’re not photogenic, or think you look bad in pictures, I can always turn your frown upside down,” he said.

Al-Joghiman is a full-time financial analyst for the Saudi Electricity Co., but allows plenty of time for his work as a freelance portrait and event photographer on the side.

“I started off doing landscape photography, but I love portrait photography more. Landscape photographers have to travel a lot, and I wasn’t able to commit to that lifestyle for many reasons. But since I was a child I’ve always loved taking pictures of people. There is something majestic about people’s faces, their expressions,” he told Arab News.

The 34-year-old was born in Al-Hofuf and now lives in Dammam, but his passion for photography has taken him all over the Kingdom and to other areas of the world.

Al-Joghiman at the 2018 Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai. (Supplied)

Al-Joghiman has been asked to shoot for local events such as Gamers’ Con and internationally at conventions in Kuwait, Singapore and the UAE. In 2019, he was commissioned to photograph the World Cosplay Summit in Japan, traveling with a Saudi team competing at the event for the first time.

“It was amazing, I met people from around 20 countries who came to take part,” he said. “It was a great experience.”

Completely self-taught, Al-Joghiman caught the photography bug at college and has been training himself ever since. “I’ve been dabbling in photography since high school, but I started taking it more seriously in college. I’ve been shooting professionally since 2012 or 2013,” he said.

Al-Joghiman started off humbly, with a camera-centric smartphone, but has since expanded his collection significantly, and now shoots with a variety of high-tech cameras from Sony. Now he is attracting interest from both local and international sponsors, especially in the gaming and cosplay areas.

“Cosplayers are kind of difficult to shoot because they can be perfectionists, but I love seeing the joy on their faces when they see the final pictures. That makes it worthwhile,” he said.

Al-Joghiman is happy that social restrictions on photography in Saudi Arabia are easing, allowing him to find more opportunities to do the work he loves.

“It’s difficult to take pictures of people here, especially strangers, but I can’t really blame them, considering that they are not really used to that in our culture. But things are changing and it’s much easier to be a photographer in Saudi Arabia now,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

Abdullah Al-Joghiman has been asked to shoot for local events such as Gamers’ Con and internationally at conventions in Kuwait, Singapore and the UAE. In 2019, he was commissioned to photograph the World Cosplay Summit in Japan, traveling with a Saudi team competing at the event for the first time.

He is grateful for the Ministry of Culture’s efforts to revive the Kingdom’s art scene, and has long hoped that photography will become more regulated in the country.

“The market for photography and videography really needs to be regulated. It’s hard enough putting a price on one’s work without scoping out the competition and finding that someone else is charging thousands for just a headshot when I’m doing shoots for two or three hundred,” he said.

“I love my work, and I’d love to be able to do it for free, but at the end of the day I still need to eat,” he said.

Al-Joghiman doesn’t want to limit anyone else’s opportunities but simply wants the playing field evened out a little.

“As a photographer, I just want a fair chance for everyone. More importantly, a client should know exactly what they are paying for,” he said.

His advice to young Saudis looking to become photographers is this: “If you pursue photography, don’t worry. Just do what you love, and if people tell you that they don’t look good in pictures, convince them by taking a picture of them.”

AlJoghiman’s work can be found on Instagram and Twitter (@finalecco), and on his website, https://www.eccofantasyph.com