Mural offers glimpse of old Hijaz glory at Jeddah airport

Saudi artist Amal Felemban said her mural, which took a month and a half to complete, was initially 12 meters long but was tripled in size to be placed at the airport. (Supplied)
Saudi artist Amal Felemban said her mural, which took a month and a half to complete, was initially 12 meters long but was tripled in size to be placed at the airport. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 December 2020

Mural offers glimpse of old Hijaz glory at Jeddah airport

Mural offers glimpse of old Hijaz glory at Jeddah airport
  • Saudi artist Amal Felemban said that the work of visual artists in the Kingdom is currently witnessing a major transformation.

MAKKAH: Visitors to the Kingdom’s Jewel of the Red Sea can catch a glimpse of its past glory in a mural depicting the city’s prized sites in one of Jeddah’s new airport halls.
A 36-meter mural depicting the city’s old crowded neighborhoods, with the distinctive intricate latticed windows adorning the shops and buildings, has added a beautiful splash of color to the terminal building.
Saudi artist Amal Felemban said that the work of visual artists in the Kingdom is currently witnessing a major transformation.
Her mural, which took a month and a half to complete, was initially 12 meters long but was tripled in size to be placed at the airport.
Her path in documenting the old Hijazi cities began 10 years ago when she participated in a competition to beautify the city of Makkah under the patronage of Makkah’s Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal and the holy capital’s municipality.
The aim of the Makkah Beautification Competition — where Muslim artists from around the world were invited to participate — was to spread artistic culture through works that narrate the heritage of the capital of Islamic culture.
The artists had to design murals for 12 sites, inspired by two main elements: The heritage of the Makkah environment (the nature of the place, architectural elements and traditional artifacts), and the Islamic heritage.
“I participated in the competition and chose one of the smallest sites, 70 meters long, and conceived several designs about Hijazi cities,” she told Arab News.
“My goal was to show our urban civilization and urban cultural heritage and the aesthetics of the woodwork in dormers and the social interconnectedness between people. I chose colors that express the clarity and depth of those human relations between neighbors.”
The location she chose was a few meters away from the Holy Mosque. The Saudi muralist supervised its execution after competing against leading visual artists from around the world.
“I used to go from Jeddah, where I live, to Makkah to supervise the implementation of the mural before noon and stand alongside the workers. The struggle was with people’s looks, for I am a woman standing with the workers in the afternoon. They used to look at me in surprise and some in disapproval at that time,” said the artist.
She said that she had to wear a disguise to be able to complete her work in the face of people’s scrutiny of a woman participating in painting murals.
Nothing deterred Felemban from her goal. Her mural was inaugurated by Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Prince Mansour bin Mutaib.
“This competition was an opportunity to be recognized, as I did not expect to win against so many great Saudi artists until we were invited to a ceremony to announce the names of the winners,” she said. She was the only woman among the winners that year, which prompted her to aim high and continue her line of work, one mural at a time.


Saudi showjumpers riding high

Saudi showjumpers riding high
With SR130,000 ($34,600) in cash prizes, the three-day competition, held without spectators due to the coronavirus restrictions, has been organized by the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation (SAEF) in partnership with the Ministry of National Guard and the Diriyah Gate Development Authority. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 6 min 18 sec ago

Saudi showjumpers riding high

Saudi showjumpers riding high
  • Elite riders saddle up for $34,600 National Guard Ministry cup at Jeddah Trio Ranch

JEDDAH: The Saudi National Guard Ministry’s showjumping cup competition kicked off on Thursday at the Jeddah Trio Ranch, with Abdullah Al-Sharbatly and Dalma Malhas leading a top-class equestrian lineup.

With SR130,000 ($34,600) in cash prizes, the three-day competition, held without spectators due to the coronavirus restrictions, has been organized by the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation (SAEF) in partnership with the Ministry of National Guard and the Diriyah Gate Development Authority.
The competition consists of nine rounds, with three rounds each day. About 130 horses were registered in the competition. The fences were set at 1.15m for the small grade where about 80 riders competed on the first day.
Almost 40 equestrians took part in the 1.20m-1.25m medium grade. Another 20 competitors battled in the 1.30m-1.35m grade on the first day of competition.
“We have seven competitions under the names of seven ministries. After good international and Olympic results, support has doubled for equestrian sports, particularly showjumping,” a member of the SAEF technical committee, Ali Al-Sahli, told Arab News.
One rider, Naif Al-Sudairi, said that equestrianism in Saudi Arabia is making rapid advances on many levels.
“With Saudi Vision 2030, we now have more tournaments in all regions of the country, and the competition has heated up,” he told Arab News. “This can motivate the riders to improve and show our best in the run-up to international competitions.”
He added that he is looking forward to representing Saudi Arabia in the global equestrian events.

First day
In the small round on the first day of the competition, Khaled Al-Hady came first with 20 points. His horse, Doberlina Van de Kapel, came second with 18 points. Mohammed Hassan Al-Hadi was ranked third with 16 points, while Princess Al-Anoud Al-Saud secured fourth place with 14 points, and Waleed Al-Ghamdi was fifth with 12 points. Faisal Al-Ouda and Abdul Aziz Al-Hamazani came sixth and seventh, respectively.
In the medium class, Mohammed Al-Malki topped the ranking with 30 points followed by Khalid Al-Mobty, who collected 28 points. Badr Al-Fard came third with 26 points, and Abdullah Al-Sheikh was fourth with 24 points. Ahmed Bakarman came fifth with 22 points.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The competition consists of nine rounds, with three rounds each day.

• The fences were set at 1.15m for the small grade where about 80 riders competed on the first day.

• Almost 40 equestrians took part in the 1.20m-1.25m medium grade.

• Another 20 competitors battled in the 1.30m-1.35m grade on the first day of competition.

Malhas, who secured an individual bronze at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, after completing the round in 38 seconds without a single penalty, came ninth with 14 points. She is also the first Saudi female equestrian to take part in the individual hurdles at the 2018 World Equestrian Championship held in the US city of Tryon.


In the big round, Al-Sharbatly, who won the individual silver medal at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, came first with 40 points, followed by Abed Sanosy with 38 points. Fahad Al-Ghamdi was third with 36 points, while Badr Al-Fard was fourth with 34 points, and Talal Al-Juaid came fifth with 32 points. Sultan Al-Qarza’e and Khaled Al-Mobty came sixth and seventh, respectively.

Riders’ journey
Muneer Al-Ayoubi, who has been riding for over 20 years, told Arab News that showjumping requires understanding between rider and horse.
“I have been participating in showjumping (activities) for more than two years. It is the most difficult type of horse-riding activities,” he said. “Unlike horse racing and endurance riding, contestants have to keep training their horses. The rider and the horse should appear as if they were one soul.”
Arwa Mutabagani, owner and managing director of Jeddah Trio Ranch, said that they have riders of different levels from all over Saudi Arabia.
Speaking about the preparation to host the competition, Mutabagani said: “The horses arrive a couple of days before the competition, so we have to be ready. On-site, we have 150 horses participating, so we have different locations to host all these numbers. We made the warm-up arena ready for the riders to prepare their horses for the show.”
An Italian equestrian expert was brought in to handle the timing and ensure there are no complaints, she said. Mutabagani said that she is training a number of female riders to become champions. Family support is essential in this type of sport, she added.
“To reach a top position, dedication, family and team support, and sacrifices are all elements that should go together. You also have to have a good instructor, a good horse, and you have to have the right competition that can help you move to higher levels,” she said.
She mentioned her daughter, Dalma Malhas, as an example, saying: “When she was competing, she was young and spent weekends at the shows and not with her peers. So, you have to sacrifice being a normal teenager to reach the top.”
Meanwhile, Mohrah Faisal, a female equestrian who took part in the small round, said that she is grateful to SAEF for supporting female riders. “We did not have such an opportunity in the past. Now I hope I can represent the Kingdom at the Olympics.”
She said that her family believed in her passion for equestrianism once they saw her succeeding in many local competitions.
Wafa Hasson, another Saudi female rider, said she competed in the UAE two years ago after SAEF gave women riders the green light, which helped them improve.
Female riders are still looking for opportunities to learn. “I want to go as far as I can. I don’t really have a limit, I just want to see what I can achieve and I will do my best to achieve it.”
Ghalia Al-Musa, another participant, said that she has been riding for 13 years, and her mother is still her biggest supporter.
“SAEF allowed female riders to compete along with male riders in 2019, and it was good news for all female riders. In the same year, SAEF selected the best female riders to represent Saudi Arabia in the Arab Women Sports Tournament in Sharjah, UAE. We came second as a team and I came fourth as an individual,” she told Arab News.
Al-Musa also hopes to represent Saudi Arabia in international events, including the Olympics.
Heavy rain in Jeddah on Friday forced the organizing committee of the National Guard showjumping cup to combine the second and third day of competition on Saturday (10 a.m. to 11 p.m.) when the competition will come  to an end.