Saudi heritage event aims to carve out future for traditional woodcrafts

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The cultural event titled Al-Ahsa Creative highlighted some of the many traditions of the area including music and handicrafts. (Photo/Supplied)
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The cultural event titled Al-Ahsa Creative highlighted some of the many traditions of the area including music and handicrafts. (Photo/Supplied)
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The cultural event titled Al-Ahsa Creative highlighted some of the many traditions of the area including music and handicrafts. (Photo/Supplied)
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The cultural event titled Al-Ahsa Creative highlighted some of the many traditions of the area including music and handicrafts. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 29 March 2019

Saudi heritage event aims to carve out future for traditional woodcrafts

  • Wood-carving has played an important part in Al-Ahsa’s history

AL-AHSA: Traditional woodcrafts ingrained in a Saudi region’s heritage were showcased at a major festival event.
Wood-carving has played an important part in Al-Ahsa’s history, and experts in the art demonstrated their skills at one of the latest Sharqiah Season attractions taking place in the Eastern Province.
Male and female artists from Al-Ahas are aiming to breathe new life into the ancient craft which has been passed down through generations.
The wood carvings from the region take on many shapes and forms, with triangles being the most popular, and often incorporate calligraphy.
The cultural event titled Al-Ahsa Creative highlighted some of the many traditions of the area including music and handicrafts.
Abdullah Al-Shabaan, 70, has been producing wood carvings since he was 10 years old and is the last person in his family carrying on the tradition.
“I started practicing this craft with my grandfather and uncle, and I would create items after school and on vacations with both of them. The craft brings me peace and I cannot let go of it,” Al-Shabaan told Arab News.
Although his children have not followed in his footsteps, Al-Shabaan has held tutorials for those wishing to learn the craft.
“In 2016 I held a workshop for four females and a male, and one of the women really excelled. Then in 2017 I taught a group of five women and two men, and last year I was teaching 17 young men. Young people remain interested in this craft and are still holding on to it,” he added.
Fatimah Al-Hmoudi, 39, is a visual artist who started carving wood two years ago.
“Women are a minority in this field, and so I’m happy to be among those women who practice this art. I like to merge the past with the present, and as someone from Al-Ahsa I want to hold onto our heritage,” she said. “I am interested in all of Al-Ahsa’s history and want to showcase its identity.”
Al-Hmoudi pointed to one of her artworks shaped as a palm tree and with the word “Al-Ahsa” engraved on it in Arabic. “The palm tree symbolizes Al-Ahsa, and I added patterns that are specific to Al-Ahsa,” she added.
One visitor to the event, Shahad Al-Ghamdi, told Arab News: “Al-Ahsa has developed in so many ways. Culture is being showcased all the time, and we are provided with great entertainment events.”


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