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.

 

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

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Saudi Cabinet congratulates security forces for thwarting terror cell

King Salman chairs the virtual meeting. (SPA)
Updated 30 September 2020

Saudi Cabinet congratulates security forces for thwarting terror cell

  • King Salman thanked international leaders and officials for their messages of congratulations to the Kingdom and its people on the occasion of its 90th National Day

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday congratulated the Presidency of State Security for its work in identifying and apprehending the suspected members of a terror cell in the Kingdom.

Some of those who were arrested allegedly trained at sites in Iran run by the country’s Revolutionary Guards. A cache of weapons and explosives was also seized.

Ministers expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the presidency’s employees in tracking down those who threaten the security and stability of the Kingdom and the safety of those who live there.

Majid Al-Qasabi, the acting minister of media, said that while reviewing the latest regional and international developments, cabinet members reiterated the Kingdom’s call during the recent International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference for the international community to adopt a firm stance on Iran, and take steps to address its violations of international agreements relating to its nuclear-research program. They also reaffirmed Saudi support for efforts, in partnership with the international community, to make the Middle East a nuclear weapon-free zone.

The virtual meeting was chaired by King Salman, who began by passing on his condolences and sympathy to the people of Kuwait and the family of its Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who died on Tuesday. He also congratulated the emir’s successor, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

King Salman thanked international leaders and officials for their messages of congratulations to the Kingdom and its people on the occasion of its 90th National Day. He also briefed ministers on his recent telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during which the two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and discussed opportunities to further develop them.

The cabinet commended the king for his speech during the UN’s 75th General Assembly in New York, during which he emphasized the his country’s continued commitment to assisting the international community in efforts to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and address its humanitarian and economic implications.

Ministers also noted that his speech reflected the Kingdom’s dedication to security, stability and prosperity as a strategic choice, its call for peaceful coexistence, moderation and solidarity among all countries and peoples to address humanitarian challenges, its support for political solutions to conflicts, and its efforts to combat extremism in all its forms.

Al-Qasabi said that the Cabinet welcomed the announcement by the Kingdom that the G20 Leaders’ Summit will take place as planned as scheduled on Nov. 21 and 22, albeit virtually as a result of the pandemic. Saudi Arabia hold the presidency of the G20 this year.

Ministers also expressed their appreciation for international efforts, led by G20 countries, that have resulted in the provision of more than $21 billion to support the production of diagnostic and therapeutic tools during the pandemic, and the development and distribution of vaccines. In addition, more than $11 trillion has been allocated to protect the global economy, and more than $14 billion to mitigate the debt burdens of less-developed countries and help fund their health services and social programs. The Cabinet also reviewed the latest local and international developments in the pandemic, along with preparations for the safe resumption of Umrah.

Ministers reiterated the Saudi call, during an emergency meeting of the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for Environmental Affairs, for urgent action to avoid an environmental catastrophe in the Red Sea as a result of the deteriorating condition of the oil tanker Safer, which has been anchored off the coast of Yemen, near Ras Issa port, since 2015.

The Cabinet also expressed its concern over developments in the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and urged both sides to agree a ceasefire and resolve the conflict peacefully in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.