Saudi art foundation invites artists to challenge their creativity

By Saudi Artists Abdulrahman Al-Suliman from Kinda Foundation large Art collection. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 April 2020

Saudi art foundation invites artists to challenge their creativity

  • The contest was launched under the patronage of Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud

JEDDAH: The Saudi-based Kinda Foundation for Contemporary Arab Art has opened applications for its special contest entitled “Creativity Initiative 2020,” which embraces creativity in self-isolation in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contest invites artists in the Kingdom to challenge their curiosity and create any type of artworks that focus on the pandemic or its wider repercussions for all segments of society around the globe.

The contest was launched under the patronage of Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud and seeks to encourage people to remain positive and productive in a time of crisis, channeling their creativity as a sign of victory over fear and isolation.

“The contest also aims to encourage artists to work with what is to hand, making eco-friendly art as well as creating an outlet of expression for everyone in these tough times,” said Diyala Al-Mandil, Kinda foundation board member.

By Lebanese artist Jawad Salim from Kinda Foundation wide Art collection. (Supplied)

There are two sections, one including painting, sculpture, book art, object art and classic and digital printmaking and the second including photography and video.

The deadline for submissions is Aug. 31, 2020.

Ten winners will be announced in November and will receive awards of between SR7,500 and 22,500 ($2,000-6,000).

The foundation’s director said the collection of participating works will be presented as gift to the Saudi Museum of Contemporary Art which is opening soon in Diriyah, on the north-western outskirts of Saudi Arabia’s capital.

Al-Mandil stressed that art is a unifying subject internationally, especially in times of crises, “Art is a voice for everyone, it doesn’t matter what one’s background, language or gender. It goes beyond all these barriers and has the ability to unite and educate,” she said.

Kinda Foundation for Contemporary Arab Art is a private non-profit foundation based in Riyadh. It manages and displays its own collection around the world and provides a platform for artists in the Arab world to meet and collaborate.

A piece by Ahmad Cherqaoui (1966) from Kinda Foundation large Art collection. (Supplied)

“We are a MENA foundation, uniting the Arab world through art, mainly focusing on Arab art done by Arab artists whether at home or in diaspora,” said Al-Mandil, “we promote artists as much as we can and encourage dialogue between artists and the public.”

She said that there are very few people who give a voice to Middle Eastern art, though it recently began to gain increasing attention.

The Kinda Foundation began its activities in 1982 and supports artistic practices, spreads awareness and stimulates critical discourse in our societies. It does so by working with prestigious international art bodies, holding exhibitions and art residencies and contributing to the documentation and archiving of Arab art.

Al-Mandil highlighted the Culture Minister’s support for private sector organizations focused on the arts and art collectors’ activities, and noted that bigger initiatives by the foundation are to be announced soon.

Participants must send photos of their works, along with their technical specifications,  a recent personal photo and a brief bio, to: [email protected].

Saudi Arabia's Princess Nourah University opens admissions for animation, photography degrees

Updated 17 min 21 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's Princess Nourah University opens admissions for animation, photography degrees

RIYADH: The College of Arts and Design at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) announced the introduction of two new programs in animation and photography in the new academic year on Sunday.

The decision was made in response to the needs of the Saudi labor market and falls in line with the goals of the Vision 2030 initiative. Animation and photography join fashion and textile design, sculpture, printmaking, and graphic design and digital media as arts degrees offered by PNU.

Dr. Maha Khayyat, dean of the College of Design and Art, spoke about the programs and said that they were curated with the graduates’ working futures in mind.

“The College of Designs and Arts is keen to integrate its various specializations and the participation of the students enrolled in them in joint projects to work together, and training them to join the labor market,” said Khayyat.

The animation program will include courses on designing cartoon characters and the basics of writing films and sound. It will give graduates the skills to create animated films and to integrate into the industry on a local, regional, or even global scale. Khayyat said that the students’ work could help to highlight Saudi culture and enhance national identity.

The photography program provided students with skills in both still and moving photography. Graduates will be well-equipped to handle any type of professional photography, from product shoots and fashion shows to photojournalism.

The news was welcomed by professionals in both fields. The animation industry in Saudi Arabia has been enjoying unprecedented success this year. The hugely popular YouTube animated series Masameer, from the Saudi Myrkott studio, was adapted into a full-length feature film and played in cinemas across the Kingdom in January. Saudi animation studio Manga Productions debuted the country’s first anime series in the same month entitled “Future’s Folktales”, in collaboration with Japan’s legendary TOEI Animation studios.

Farah Arif, a senior animator at Manga Productions who studied computer science, told Arab News that it was about time studying animation became a viable option for Saudi creatives.

“I wish the opportunity had been made available to me. There’s a huge market for animators in Saudi Arabia, especially with the film industry gaining popularity. Saudi creatives finally have a chance to make a living off their art, and to pursue the study of it in their home countries. It’s a huge step forward,” she said.

She also recommends that anyone thinking of pursuing a career in the arts to do so, given the current environment and level of support from the government.

“Most of us in the industry have been successful without the relevant degrees. Imagine what you could do if you actually had one. The opportunity is there, so you can’t use the lack of a degree course as an excuse anymore. If you have the passion and the drive, go for it.”