AlUla mesmerises Paris as ‘Wonder of Arabia’ exhibition opens in French capital

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A unique exhibition - ‘Wonder of Arabia’ - opened its doors to art and history lovers on Monday evening on the banks of the river Seine in Paris. The event was attended by Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah. (Nicolas Kalogeropoulos)
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A unique exhibition - ‘Wonder of Arabia’ - opened its doors to art and history lovers on Monday evening on the banks of the river Seine in Paris. (Nicolas Kalogeropoulos)
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A unique exhibition - ‘Wonder of Arabia’ - opened its doors to art and history lovers on Monday evening on the banks of the river Seine in Paris. (Nicolas Kalogeropoulos)
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A unique exhibition - ‘Wonder of Arabia’ - opened its doors to art and history lovers on Monday evening on the banks of the river Seine in Paris. (Nicolas Kalogeropoulos)
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Jack Lang and Amr Al-Madani at the event. (Nicolas Kalogeropoulos)
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Amr Al-Madani at the event. (Nicolas Kalogeropoulos)
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A unique exhibition - ‘Wonder of Arabia’ - opened its doors to art and history lovers on Monday evening on the banks of the river Seine in Paris. (Nicolas Kalogeropoulos)
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A unique exhibition - ‘Wonder of Arabia’ - opened its doors to art and history lovers on Monday evening on the banks of the river Seine in Paris. (Nicolas Kalogeropoulos)
Updated 07 October 2019

AlUla mesmerises Paris as ‘Wonder of Arabia’ exhibition opens in French capital

  • Unique exhibition ‘Wonder of Arabia’ opens in Paris
  • The exhibition presents the treasures of the ancient cultural centre of the region

PARIS: A unique exhibition opened its doors to art and history lovers on Monday evening on the banks of the river Seine in Paris.

The ‘Wonder of Arabia’ exhibition will present the treasures of the ancient cultural centre of the Saudi Aarabian region of the AlUla valley.

It was opened at the Institut du Monde Arabe (Institute of the Arab World) by the Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah and his French counterpart, Franck Riester, in a lavish ceremony. 

Also present at the event were the director general of UNESCO Irina Bokova, IMA president Jack Lang and noted architect Jean Nouvel, as well as other guests hailing from the fields of archaeology, arts, history, culture, environmental and natural sciences.

The exhibition, occupying three floors in the Institute, takes the visitor through the valley — its nature, history, culture and the work being done by leading archaeologists from all over the world, but notably Saudis and the French.

Addressing a press conference about the exhibition and  the AlUla region, Amr Al-Madani, chief executive officer of the Royal Commission for AlUla, said the first phase of the project, covering dozens of sites and spread over a large area, would be completed by the end of 2023. 

‘’But from October 2020, visitors from all over the world will be able to see for themselves this cradle of civilization that has been at the historic crossroads connecting Europe, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Asia,’’ he added.

Talking about the importance of the site, Al-Madani said that AlUla represented an important piece of the history for the entire region and due to its strategic location and continuous inhabitation, saying it could unlock some of the mysteries that still surround the history of parts of the Middle East.

Lang, a former French Minister, said he was captivated when he discovered AlUla for himself the first time five years ago.

He said that it was then when he decided to enhance cooperation between French and Saudi researchers, historians and archaeologists to jointly present the jewel of AlUla to the rest of the world.

Visitors to the exhibition can also see impressive immersive photography shot by renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

The exhibition in Paris will formally open its doors to the public on Wednesday October 9 and will run until January 19 next year. It has been jointly curated by Laila Nehmé and Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani.


Plan approved to establish Institute of Traditional Arts in Saudi Arabia

The minister of culture announced last August that academies will be evaluated according to the market’s needs. (SPA)
Updated 23 October 2019

Plan approved to establish Institute of Traditional Arts in Saudi Arabia

  • The Institute of Traditional Arts aims to preserve the local identity through teaching arts, contributing to the preservation and development of the Saudi heritage, graduating qualified practitioners, and using arts to raise awareness

RIYADH: The minister of culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, on Tuesday, adopted a plan to establish the Institute of Traditional Arts at the Royal Academy of Arts.
The institute will begin receiving applications for the fall of 2020, targeting 1,000 students and trainees in long- and short-term programs.
The Institute of Traditional Arts aims to preserve the local identity through teaching arts, contributing to the preservation and development of the Saudi heritage, graduating qualified practitioners, and using arts to raise awareness.
The institute also aims to encourage artists through programs or partnership with relevant sectors.
The institute is part of the Academies of Arts’ initiative, which was announced in the Ministry of Culture’s first package last March, and the among the quality of life program’s initiatives. The minister of culture announced last August that academies will be evaluated according to the market’s needs, with the first being specialized in heritage and traditional arts and crafts.