Saudi Culture Ministry to take part in major international AI exhibition in Russia

Open forum during a discussion on digital transformation projects during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018 on May 26 last year. (Credit: RosCongress)
Updated 25 May 2019

Saudi Culture Ministry to take part in major international AI exhibition in Russia

  • The exhibition will be launched during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum
  • The Ministry of Culture aims to support Saudi artists and promote cultural dialogue with the world through various arts initiatives

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Culture is to take part in a major international exhibition aimed at exploring the future role of artificial intelligence (AI).

And two artists from the Kingdom, Lulwah Al-Homoud and Dania Al-Saleh, will be taking center stage to showcase their work at next month’s event in Russia.

The exhibition will be launched during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), at which delegates will discuss the latest advances in AI technology and tackle the question: “What will happen next?”

Saudi duo Al-Homoud and Al-Saleh will join with artists from throughout the world for the expo, titled “Artificial Intelligence and Intercultural Dialogue,” which will open in the State Hermitage Museum’s general staff building in St. Petersburg, on June 6, the first day of the SPIEF gathering, and run until July 7.

The artists’ work will show how traditional and future elements can be mixed to express creative concepts, such as the combining of ancient Arabic calligraphy with AI.

Al-Homoud is known for expressing creativity through abstract shapes. She holds a master’s degree from Central Saint Martins’ college of arts and design in England, with a specialization in Islamic art. She has coordinated exhibitions around the world, including the Shanghai Duolun Museum, in China, and the Saudi Art Gallery at the School of Oriental And African Studies in London.

Her works were also acquired by the Five Continents Museum in Munich, Germany, and the LACMA art museum in Los Angeles.

Al-Saleh explores “the voice” of infrastructure and the complexities of language through her work. In her Ithra prize-winning piece “Phoneme,” she sought to divide language into a smaller unit, concentrating on Arabic letters, and searching for their origin in order to prove their communicative power among humans.

To do this, Al-Saleh, who is studying for a master’s degree in computer science at Goldsmiths, University of London, created a program to produce 28 scribbles representing the alphabet.

By taking part in the Russian expo, the Ministry of Culture aims to support Saudi artists and promote cultural dialogue with the world through various arts initiatives.

The exhibition, organized by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Hermitage, will be attended by world-renowned artists including Mario Klingemann from Germany, Sun Xun from China, Team Void from South Korea, American computer animator Jonathan Monaghan, and Norimichi Hirakawa of Japan.


Comic book fans unite at Stan Lee Super Con in Riyadh

Updated 52 sec ago

Comic book fans unite at Stan Lee Super Con in Riyadh

  • Part of Riyadh Season, Anime Expo brings together creative minds for a first-of-its-kind agreement

RIYADH: The Stan Lee Super Con kick-started at the Riyadh Front, providing a place for comic book fans to express themselves.

The conventions were divided into two parts — Anime Con and the Stan Lee Super Con. The Super Con was a comic nerd’s dream come true, bringing together everything from the Batmobile, the Delorian from “Back to the Future” and the time-traveling Tardis from “Doctor Who.”

The convention also brought together a variety of celebrities, including actors, creators and famous artists.

The comic book artist Bob Layton, best known for his work in Marvel Comics’ “Iron Man” and “Hercules” sat in a booth to give autographs to star-struck fans.

“I am looking forward to seeing Saudi Arabia very much — because of work I haven’t seen much. When I travel, I am more interested in where culture is than where it has been, especially in Saudi Arabia because this country is opening up and it is very exciting,” Layton told Arab News.

“I am very glad to be meeting so many Saudis here, since they come here to see me. Americans have a very warped perception of Muslim countries and I don’t share that because once you get to meet the people you see that we are very much alike.”

He shared his story of how he got into comics, which tells of how useful of a tool comic books can be: He learned how to read by reading comics.

“All the pictures made sense to me and as a child it made me want to understand what was in the text balloons, so I became a reader at the age of four. If they can teach a four-year-old how to read, they can teach a lot of things to a lot of people.

“Part of my achievement as a comic artist is that my work has transcended comics and became global. So, now wherever I go in the world I see that comics have become universal.”

The actor Sam J. Jones, who played the infamous “Flash Gordon” in the 1980 film, was also present.

FASTFACT

Saudi Arabia and Japan have signed an agreement to bring ‘Captain Tsubasa,’ created by Yoichi Takahashi, back to the small screen. The cartoon, known as ‘Captain Majid’ in the Arab world, is an old-school favorite in the Middle East. The anime is expected to air on Dec. 1 on MBC.

He said he was thrilled to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time, and was deeply moved by the positive attitude of the Saudi people.

“Even before I stepped in Saudi Arabia I traveled with Saudi Airlines, and even in Los Angeles when I arrived at the ticket counter everybody was smiling, and people haven’t stopped since.

“I did the panel and met people afterward and the fans have been amazing. It is a blessing to be here in Riyadh for the first time, I am used to doing comic cons but this being my first time in Saudi Arabia is amazing and hopefully, there will be more to come.”

Melinda Jean, a cosplayer, walked among the crowd with a magnificent cape, dressed up as the popular villain Hela from “Thor: Ragnarok.” She was extremely excited to be a part of the Super Con, she said.

“I am so excited — it is my first time being in Saudi Arabia. It is so surreal that we are here, and we get to do this. I will be sharing my tips and tricks on how to become a cosplayer and get into cosplay so I will be here all weekend.”