First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

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Saudi Arabia's first charity art auction sold 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists. (AN photo by Ruba Obaid)
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Saudi Arabia's first charity art auction sold 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists. (AN photo by Ruba Obaid)
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Saudi Arabia's first charity art auction sold 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists. (AN photo by Ruba Obaid)
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Saudi Arabia's first charity art auction sold 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists. (AN photo by Ruba Obaid)
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Saudi Arabia's first charity art auction sold 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists. (AN photo by Ruba Obaid)
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Saudi Arabia's first charity art auction sold 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists. (AN photo by Ruba Obaid)
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Saudi Arabia's first charity art auction sold 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists. (AN photo by Ruba Obaid)
Updated 27 June 2019

First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

  • The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah
  • Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetched SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction

JEDDAH: Art for Al Balad, the first charity auction of contemporary art in the Kingdom, achieved sales of SR 4.8 million ($1.3 million) on Wednesday.

The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, all of which sold, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah, on Wednesday. It was organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with auction house Christie’s.

“It was much above our expectations; we are very happy,” said Michael Jeha, chairman of Christie's Middle East.

About 200 Saudi art collectors joined artists and other members of the Saudi and international cultural communities at the event. Bidding was highly competitive, with “Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetching SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Nassif House was built in 1872. Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, was received at this house upon his entry to the city in 1925.

• The Saudi government is keen to restore and preserve buildings with historic and cultural significance, and carries out regular renovation work.

• Al-Balad, or Jeddah historic district, is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kingdom. It contains about 600 buildings that date back to the 19th century.

 

“Where to” by Prince Badr bin Abdulmohsen was the second-most expensive work, selling for SR 500,000, while “Witness in the Desert” by Abdullah Al-Sahikh attracted a winning bid of SR 380,000.

“It was extremely pleasing, very encouraging,” said Jeha. “The energy in the room was fantastic. The enthusiasm was very strong. I think for the very first auction, we can all be extremely pleased.”

Jeha described the growth of the art scene and culture in general in Saudi Arabia as very impressive, and said that the Ministry of Culture has developed a strong platform and program for the coming years, which will help to establish art and culture in the hearts and minds of people in the Kingdom.

The profits from the auction will help to establish a new heritage museum in Jeddah’s historic district and support The Help Center, a non-profit organization that provides customized support to children in the city with special educational needs.

The auction received donations and funding from galleries, cultural foundations, private collectors, and artists across the Arab World, the assistance of which was acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture.

“This would not be possible without the generous support of both the donors and the talented artists,” said Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, deputy minister of culture, in his opening speech.

The ministry aspires to create and develop a cultural environment in which artists and other creatives can access a platform that celebrates a shared identity and builds understanding between people.

Speaking of the Ministry’s three main objectives in its cultural vision for 2019, Fayez said that it aims to support the nation’s cultural transformation by promoting culture as a way of life, enable the sector to contribute to the economy, and encourage international cultural exchanges.

Before the auction, the works on sale were on display to the public in an exhibition on June 23 and 24.

 


Kingdom’s Dalma Malhas to participate in Diriyah Equestrian Festival

Updated 19 November 2019

Kingdom’s Dalma Malhas to participate in Diriyah Equestrian Festival

  • The upcoming Diriyah Equestrian Festival will be a huge moment for the Kingdom’s female riders and will fire up future generations
  • The festival at the Al Duhami Farm on the outskirts of historic Diriyah will be the first FEI sanctioned competition in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: She was the first female athlete from Saudi Arabia to ride for the Kingdom in an Olympic-level event, now Dalma Malhas is dreaming of competing in her own country for the first time ever.

Back in 2010, Malhas rode to glory in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 in Singapore and won a bronze medal in the 14 to 18 age group, becoming only the third Saudi athlete at that point to win an Olympic medal.

But now Malhas is looking forward to another milestone in her sporting career riding in a mixed Saudi national equestrian team for the first ever time on home soil in the upcoming Diriyah Equestrian Festival.

“It’s a rendezvous I’ve been dreaming about for a very long time. I am really excited, this is going to be a first time for me competing on home soil. I’ve been all over the world, I did the World Championships, I’ve really been everywhere except Saudi Arabia," she said.

The festival at the Al Duhami Farm on the outskirts of historic Diriyah will be the first FEI sanctioned competition in Saudi Arabia, with points earned counting towards qualification for individual riders to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the World Cup.

Across six days, from Dec. 12-14 and 19-21, the event will welcome 150 riders, 150 grooms, 50 officials, 300 companions and trainers, 250 members of the club and 150 crew members. Some 1,500 visitors are expected to attend and will witness Saudi Arabia’s hospitality with the offering of 15 food trucks catering to international cuisines, 10 shops and game and federation exhibitors.

Dalma Malhas is dreaming of competing in her own country for the first time ever. (Supplied)

While it will be the first time the mixed Saudi team will compete in the Kingdom, it isn’t the first time they have ridden together competitively, that watershed moment came at the Nations Cup in October’s Morocco Royal Tour.

“Honestly it was wonderful, this is going along with everything that is happening in the country and Vision 2030. There is a big push to move forward," Malhas said.

The Diriyah Equestrian Festival is part of the Diriyah Season, an epic month of iconic sports events such as Formula E, top-class men’s tennis and a World Heavyweight Title fight – The Clash On The Dunes.

The stunning UNESCO World Heritage site Diriyah will also stage performances from some of the biggest music artists on the planet.

Dalma Malhas is dreaming of competing in her own country for the first time ever. (Supplied)

Olympic equestrian hero Ramzy Al-Duhami, who won team bronze in the London 2012 Games, and his wife and partner Sara Baban, are hosting the event at the bespoke riding arena they have created together. Both firmly believe that the DEF 2019 can provide a massive boost to female equestrianism in the country.

“The field is open now in Saudi Arabia for female equestrianism and women are being seen as partners to men and capable of supporting the progress of the equestrianism in international events, which will reflect on the development of the sport," Al-Duhami said.

“I am excited for the girls; I’ve been rooting for them all this time.  There are so many girls at our school that want to ride and actually they are more motivated than the boys," Baban said.