Jeddah streets and bridges embellished with Arabic calligraphy

Jeddah streets and bridges embellished with Arabic calligraphy
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The deputy mayor for community services, A’idh Al-Zahrani, said that the initiative was part of the UN Arabic Language Day, which is observed annually on Dec. 18. (Photo/Supplied)
Jeddah streets and bridges embellished with Arabic calligraphy
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The deputy mayor for community services, A’idh Al-Zahrani, said that the initiative was part of the UN Arabic Language Day, which is observed annually on Dec. 18. (Photo/Supplied)
Jeddah streets and bridges embellished with Arabic calligraphy
3 / 3
The deputy mayor for community services, A’idh Al-Zahrani, said that the initiative was part of the UN Arabic Language Day, which is observed annually on Dec. 18. (Photo/Supplied)
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Updated 23 December 2020

Jeddah streets and bridges embellished with Arabic calligraphy

Jeddah streets and bridges embellished with Arabic calligraphy
  • The initiative, which marked the UN Arabic Language Day, aims to add an aesthetic touch to the city

JEDDAH: Jeddah municipality, in partnership with the Oyoun Jeddah Charitable Association (OJCA), has launched an initiative to install 50 Arabic calligraphy murals across the city, including on some of its main flyovers.

The initiative, which coincides with the UN’s Arabic Language Day, aims to add an aesthetic touch to the city with Arabic calligraphy paintings and murals, some of which are more than 70 meters long and 3 meters high.

The UN General Assembly approved Arabic as an official UN language in 1997. The day is meant to promote the equal use of all six of the UN’s official working languages throughout the organization. In January, the Saudi Ministry of Culture announced 2020 as the Year of Arabic Calligraphy to highlight its importance in reflecting the richness of Arab culture.

Jeddah Mayor Dr. Saleh Al-Turki said that the municipality has signed agreements with OJCA and other government, private and charitable organizations to artistically improve Jeddah’s landscapes for its residents and visitors. He said that these initiatives were being implemented by the municipality on the city’s main roads, sidewalks, buildings and public squares. He also noted that the partnership with OJCA was in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

With its more than 12 million words, Arabic is spoken by more 500 million people around the world. It is also the second-fastest-spreading language. It has enriched many languages — including Turkish, Persian, Spanish, Kurdish, French and Urdu — with its vocabulary.

Arabic calligraphy:
Ancient craft,
modern art
For the Saudi Ministry of Culture's Year of Arabic Calligraphy in 2020/21, we take an in-depth look at how the craft has developed from ancient to modern times.

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The chairman of OJCA, Anas Mohamed Serafi, told Arab News that the idea of the initiative began when the municipality held a contest under the title “Municipality Award for Visual Arts” in 2019. 




Photo of Eng. Anas Mohamed Serafi attached. (Source: OJCA website)

“There were three themes in that contest — Arabic calligraphy, painting and photography. Today we are collaborating with the municipality to modernize, humanize and make our beautiful city more humane and civilized. The contest was all related to these themes,” Serafi said.

He added that OJCA had signed two initiatives with Jeddah municipality, both aimed at making the city look better.

“We believe that visitors to the Bride of the Red Sea should see nothing but beauty wherever they go in the city. The genuine artworks that won awards in the contest have been replicated on walls. These works were reprinted and posted on the walls; they are not graffitied,” he said. 

FASTFACTS

• Jeddah municipality launched the initiative in partnership with the Oyoun Jeddah Charitable Association.

• A total of 50 Arabic calligraphy murals have been installed across the city, including on some of its main flyovers.

The other initiative, the Corniche of Colors, is also part of the municipality’s efforts to humanize the city. “We have turned the sidewalks at the corniche into places full of life and fun. These zones have attracted many walking enthusiasts of both genders and age groups, and even cyclists,” Serafi said.

“Works on the Arabic calligraphy initiative is being implemented under the direct supervision of the founder and CEO of Tasami Creative Lab, Musaed Al-Hulis, while the Corniche of Colors initiative is being administered by Dr. Adel Al-Zahrani, professor of architecture at King Abdul Aziz University. Both initiatives are supported by the Jeddah municipality,” Serafi said.

The OJCA chairman said that Jeddah had long been known as a city of art and beauty.

“(This is) since the time of the late former mayor of Jeddah, Mohammed Saeed Farsi, who had invited prominent artists to beautify Jeddah with their works. The city has the largest open museum in the world, located on the Jeddah Corniche, where invaluable art pieces are found. What is taking place nowadays is an extension to that artistic revolution,” Serafi said.

The deputy mayor for community services, A’idh Al-Zahrani, said that the initiative was part of the UN Arabic Language Day, which is observed annually on Dec. 18.


First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched

First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched
Updated 22 January 2021

First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched

First phase Saudi Arabia’s ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project launched
  • The project will help define the region’s culture and enhance its position as a tourist destination

RIYADH: The first phase of the “Pulse of Alkhobar” project has been launched as part of plans to develop an integrated cultural center in the heart of the city and transform the Eastern Province’s arts scene.
The project follows calls by architecture experts, social media activists and artists for a collaboration across multiple sectors to strengthen the province’s cultural impact.
According to Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abudllah bin Farhan, the project, centered on the site of the city’s old market, is the fruit of a partnership between the ministry and its municipal and rural affairs counterpart.
Acting Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Majid Al-Hogail said that the project will build an artistic and heritage destination that will improve the lives of residents of Alkhobar governorate as well as visitors to the Eastern Province.
The project will help define the region’s culture and enhance its position as a tourist destination, he added.
Abdulhadi Al-Shammari, the province’s municipal chairman, told Arab News that the new project will also improve services at municipal facilities, while preserving Saudi heritage and culture.
The project introduces tourists and visitors to the culture of the province, and highlights Al-Olaya district as the center of the city’s culture and arts activities.
Al-Shammari said that the project will boost the city’s finances, driving sustainable development and growth as well an improvement in quality of life.
“It will create new investment opportunities for the private sector, and encourage small and medium-scale enterprises, which have an excellent and effective social impact,” he said.
Al-Shammari added: “The Saudi government supports all sectors to help them deliver lucrative investment opportunities and build a conducive environment for local and foreign investment, where new job opportunities are created for young men and women.”
Faisal Al-Fadl, secretary-general of the Saudi Green Building Forum, told Arab News that creating a cultural and arts destination that is open to a range of activities will add to the city’s tourist appeal.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project follows calls by architecture experts, social media activists and artists for a collaboration across multiple sectors to strengthen the province’s cultural impact.

• According to Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abudllah bin Farhan, the project, centered on the site of the city’s old market, is the fruit of a partnership between the ministry and its municipal and rural affairs counterpart.

“Cooperation between the public sector and international organizations, as well as professional organizations, archaeologists and the public, is instrumental in preserving the cultural and architectural heritage of neighborhoods and cities,” he said.
Al-Fadl added that the collaboration between the two ministries reflects “the importance of architectural and cultural heritage, and the tangible and unique archaeological importance of the buildings as a key element in the history of peoples and relationships inside and outside the Arabian Peninsula.”
He thanked both ministries for their efforts.
Arafat Al-Majed, a Qatif Muncipal Council member, said the partnership is a step forward that falls in line with agreements concluded as part of Vision 2030.
“The agreement will increase interest in cultural heritage and the buildings and towns whose profound and ancient history should be brought out to the world to see and enjoy,” she told Arab News. “The agreement will also improve the urban landscape.”
She said that the joint committee should have branches in municipalities around the Kingdom in order to shed light on heritage sites that can be included in UNESCO. “The Kingdom is rich in such heritage sites.”
Al-Majed said that the project will introduce today’s generation to the ancient heritage of the province in a way that encourages investment opportunities.
“Nobody can deny the fact that some municipalities are still hesitant about what to do with heritage buildings and towns since some of these are abandoned or about to collapse. These municipalities want to tear them down. But these are historical treasures that should be preserved and invested in to become an important economic driver, and a source of arts and culture,” she added.
Maysoon Abu Baker, a Saudi poet and columnist, said the Saudi government attaches great importance to culture and heritage.
“Vision 2030 emphasized the significance of the culture existent in old cities,” she told Arab News.
“Arts, culture and heritage are at the top of the agenda for developing cities and preserving their culture. The cultural impact is important for the future of the Kingdom and is related to its history.”
Yousef Al-Harbi, director of Culture and Arts Society in Dammam, said that the partnership will lead to “new visual perceptions highlighting the Saudi, Arabian and Islamic identity.”
He highlighted the importance of nurturing Saudi art and architectural talent, and facilitating cooperation in order to “bring out the beauty of Saudi heritage and cities.”