Viral Shawarmer campaign turns into Riyadh street art

Artist Abdullah Al-Othman and Faisal Al-Rasheed, Shawarmer director of marketing, stand next to the artwork in Riyadh.
Updated 10 July 2019
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Viral Shawarmer campaign turns into Riyadh street art

The Riyadh street art scene has an unconventional new addition with the unveiling of a new piece of work from popular local artist and poet Abdullah Al-Othman.

What makes this new piece of work so unique? It is a 4-meter by 4-meter monument made up of more than 20,000 cheese graters! Titled “Light Grating,” the artwork was commissioned by the restaurant group Shawarmer after a marketing campaign for a new product became a Saudi viral sensation.

“We were launching a new sandwich in the form of a shawarma with shredded cheese as a key component, we thought it would be fun to give away sandwiches to anyone who brought in a cheese grater. We were expecting maybe 500 or 600 responses. Then it went viral and we were overwhelmed with the engagement of our customers. The next thing we know we have to figure out what to do with more than 20,000 cheese graters,” said Faisal Al-Rasheed, Shawarmer director of marketing.

While the amazing customer response was great for business, figuring out what to do with so many kitchen utensils presented an unexpected dilemma. 

“We couldn’t in good conscience send so many cheese graters to the landfill, particularly for a company that is championing Saudi Arabia’s food waste issue. With promoting local artists being such an important platform of Riyadh culture, commissioning a work of art would allow us to memorialize our Althaiybah promotion while contributing something to the Riyadh arts and culture community,” Al-Rasheed added. “What better artist to take on the challenge of finding inspiration in cheese graters than Abdullah Al-Othman, one of the best-known street artists in Saudi Arabia.”

Al-Othman specializes in unconventional and thought-provoking art installations, often incorporating a surprising and unique range of materials to make a statement. The Riyadh-born artist has had his work showcased in exhibits across the Middle East, Europe and the US, most recently participating in the New York-based UN exhibition with the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) and the Paris UNESCO art exhibition with Misk.

“With ‘basher’ meaning grater in Arabic and ‘bashar’ as a homonym meaning people, I wanted to create something that would capture and reflect the thousands of various families, homes and kitchen tables that these graters touched. I’m sure a lot of moms out there were wondering where their cheese graters went. Hopefully now those moms can see the story of their families celebrated in a fun and interesting way,” Al-Othman said.

The Saudi artist worked for more than two months building the structure in his warehouse studio. 

“We are grateful to Riyadh municipality for allowing us to share this new piece with the people of Riyadh. They have been so supportive to our local artist community and I’m proud to be able to contribute my latest work to help spread a new Saudi artistic movement,” Al-Othman added. “We also appreciate Shawarmer supporting the local arts community. It shows that with a little imagination and creative inspiration, even cheese graters can tell a meaningful story.”


PISJ-ES Plays an integral role in strengthening the Pak-Saudi socio-cultural synergy

Updated 22 September 2019

PISJ-ES Plays an integral role in strengthening the Pak-Saudi socio-cultural synergy

The first dawn of Libra marks the anniversary of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which establishes a deepest connotation, being one of the most gracious and enriching countries around the globe.

On the occasion of Saudi National Day, I extend my heartfelt felicitations to the custodian of the two Holy Mosques, His Excellency King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and people of the entire Kingdom.

With its unique eccentricity, Saudi Arabia emits such a compelling oomph that binds all who connect with it whether being an expat living miles away from their homeland or a visitor from any country, ethnicity or culture.

With the rich background, initiating from the beginning of the world itself, and induced by the timeless teachings of our last Prophet, Muhammad, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia establishes a great relation among all Muslims from around the world to reckon this land of peace and brotherhood as the spiritual hub of Islam.

Besides, its air of peace and harmony blows stirring religious inspiration for Muslims that connect them with their roots.

Millions of Muslims internationally are uniquely attracted to visit the blessed mosques of Makkah and Madinah as pilgrims to satiate their religious obligations.

Today is the day for all Saudis and those who dwell in this pure land to celebrate their individuality, peace and sovereignty as a nation.

However, alongside the celebrations, we must focus our sincere endeavors towards the development of this country in our exclusive capacities with hard work, dedication and respect for the law to preserve the country’s capabilities and achievements and take those to the new heights of glory and achievement.

Pakistan International School Jeddah - English section has been playing an integral role in strengthening our indestructible ties of the Pak-Saudi relationship.

Our students feel pride in studying its culture and language which reinforce their profound intimacy with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Both the countries maintain exemplary bilateral military, economic, security and cultural relations.

This cultural synergy is supporting to elevate the overall socio-economical structure in terms of trade, values, health and education in both the countries.

The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s overwhelmingly heartfelt statement during his recent visit to Pakistan – “I am the ambassador of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia,” not only endorses our fondness towards each other but also reflects our combined desire to take the history of our strategic relationships to a new level.

Sharing the joy of celebrating the Saudi National day with great pride and enthusiasm, I pray for the eternal peace in both the countries and their everlasting friendship.

Long live Saudi Arabia and Pak-Saudi friendship!