Noor Riyadh festival lights up Saudi capital

Rhizome by Tom and Lien Dekyvere, pictured here in Knokke, Belgium, is among the installations. (Valéry Bellengier)
1 / 5
Rhizome by Tom and Lien Dekyvere, pictured here in Knokke, Belgium, is among the installations. (Valéry Bellengier)
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
2 / 5
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
3 / 5
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
4 / 5
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
5 / 5
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 31 March 2021

Noor Riyadh festival lights up Saudi capital

The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
  • The festival will attract international and local artists to display their creativity throughout the capital
  • Noor Riyadh festival will continue for 17 days

RIYADH: The Noor Riyadh festival kicked off on Thursday, illuminating the Saudi capital with dazzling interactive light shows.
The festival, which was launched for the first time, will be an annual celebration, attracting international and local artists to display their creativity throughout the capital, said Khalid Al-Zamil, director of the Riyadh Art Project.
“Riyadh will become a destination to display the latest creations by international artists,” he said, adding that the exhibition targets all segments of society, and strict anti-COVID-19 precautionary measures have been applied.
“The Noor Riyadh festival will continue for 17 days, and the art work from the ‘Noor ala Noor’ (light on light) exhibition will be displayed for three months to ensure people are able to see it and enjoy the international artworks,” Al-Zamil added.
Hosam Alqurashi, adviser with the Royal Commission of Riyadh City, said the festival is celebrating light in different ways and organizers said they were very proud of the this year’s theme of “Under One Sky,” which is happening at a time when social distancing is keeping everyone apart.

It is the first program to be launched by the Riyadh Art project, which is one of the four megaprojects inaugurated by King Salman in 2019 as an initiative by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Riyadh Art aims to turn the city into a gallery without walls by infusing art with the social fabric of the capital,” Alqurashi told Arab News.
Riyadh Art has more than 12 programs that are going to be launched over the next couple of years, including erecting more than one thousand artworks in different parts of the city, “ranging from artworks as big as mountains and as small as little symbolic pieces of art that you’ll see in public places.”
One of the main objectives of Riyadh Art is to discover, nurture, and promote local Saudi talent so they can eventually export Saudi art to the world, Alqurashi said.
He added that the project will benefit the city on so many different fronts, including building a creative economy that is going to attract companies, investments, and sponsors that are interested in investing in the art sector.
“This is going to generate thousands of jobs and many volunteering opportunities for young Saudis to participate in events like this,” he said, adding that they are also going to spend a lot of time and effort on citizen engagement programs.
“There is nothing more than art to really bring the world together,” Alqurashi said.
Susan Davidson, curator of the festival’s “Light Upon Light: Light Art since the 1960s” exhibition, said the Noor Riyadh festival is both a citywide festival with more than 33 installations, but an exhibition that brings together 30 international and Saudi artists.

She said this is the very first time that this is happening in Saudi Arabia so it is “really a premiere moment for the Kingdom.”
Davidson said the Light upon Light exhibition will feature light art since the 1960s and is organized into four sections, bringing together artists from around the world.
“A number of young Saudi artists have been commissioned to make pieces for the exhibition and they are seen in relation to international artists,” she said.
“I am really pleased with the way the exhibition has turned out … you have a moment to move from one work to another and to begin to understand the relationships between various artists, as well as the differences in how they handle the medium of light.”
Meanwhile, Belgian artist Koert Vermeulen’s Star in Motion illuminated the Riyadh skies as it shined bright from atop the Kingdom Tower in the heart of the capital, “while subconsciously underscoring the festival’s theme, Under One Sky,” Riyadh Art said.
Vermeulen said the artwork is a body weighing over five tons suspended at a height of 265 meters, and represented the connection between man and the sky in a specific way.

He also said the star moves at the strike of every hour for one minute, representing the birth and death of the star — its life cycle — which begins with a big explosion, then goes through many changes and transformations, and eventually burns out.
Vermeulen said there were a few technical and engineering challenges involved in getting the art piece into place, but with a large team they were able to position it in the middle of the gap in the tower.
“The artwork establishes a powerful link between the city, lit up by light installations, the night sky above it, and the whole world, standing out as a brilliant beacon of hope and celebration for Noor Riyadh 2021,” Riyadh Art added.
Vermeulen, who said he has visited the Kingdom several times but the first time he participates in an art exhibition, praised the effectiveness, organization and high quality of the festival that attracted many international artists.


Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs

Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs
Updated 25 September 2021

Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs

Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs

DHAHRAN: In celebration of the 91st Saudi National Day, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture has launched programs and activities to highlight diversity across the Kingdom.

Ithra will engage visitors through a cultural journey that embodies the unity of the Saudi people and their interdependence, from north to south and from east to west, through the Tafaseel exhibition.

The exhibition will express the diversity of fashion as part of Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage across regions, as well as telling stories about the civilizations that inhabited them.

The national day activities aim to present a collection of interactive art, performances, traditional local crafts, cultural activities, workshops, and knowledge-based games for all age groups.

The activities continue until Saturday.

 


Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees

Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees
Updated 25 September 2021

Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees

Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques announced on Friday that it has so far trained around 600 female employees of its agencies or assisting agencies.

The Women’s Development Affairs Agency, led by Al-Anoud Al-Aboud, deputy president for women’s development affairs, employs 310 of those women.

Around 200 women work for the Agency for Women’s Scientific, Intellectual and Guidance Affairs, led by Noura Al-Thuwaibi.

The rest of the trained women work at the Agency for Women’s Administrative and Service Affairs, under the leadership of Kamelia Al-Daadi, the general presidency said in a statement.

 

 


Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day

Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day
Updated 25 September 2021

Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day

Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia joined the international community by participating in World Sign Day, celebrated on Sept. 23.

The Ministry of Health implemented the “We Are with You” initiative to support deaf people, raising staff awareness about the deaf community. The MOH trained its staff to work with individuals who are deaf, teaching them sign language rules and basics, and helping them find ways to support deaf patients overcome challenges.

Sign language includes 35 manual symbols, each representing a letter of the alphabet, and five other symbols representing diacritics.

The Arabic language also includes numbers in its sign language system; Arabic sign language includes 53 manual symbols representing number, in single or multiple digits.

The MOH also launched the Awlawiya (Priority) Card, one of the Patient Experience Center’s initiatives to facilitate and accelerate procedures and services provided to some groups (including the deaf) inside health facilities.

 

 

Other electronic services include the Queries on Treatment Abroad Orders Service and the Mawid (Appointment) Service.

Moreover, it launched the Online Registration initiative for people with disabilities, including the deaf, through its E-Health system. The platform enables MOH officials to follow up on registration and classification electronically, as well as oversee the issuance of Transportation Discount Cards and Traffic Facilitation Cards.

The MOH linked the E-Health platform with other authorities, such as the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and the Ministry of Education, by automating all procedures to ensure speed and uniformity of service provision. Furthermore, the ministry launched the Eshara app, which provides direct services to the deaf and hearing-impaired, and which allows them to benefit from the services offered by the 937 Service Center.

The app allows visual communication between deaf people and the remote sign interpretation communication center; the interpreter translates the signs as a third party through the digital platform by converting the sign language to spoken Arabic (and vice versa), serving as a mediator between the employee and the deaf person.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched a series of training programs about sign language basics in its branches in the Kingdom, trained its members and employees in all sectors to understand sign language, and raised their awareness on how to communicate with deaf people to ensure access of all services with ease.

Decoder

'We Are with You' campaign

It is the Saudi Ministry of Health initiative to support deaf people, raising staff awareness about the deaf community, teaching them sign language rules and basics, and helping them find ways to support deaf patients overcome challenges.


ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization

ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization
Updated 25 September 2021

ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization

ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization

ThePlace: Dawqara,  in KSA's Northern Borders region, shows signs of civilization during late late Roman period 

Dawqara is located 40 kilometers west of At-Turaif, near a mountain known as Aqrun or Dawqara. The site is registered in a comprehensive archeological survey program.

Rainwater accumulates on the northern side of the site and forms a large lake. The southern side is made up of volcanic rocks with many stone circles. Some stone tools have also been found.

One of the site’s most important artifacts is a square palace that was built from large volcanic stones. Its construction takes into consideration the straightness and solidity of pillars, linked by clay.

The palace’s door is located in the middle of the eastern wall and is 2.85 meters long. The palace comprises two parts. The first is a yard that constitutes the largest part of the building. The second has seven rooms on the western wall, each 4.5 meters wide.

The history of the palace is not clear, as an archeological excavation is required to extract, study and compare artifacts. 

But, according to preliminary studies, the palace was built in the pre-Islamic era and there is other evidence indicating that it was used until the Umayyad era. 


Pakistani spends four decades in service of Makkah’s Grand Mosque

Pakistani spends four decades in service of Makkah’s Grand Mosque
Updated 25 September 2021

Pakistani spends four decades in service of Makkah’s Grand Mosque

Pakistani spends four decades in service of Makkah’s Grand Mosque
  • The Pakistani worker witnessed the restoration of the Kaaba during the reign of the late King Fahd and said it was one of the most important and beautiful stages of his life
  • 61-year-old Qandal is a supervisor for sanitation work at the Grand Mosque

MAKKAH: Ahmed Khan Qandal, who came from Mandi Bahauddin in Pakistan in late 1983 at the age of 23, never thought that he would spend the next 40 years of his life in Saudi Arabia, specifically as a sanitation worker at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Qandal initially promised his parents he would return home as soon as possible. But Makkah and the service of the Grand Mosque kept him preoccupied as his parents have since passed on.
The years flew by and today the 61-year-old Qandal is a supervisor for sanitation work at the Grand Mosque.
His memory is made up of different Saudi events, the most important of which were the Grand Mosque’s second and third Saudi expansions projects, and the Kaaba restoration project.
“Since I came to Saudi Arabia almost 40 years ago, I felt that I was among family and I never felt alienated,” Qandal told Arab News. 
“Whenever I meet someone new, they tell me how lucky I am
to be able to serve the Grand Mosque and pray there. I was always near the Holy Kaaba and this is a great honor that only a person with a special relationship with God can have. I was blessed to be able to do this work for four decades.”
He noted that he came to Saudi Arabia during the reign of the late King Fahd bin Abdulaziz. 

“I worked in cleaning the outer courtyards, and approximately four years later, the second Saudi expansion of the Grand Mosque happened,” Qandal said. “I was a witness to how Muslims began to perform their rituals more comfortably.”
The Pakistani worker witnessed the restoration of the Kaaba during the reign of the late King Fahd and said it was one of the most important and beautiful stages of his life.
Qandal believes God chose him to witness many significant events, including the third Saudi expansion during the reign of the late King Abdullah.
Aside from his time at the Grand Mosque, Qandal also worked with a cleaning company for 11 years until he moved to the Saudi Binladin Group. Over the years, he became known for his efficiency and hard work.
Working with warm, welcoming people from all over the world is what has stuck out the most for Qandal during his time at the Grand Mosque.
“We were all loving brothers,” he said. “All the workers in the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosques and the Prophet’s Mosque operate as a united team to show the Two Holy Mosques in the best way possible.”
Qandal has two sons and a daughter. One of his sons works in the electrical department at the Grand Mosque and the other is with his sister in Pakistan.
He stressed that his wish is to be buried in Makkah, the city he lives in, pointing out that whoever lives in the service of the Two Holy Mosques cannot in any way feel bored or lonely.
“Happiness, love, harmony, tolerance, mercy, and peace can be found in all corners of the Grand Mosque,” Qandal said. “Where Muslims coming from all over the world come to praise God.”