Dia Aziz Dia, Saudi artist, sculptor and photographer

Dia Aziz Dia
Short Url
Updated 10 November 2020

Dia Aziz Dia, Saudi artist, sculptor and photographer

Dia Aziz Dia, a Saudi artist, sculptor and photographer, is renowned for his contributions to the field of fine arts in the Arab world.
He is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. Dia went to the academy on a scholarship in 1971. Following his graduation, he worked as an art teacher at Al-Thaghr Schools in Jeddah for nearly two years. During his stint as an art teacher, he felt teaching stifled his true calling.
In 1974, he started his own business with Mas Institute of Art, which ran until 1979. He joined the Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) in 1980 as an administrative director of office design. In 2004, Dia took early retirement from the airlines.
 He also headed the board of Saudi Center for Fine Arts in 1987. He was a member of the Saudi House of Artists at its inception. Dia is still a member of the Saudi Arts and Culture Society.
 As an artist, Dia has contributed extensively to the Kingdom’s art scene. In 1979, he designed the famous Gate of Makkah, which is a monument that greets travelers who cross Makkah-Jeddah Highway to enter the city.
In 1985, he was assigned by Prince Khalid bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz to sculpt Al-Ahli Football Club’s Statue at Tahlia Street in Jeddah.
 In 1993, he created a sculpture titled “A Man’s Dream” for Saudia using airplane parts. He had originally designed it in 1981.
He also sculpted the Kingdom’s statue in Mexico in 2006. It was a gift from the Saudi government to Mexico.
 Dia has received several awards for his works. In 1970, he was awarded the first prize for designing a golden medal to mark the 50th anniversary of Rome’s General Works Financing Committee.
 A year later, he won the best foreign artist cup at Oderisi da Gubbio, an international competition organized by the International Academy for Culture and Patronage in Rome.
The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and the Equestrian Club in Riyadh awarded the Saudi artist in 2012 for his huge contributions to the Saudi art scene.


Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

Nutrition is the most important part when it comes to bodybuilding, then comes type of exercise, and good rest. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2020

Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

  • Ali Al-Salam, who stopped consuming animal products in 2017, says certain steps must be completed to have an athletic body

JEDDAH: The vegan diet has risen in popularity in Saudi Arabia in recent years and has been a constant topic of debate among Saudis, attracting the interest of many, including athletes.

Ongoing debates about whether the vegan diet is sufficient for normal people, let alone bodybuilders, abound, but one Saudi is answering them physically.
Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.
Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease, but other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.
Speaking to Arab News, 33-year-old Saudi vegan bodybuilder, Ali Al-Salam, who first started his vegan diet three years ago when he was suffering from high blood pressure, highlighted that the consumption of animal products is a deep rooted idea among bodybuilders and athletes.
“We always hear that in order to build muscle, we must consume animal products. In some parts of the world, there are people who can only have a small amount of animal products yet they live their lives healthily and comfortably and are not suffering from malnutrition — on the contrary, they have a lower level of chronic illnesses.”

When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.

Ali Al-Salam, Saudi vegan bodybuilder

He said it also opened his eyes to what goes on in the dairy and meat industry; he began researching in 2016 and decided to become vegan in 2017.
“I was just like every other athlete, I used to consume a high amounts of protein. I remember in the last days before turning vegan, I used to have 10 egg whites and a piece of steak for breakfast to fulfil my protein needs. This made me think, ‘is this the only way to consume protein?’ And from then on, I started researching and got introduced to the vegan diet at a larger scale,” he said.
“When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.”
He explained that bodybuilding does not solely rely on protein, and that there are steps that must be completed in order to reach an athletic body. Nutrition is the most important part, then comes type of exercise, and good rest.
“When we talk about good nutrition, it does not just rely on protein. Yes, it is important, but the amount of calories in general is more important,” he said.
“Let’s say you needed 200 grams of protein, does that mean if you consumed 200 grams of it, you would gain muscle? No. You need all the basic nutrients to reach a certain amount of calories in general,” he added.
He highlighted that as soon as people register for gym memberships, they immediately look for supplements because they think they cannot reach the needed amount of protein.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.

• Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease.

• But other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.

• Vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants.

• Animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.

“I’m talking about non-vegans here too, where their protein intake is already high. Marketing plays a big role here. People link protein to animal products because our society grew up with this idea as well.
“Can a vegan build muscle? Yes, when they eat right, exercise correctly and rest well. The misconception about protein stems from amino acids. People think vegan food lacks amino acids, and only animal products are full of them and that is far from the truth,” he added.
When comparing vegan athletes to regular athletes, he said vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants which helps greatly in recovery, and because “animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.”