Saudi Arabia’s Princess Lamia opens new and improved Islamic art space at Louvre in Paris

1 / 7
Princess Lamia expressed hope that the newly expanded spaces would play a role in strengthening understanding of the rich artistic culture of Islamic history. (Alwaleed Philanthropies)
2 / 7
Visitors to the exhibition will be shown the evolution of Islamic art and how it influenced and, in turn, was influenced by other artistic traditions. (Arab News)
3 / 7
Visitors to the exhibition will be shown the evolution of Islamic art and how it influenced and, in turn, was influenced by other artistic traditions. (Arab News)
4 / 7
Visitors to the exhibition will be shown the evolution of Islamic art and how it influenced and, in turn, was influenced by other artistic traditions. (Arab News)
5 / 7
Visitors to the exhibition will be shown the evolution of Islamic art and how it influenced and, in turn, was influenced by other artistic traditions. (Arab News)
6 / 7
Visitors to the exhibition will be shown the evolution of Islamic art and how it influenced and, in turn, was influenced by other artistic traditions. (Arab News)
7 / 7
Visitors to the exhibition will be shown the evolution of Islamic art and how it influenced and, in turn, was influenced by other artistic traditions. (Arab News)
Updated 12 September 2019

Saudi Arabia’s Princess Lamia opens new and improved Islamic art space at Louvre in Paris

  • Exhibition contains 3,000 pieces dating from the 7th to the 19th centuries
  • Expansion part of ongoing partnership between Louvre and Alwaleed Philanthropies

PARIS: A new space at the Louvre Museum in Paris showcasing more than 12 centuries of Islamic art was unveiled on Tuesday by Princess Lamia bint Majed Al-Saud, the secretary general of Alwaleed Philanthropies.

Boasting one of the most extensive collections of Muslim art and artifacts in the world, the new department contains 3,000 items collected from Spain to India via the Arabian peninsula and dating from the 7th century to the 19th.

Visitors to the exhibition will be shown the evolution of Islamic art and how it influenced and, in turn, was influenced by other artistic traditions.

The expansion over two floors was supported by Alwaleed Philanthropies, which has a longstanding partnership with the Paris museum dating back nearly 20 years. The global foundation chaired by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal donated $23 million in 2005 to help build the museum’s department of Islamic art.

Princess Lamia expressed hope that the newly expanded spaces would play a role in strengthening understanding of the rich artistic culture of Islamic history.

Speaking at the event, she said: “The new and expanded spaces allow visitors to enjoy world-class Islamic art and appreciate the shared human values expressed in its creativity. Importantly, this space has also been designed to be inclusive of everyone.”

Jean-Luc Martinez, Louvre president, thanked  Alwaleed Philanthropies “for its commitment in favor of the Islamic Arts Department.”

“Thanks to this redesign, we hope to reach even more visitors, and provide them the keys to understanding the wonderful artistic heritage with which we have been entrusted,” he added.


Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year

Awareness campaigns highlight the importance of trees. (Shutterstock)
Updated 56 min 47 sec ago

Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year

  • The fine for cutting down a tree can reach SR5,000 ($1,333) while the fine for transporting logs is SR10,000

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year through destruction and tree logging.
Trees help stop desertification because they are a stabilizer of soil. In the Arabian Peninsula, land threatened by desertification ranges from 70 to 90 percent. A national afforestation campaign was launched in Saudi Arabia last October, and there is a national plan set to run until this April.
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said that although natural vegetation across the country had suffered in the past four decades, modern technologies such as satellites and drones could be used to track down individuals or businesses harming the Kingdom’s vegetation.
“Harsh penalties should be imposed on violators such as the seizure or confiscation of transport and hefty fines,” Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sugair, chairman of the Environmental Green Horizons Society, told Arab News.
These were long-term solutions and they needed coordination with authorities to ensure warehouses and markets did not stock logs or firewood, he said. Another solution was sourcing an alternative product from overseas that was of high quality and at a reasonable price. A third was to provide support to firewood and coal suppliers.
“The general public needs to be more aware of the importance of trees and should have a strong sense of responsibility toward these trees,” Al-Sugair added.
“They should also stop buying firewood in the market. We can also encourage investment in wood production through agricultural holdings as well as implement huge afforestation projects and irrigate them from treated sewage water.”
The fine for cutting down a tree can reach SR5,000 ($1,333) while the fine for transporting logs is SR10,000. These fines could not be implemented as they should be because there were no available staff to monitor and catch violators and, to make matters worse said Al-Sugair, there was a weak level of coordination between authorities.
Most of the Kingdom’s regions have suffered in some way from tree felling, and some places no longer have trees. These violations are rampant in the south and Madinah regions, as well as in Hail and Al-Nafud Desert.
Riyadh is the most active and the largest market for firewood. Many people in Al-Qassim use firewood as do restaurants in some parts of Saudi Arabia.
Omar Al-Nefaee, a microbiology professor at the Ministry of Education in Taif, said the reason behind the widescale destruction of the environment could be attributed to a supply shortage of imported firewood.
“Tree logging causes an environmental disequilibrium,” he told Arab News. “The Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water has launched an initiative raising public awareness on the issue and is asking people not to use local firewood. Several awareness campaigns have been launched for the same purpose to educate people about the importance of using imported wood instead of the local wood in order to protect the Kingdom’s vegetation.”
Official reports warn that the Kingdom has lost 80 percent of its vegetation and that the drop will have a detrimental effect on its biodiversity, as well as causing great damage to the environment.
The general public should use other heating options during the winter and stop using firewood, Al-Nefaee said.
Some local studies have called for farms that can produce wood from plants that do not consume too much water and do not affect vegetation, while at the same time reducing the pressure on other regions in the Kingdom that are rich in animal resources.
Falih Aljuhani, who runs a business that imports wood from Georgia, encouraged Saudi firms to import wood from the Balkans because it was a competitive market and the trees had low carbon percentages.