Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Brilliance of the Souls’ comes to Saudi Arabia’s AlUla

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Spheres of multicolored light hang at different heights and intervals from the ceiling, bringing to mind stars, planets and galaxies from afar. (Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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(Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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Spheres of multicolored light hang at different heights and intervals from the ceiling, bringing to mind stars, planets and galaxies from afar. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 February 2020

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Brilliance of the Souls’ comes to Saudi Arabia’s AlUla

  • Visitors are instantly immersed in a different, ethereal world once the door closes behind them

ALULA: Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has made her Saudi Arabian debut with one of her mirrored “infinity rooms” available to visit at AlUla’s Maraya Concert Hall.

The installation at AlUla, titled “Infinity Mirrored Room — Brilliance of the Souls,” is deceptively small at first. A totally reflective space with water surrounding a small platform on the ground for visitors to stand on, observers are instantly immersed in a different, ethereal world once the door closes behind them.
Spheres of multicolored light hang at different heights and intervals from the ceiling, bringing to mind stars, planets and galaxies from afar. The viewer is insulated from the outside world, and the space transforms from a confined room barely big enough for two people to an unending wonder.
The exhibit makes for a perfect place to take an ethereal, otherworldly selfie, as demonstrated by many of its visitors, such as Finnish resident Laura Alho, known online as “blueabaya.” Alho took to Twitter to post photos of her experience, saying she had “never seen anything like it.”
The concert hall itself is also covered in mirrors on the outside, designed with the intention of blending into the surrounding rocky landscape of AlUla without disrupting the natural beauty of the location.
Kusama, a 90-year-old artist from Matsumoto, is widely acknowledged as one of the most important contemporary Japanese creatives. Though she works primarily through sculpture and installation, she also paints, contributes to film and performance art, and dabbles in poetry, fiction, and fashion. She is famous for her conceptual art, which shows attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, art brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism.

HIGHLIGHT

The ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ is deceptively small at first. It is a totally reflective space with water surrounding a small platform on the ground for visitors to stand on.

At the age of 10, she began to experience vivid hallucinations which consisted of dense fields of dots, which inspired the Infinity Mirrored Rooms that she is most well-known for. As a way of therapy and self-expression, Kusama began creating these spaces with mirrored walls and multiple dots incorporated into the designs.
Kusama’s work is showcased at museums throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. There are 10 permanent Infinity Mirrored Rooms in museums worldwide, with several temporary showcases leased to various others. People have reportedly lined up for as long as five hours just to be allowed inside one for 30 seconds.
Interested parties can visit the Infinity Mirrored Room as part of the Winter at Tantora festival, taking place in AlUla until March 20. Access to the room is free to concertgoers with a ticket, details of which can be found at experiencealula.com.

 

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‘Wusool’ transport program benefits 60,000 Saudi women

Updated 20 February 2020

‘Wusool’ transport program benefits 60,000 Saudi women

RIYADH: Over 60,000 Saudi female employees have benefited from Wusool, a female transportation program that helps ease their daily commute.

The program aims to find solutions that reduce the burden of transportation costs for Saudi female workers in the private sector by providing them with subsidies from the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) for high-quality, safe and secure transportation services to and from the workplace, partnering with taxi companies through licensed smart apps.

The program aims to increase the participation of women in the labor market and increase job stability. 

The HRDF said it made amendments and updates to Wusool to ensure that the largest number of applicants benefitted from it. This comes as part of the HRDF’s support for women working in the private sector.

The procedures included amendments to the terms of enrollment in the program, including the requirement to be registered under the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI), where the employee should be registered for less than 36 months, and her monthly salary should not exceed SR8,000 ($2,132). SPA Riyadh

The amendments also included a fixed monthly financial support provided by HRDF, covering 80 percent of the cost at a maximum of SR800 per month, in addition to the cancelation of the previously planned financial participation of SR200, and extending the support period to 12 months.

Women working in the private sector can register for the Wusool program by visiting http://wusool.sa.