Auction of contemporary Middle Eastern art to benefit Jeddah’s Al-Balad historic district

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The Nassif House in Al-Balad served as the royal residence of Saudi Arabia’s founder Abdulaziz Ibn Saud upon his entry to the city in 1925. (Courtesy Saudi Ministry of Culture)
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The Nassif House in Al-Balad served as the royal residence of Saudi Arabia’s founder Abdulaziz Ibn Saud upon his entry to the city in 1925. (Courtesy Saudi Ministry of Culture)
Updated 31 May 2019

Auction of contemporary Middle Eastern art to benefit Jeddah’s Al-Balad historic district

DUBAI: The Saudi Ministry of Culture and auction house Christie’s on June 26 will hold a special charity auction of contemporary Middle Eastern art to benefit a new heritage museum in Jeddah’s historic district and a children’s non-profit organization also in the city.

The event, Art for Al-Balad, is the first of its kind in the Kingdom with over 40 works donated for sale by collectors, artists and gallerists in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries. Among those who contributed artworks include the Mansouriah Foundation for Culture and Creativity, Ayyam Gallery, Agial Gallery, Al-Marsa Gallery, Elmarsa Gallery, Hafez Gallery as well as Rochan Galler, Mazen Soueid, George Alama, Hamza Bounoua, Abdullah K. Al-Turki and Qaswra Hafez.

Proceeds from the sales will support the creation of a dedicated heritage museum that will tell the story of the Al-Balad’s unique history and the Help Center, a Jeddah-based children’s non-profit organization which provides tailored support to children with special educational needs, a statement from the organizers said.

Al-Balad, situated on Saudi Arabia’s western Red Sea coast, boasts of 600 buildings dating back to the 19th century – including traditional tower houses with distinctive wooden tops or ‘roshan’ – and is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kingdom.

“A dedicated Al-Balad Museum is an important cause that will play a crucial role in historic Jeddah’s preservation and regeneration. It will showcase a part of Saudi Arabia’s heritage to a wide audience and ensure that culture is embedded into Saudi citizens’ everyday lives for generations to come,” said Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah.

Arts and culture have the power to transform lives, and this is clearly demonstrated by this group of talented artists donating their work to support the Al-Balad Museum and the Help Center.”


All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

Updated 21 October 2019

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

  • About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first all-female tourist group has explored the environmental and archaeological wonders of Tabuk in the northwest of the Kingdom.

About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea.

“They were astonished to see such sights in their country, especially the area of Ras Al-Sheikh Humaid,” said Heba Al-Aidai, a tour guide in Tabuk who organized the trip.

“They did not expect to see such a place in Saudi Arabia. They looked speechless while standing close to the turquoise water of the sea. It is a truly breathtaking view.”

Al-Aidai and her colleague Nafla Al-Anazi promoted the trip on social media and attracted a group of homemakers, teachers and staff workers from all over the Kingdom, aged from 22 to over 50.

The tour was educational, too, and the women were told about the history of the places they visited. “They were taken to the Caves of Shuaib (Magha’er Shuaib), the place where Prophet Moses fled after leaving Egypt, and where he got married to one of the daughters of Prophet Shuaib, according to some historians. It was really a positive experience,” Al-Aidai said.

The visitors also explored Tayeb Ism, a small town in northwestern Tabuk, where there is a well-known gap in the towering mountains through which water runs throughout the year.

Al-Aidai said such trips aim to encourage tourism in Tabuk, and introduce Saudi tourists and other visitors to the landmarks of the region.