Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition

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Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)
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Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)
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Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)
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Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)
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Updated 10 October 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa residents celebrate Guinness World Record recognition

  • The oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees feeding on a huge aquifer through 280 artesian springs

RIYADH: People who live in and around Al-Ahsa Oasis reacted with joy and pride on Friday when it was revealed that Guinness World Records has recognized it as the largest self-contained oasis in the world.

The achievement was described as testament to the loving care and hard work that goes into maintaining the millions of palm trees that grow there. They cover an area of 32.9 square miles and are watered by a network of 280 artesian springs.
The dates produced in the region are renowned throughout the Kingdom and the world for their quality, and the lush greenery and cool weather have helped to make Al-Ahsa one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
Mohammad Alkhudayri, a licensed tour guide in Al-Ahsa, said he hopes the recognition by such a renowned organization will inspire more people to visit the oasis and enjoy its beautiful scenery.
“The oasis of Al-Ahsa is more than 6,000 years old, and for all those years it has remained as vibrant and rich as ever,” he said. “Some of the trees are thousands of years old. It is only natural that such an achievement would be recognized, especially given the amount of love and effort that went into maintaining the area over all these years.”

The oasis of Al-Ahsa is more than 6,000 years old, and for all those years it has remained as vibrant and rich as ever. Some of the trees are thousands of years old.

Mohammad Alkhudayri, a licensed tour guide in Al-Ahsa

The number of fruit-bearing date palms in Al-Ahsa exceeds 2.5 million, Alkhudayri added. Many residents rely on them, and so are deeply devoted to their care.




Al-Ahsa oasis includes more than 2.5 million palm trees extending over an area of more than 85.4 square kilometers. (SPA)

“The people of Al-Ahsa are so proud of their date palms,” he said. “They provide them with sustenance and with something beautiful to look at. Even other parts of the tree, such as the trunk and the leaves, are used to make equipment, furniture, baskets and so on. For anyone in Al-Ahsa, date palms are vital to their way of life.”
Mohammad Almelhem, whose family owns and operates a date farm in Al-Ahsa, said that the palm trees are synonymous with Al-Ahsa, and that the dates they produce are “the best in the world.”
“We Hasawis have a deep relationship with our palms,” he said. “They are our greatest blessing and we look after them so that they will look after us.
“Our hard work ensures that you will never get a sweeter-tasting date anywhere, or find a more beautiful and peaceful place to grow or eat them.”
Almelhem also said he hopes that the recognition by Guinness World Records will encourage more people to visit the region, as it has so much to offer to offer tourists and yet its attractions are relatively unknown.
“The city is modernizing but there is still so much heritage here for people to discover,” he said. “Visitors are always surprised when they come because they don’t expect to see as much as they do.”
Al-Ahsa Oasis is also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the Hegra in AlUla, the Turaif neighborhood in historic Diriyah, the historic Al-Balad district in Jeddah, and the rock art sites in Jubbah and Shuaimis in Hail.

 


Shara Art Fair brings together Saudi artists

Updated 25 November 2020

Shara Art Fair brings together Saudi artists

  • With the global pandemic closing art galleries and canceling live events, artists took a hit like many other workers

JEDDAH: The Saudi Art Council brought together a wide range of local artists after the months-long lockdown for the 6th Shara Art Fair, which was recently launched in Jeddah at the council’s headquarters.

With the global pandemic closing art galleries and canceling live events, artists took a hit like many other workers. The Shara Art Fair, however, allowed artists from all across the country to exhibit their talents in seven art galleries.

The participating galleries included Athr Gallery, Hafez Gallery, 6th Sense Art, Noor Gallery, Tasami Creative Lab, BHAC, and Visual Stations.

Heba Abed, a visual artist and painter, said that her life during the pandemic was a combination of “watching TV, eating, and painting.”

Inspired by her surroundings, Abed’s artwork was a collection of one hundred paintings that exhibit the emotions she felt during the hundred days of quarantine.

“Some of the paintings express the feelings I had while in quarantine, while others are inspired by fairy tales because there was a lot of time for our minds to wander while we were stuck at home,” she told Arab News. 

Heba Abed

She added: “I would sometimes paint more than one painting a day during the lockdown. While we were all bored, I decided to practice the thing I loved most. I found inspiration in my life, in society and in everything that happened around me.”

Artist Elham Dawsari, on the other hand, used the 1990s as inspiration for her artwork, “Nefa,” which means a spacious place with few to no walls. The installation, featuring clay women set over acrylic boxes with mirrors inside, is meant to symbolize the women’s untold stories.

“The idea behind the piece was to represent the lives of the women in the 90s,” she said.

Cutouts hang from the ceiling of the gallery around the art, which according to Dawsari, symbolize the urban landscaping at the time and the style of the houses.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Shara Art Fair allowed artists from all across the country to exhibit their talents in seven art galleries.

• The participating galleries included Athr Gallery, Hafez Gallery, 6th Sense Art, Noor Gallery, Tasami Creative Lab, BHAC, and Visual Stations.

“They also show how those designs imposed themselves on our lives,” she said. “They show certain aspects of society and how we behaved and how our bodies looked because of the limited space we had to walk around in; they were fuller but also more muscular because of all the hard work the women used to do.”

The clay figures of the women are based on Dawsari’s memory and the collective memory of her family.

Another piece featured large wooden dolls perched on a table. As time passed, the artist painted more dolls. The founder of Dar Malak, Malak Masallati, was the designer and director of the project and expressed the hope that her wooden dolls would become the next “Saudi Wooden Dolls.”

“I wanted to create wooden dolls that represent our country and its culture and that could become an icon. I called the project ‘Nasana’,” she told Arab News.

Dar Malak worked with designers and artisans to translate the idea of Masallati into actual objects.

Masallati worked with a wood factory that handled the woodturning and scaling for her.

“I did my research on the proportions of the human body, using examples of different bodies to create the variety you see here,” she added.