Saudi graffiti adds color to MDL Beast music festival

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(AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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(AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Revelers bathed in flashing laser lights, danced and swayed to blasting music during three-day MDL Beast. It was described as the biggest festival ever hosted by the Kingdom. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 27 December 2019

Saudi graffiti adds color to MDL Beast music festival

  • Artist Noura Binsaidan’s murals stood out in an event that invited Western cultural influences

JEDDAH: The mesmerizing eyes of an Arabian girl on large shipping containers met thousands of fans as they entered the MDL Beast festival, for what would be a weekend of superb musical entertainment from the world’s top DJs. Noura Binsaidan, the graffiti artist behind the mural, has been painting Arabic faces internationally. In London and Barcelona, there are Arabian faces gracing the walls and standing out among other murals and paintings.
“I mostly paint Arabic faces using Arabic calligraphy, which people have loved,” she told Arab News.
When Binsaidan was given the chance to decorate the MDL Beast festival, she was beyond happy to be representing her style to the world. Her murals stood out at an event that invited Western cultural influences. The contrast between the local and modern made it an attraction where visitors flocked to take pictures.
She told Arab News that Saudi artists are messengers of the country. “I feel like we are basically messengers, I have to develop my skills and work carefully because as someone who is presenting Saudi Arabia I need to show everyone my best. I am trying to do something for my city and the country.”
She launched her path into graffiti painting three years ago, starting from home covering whatever surfaces she could paint.
Graffiti cannot be confined to art galleries, it is made for the outside.
“Graffiti is a good tool to let the people who are coming from different countries see our culture and roots via different means. That is why I always keep in mind that a lot of people are going to see my work and that makes me responsible.
“It was difficult for me in the beginning because I cannot paint when someone is watching. Now I have learned how to block out the people and just focus on my artwork,” she said.
Just like all art forms, graffiti presents its own challenges such as weather, with Binsaidan preferring the cold over the scalding sun.
Stereotypically, graffiti is often thought of as a crime and a property offense. However, Binsaidan is utilizing her skills as an artist to change this misconception.
“You can’t change history, unfortunately, but in my case the government asked me to do this because they understood that they needed a different touch of art in the streets and events.”
She added: “It isn’t necessary for the artists to do graffiti on the walls and break the law, it can be done on absolutely anything like we did here at MDL Beast using shipping containers as our walls.
“I draw inspiration from my culture by drawing women of my area with covered faces accompanied by metaphoric objects such as flowers to show our culture and how proud we are of it.”


Saudi Arabia announces 35 more deaths from COVID-19

Updated 47 min 3 sec ago

Saudi Arabia announces 35 more deaths from COVID-19

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 262,959
  • A total of 3,338 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

LONDON: Saudi Arabia announced 35 more deaths from COVID-19 and 1,383 new cases of the disease on Friday.

Of the new cases, 81 were recorded in Makkah, 77 in Hail, 69 in Jeddah and 63 in Riyadh.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 262,959 after 2,566 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 3,338 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

On Thursday, the health ministry announced Saudi Arabia had conducted more than 4 million COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests since the beginning of the outbreak.