Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present

Abdullah AlOthman - Casino AlRiyadh, 2021 - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art.
1 / 25
Abdullah AlOthman - Casino AlRiyadh, 2021 - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Ahmad Angawi - Proportion of Light, 2021 - Wood and engraved glass  230 x 80 cm - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art 2021.
2 / 25
Ahmad Angawi - Proportion of Light, 2021 - Wood and engraved glass 230 x 80 cm - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art 2021.
Ahmed Mater - Antenna (Green), 2010 - From the series Antenna 150 x 150 x 50 cm - Courtesy of a private collection - Photo © Riyadh Art 2021.
3 / 25
Ahmed Mater - Antenna (Green), 2010 - From the series Antenna 150 x 150 x 50 cm - Courtesy of a private collection - Photo © Riyadh Art 2021.
Ahmed Mater - Mitochondria: Powerhouses, 2021 - Tesla coil machine, fulgurite sculptures, sand 1400x1400x200 cm - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art.
4 / 25
Ahmed Mater - Mitochondria: Powerhouses, 2021 - Tesla coil machine, fulgurite sculptures, sand 1400x1400x200 cm - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Aleksandra Stratimirovic - Northern Lights, 2015 - Programmed LED Width 5000 cm - Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
5 / 25
Aleksandra Stratimirovic - Northern Lights, 2015 - Programmed LED Width 5000 cm - Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Aleksandra Stratimirovic - Northern Lights, 2015 - Programmed LED Width 5000 cm - Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
6 / 25
Aleksandra Stratimirovic - Northern Lights, 2015 - Programmed LED Width 5000 cm - Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Ali Alruzaiza - Tribute to Ali Alruzaiza, 2021 - Video projection - Video design by Sara Caliumi and Carlo Camorali - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art.
7 / 25
Ali Alruzaiza - Tribute to Ali Alruzaiza, 2021 - Video projection - Video design by Sara Caliumi and Carlo Camorali - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Amigo&Amigo - Parabolic Lightcloud, 2018 - 1082 light pixels, 800 m recycled rope, 9m diameter - Courtesy the artists and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
8 / 25
Amigo&Amigo - Parabolic Lightcloud, 2018 - 1082 light pixels, 800 m recycled rope, 9m diameter - Courtesy the artists and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Amigo&Amigo - Parabolic Lightcloud, 2018 - 1082 light pixels, 800 m recycled rope, 9m diameter - Courtesy the artists and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
9 / 25
Amigo&Amigo - Parabolic Lightcloud, 2018 - 1082 light pixels, 800 m recycled rope, 9m diameter - Courtesy the artists and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Angelo Bonello - Run Beyond, 2015 - Iron and LED lights 5300 cm - Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
10 / 25
Angelo Bonello - Run Beyond, 2015 - Iron and LED lights 5300 cm - Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Angelo Bonello - Run Beyond, 2015 - Iron and LED lights 5300 cm - Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
11 / 25
Angelo Bonello - Run Beyond, 2015 - Iron and LED lights 5300 cm - Courtesy the artist and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Ayman Yossri - Daydban Somewhere beautiful, 2021 - Film stills on TV monitor - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art 2021.
12 / 25
Ayman Yossri - Daydban Somewhere beautiful, 2021 - Film stills on TV monitor - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art 2021.
Ayman Zedani - Earthseed, 2021 - 3-channel video installation Dimensions variable - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art.
13 / 25
Ayman Zedani - Earthseed, 2021 - 3-channel video installation Dimensions variable - Courtesy the artist - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Carsten Höller - Light Wall (Outdoor Version), 2021 - 1,100 LED bulbs, digital control unit, sound, steel panels, structural elements, wiring, cables 600x400x275 cm. - Unique - Courtesy the artist and MASSIMODECARLO - Photo © Riyadh Art.
14 / 25
Carsten Höller - Light Wall (Outdoor Version), 2021 - 1,100 LED bulbs, digital control unit, sound, steel panels, structural elements, wiring, cables 600x400x275 cm. - Unique - Courtesy the artist and MASSIMODECARLO - Photo © Riyadh Art.
SKALAR, 2021 - Reflections on Light and Sound Light and sound installation - Courtesy the artists - Photo by Christopher Bauder.
15 / 25
SKALAR, 2021 - Reflections on Light and Sound Light and sound installation - Courtesy the artists - Photo by Christopher Bauder.
SKALAR, 2021 - Reflections on Light and Sound Light and sound installation - Courtesy the artists - Photo by Christopher Bauder.
16 / 25
SKALAR, 2021 - Reflections on Light and Sound Light and sound installation - Courtesy the artists - Photo by Christopher Bauder.
Company New Heroes - We Light Riyadh, 2021 - 808 lamps, approx. 6000x3000 cm - Courtesy the artists and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
17 / 25
Company New Heroes - We Light Riyadh, 2021 - 808 lamps, approx. 6000x3000 cm - Courtesy the artists and Light Art Collection - Photo © Riyadh Art.
Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present
18 / 25
This pivotal creative event aims not only to celebrate the breadth of artistry but also the advent of the Kingdom’s push for a greater creative economy. (SPA/Supplied)
Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present
19 / 25
This pivotal creative event aims not only to celebrate the breadth of artistry but also the advent of the Kingdom’s push for a greater creative economy. (SPA/Supplied)
Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present
20 / 25
This pivotal creative event aims not only to celebrate the breadth of artistry but also the advent of the Kingdom’s push for a greater creative economy. (SPA/Supplied)
Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present
21 / 25
This pivotal creative event aims not only to celebrate the breadth of artistry but also the advent of the Kingdom’s push for a greater creative economy. (SPA/Supplied)
Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present
22 / 25
This pivotal creative event aims not only to celebrate the breadth of artistry but also the advent of the Kingdom’s push for a greater creative economy. (SPA/Supplied)
Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present
23 / 25
This pivotal creative event aims not only to celebrate the breadth of artistry but also the advent of the Kingdom’s push for a greater creative economy. (SPA/Supplied)
Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present
24 / 25
This pivotal creative event aims not only to celebrate the breadth of artistry but also the advent of the Kingdom’s push for a greater creative economy. (SPA/Supplied)
Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present
25 / 25
This pivotal creative event aims not only to celebrate the breadth of artistry but also the advent of the Kingdom’s push for a greater creative economy. (SPA/Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 23 March 2021

Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present

Noor Riyadh references Saudi Arabia’s past and rapidly changing present
  • Undeterred by the pandemic, the festival lights up the capital with over 60 artworks by international and Saudi artists

RIYADH: For 17 days, the city of Riyadh will be transformed into an open-air art gallery with more than 33 light installations across the Kingdom’s capital.

Noor Riyadh, the mammoth festival of lights, inaugurated its first edition on Thursday, March 18, in the midst of the global pandemic. This pivotal creative event aims not only to celebrate the breadth of artistry exemplified through the work of the over 60 participating international and Saudi artists but also the advent of the Kingdom’s push for a greater creative economy.
On the grounds of the Cultural Palace in Riyadh’s prestigious Diplomatic Quarter is a lone pop-up coffee shop — emblematic, one could say, of Saudi Arabia’s popular pastime. Yet there is something different about this particular coffee bar. Poetic Arabic phrases cover the pop-up’s exterior, illuminated in a soft glow. When translated into English, they read: “I am the one coming from the dreamy city. What should I write?”




"Colored Triangles by Myriad, for Riyadh” work in situ: KAFD Conference Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2020-2021
Auto-adhesive colored transparent vinyls
Courtesy the artist and GALLERIACONTINUA
Photo © Riyadh Art.


Titled “Ricochet,” the pop-up is a light artwork by the youngest artist in the first edition of the festival, Nojoud Alsudairi, who addresses public space through Arabic poetry. When visitors grab a cup of coffee, the cup itself is covered with poetic phrases, such as “In your land, generosity, always” or “I have no other place.” Al-Sudairi’s performative architecture installation is very much rooted in the present time and the effects of the pandemic on city life.

During Riyadh’s quarantine, Alsudairi, 26, collected haikus, a Japanese poetic form, and deconstructed phrases from letters written by residents of Riyadh to their city. Additional luminous signs from “Ricochet” can be found around the city, extending the artwork across Riyadh’s eclectic urban landscape.
“My work started during the pandemic as a research project into how Riyadh residents interacted with their city during quarantine,” said Alsudairi. “I began asking people I know to send short phrases on how they were seeing the city through their windows, and this gave me the idea to incorporate literature into the project through signage around the city.




Dan Firman
Butterfly, 2007
Neon tubes
350 x 635 cm
Courtesy the artist and the Farjam Collection 
Photo © Riyadh Art 2021.

“The result was a visual essay on how signage in Riyadh was becoming the interface of the city. Driving through the streets in Riyadh at night, one can see how the city has become an experience of this electric landscape, of all of these words and sentences forming odd pieces of abstract poetry.”
Until April 3, the city of Riyadh will be transformed into an open-air gallery, illuminated by large-scale light installations. As Raneem Farsi, the Saudi curator of the exhibition, notes, what makes the exhibition dynamic is “that Noor Riyadh has included numerous Saudi artists, many of whom have been commissioned to make pieces especially for the exhibition.”

HIGHLIGHT

On the grounds of the Cultural Palace in Riyadh’s prestigious Diplomatic Quarter is a lone pop-up coffee shop — emblematic, one could say, of Saudi Arabia’s popular pastime. Yet there is something different about this particular coffee bar. Poetic Arabic phrases cover the pop-up’s exterior, illuminated in a soft glow. When translated into English, they read: ‘I am the one coming from the dreamy city. What should I write?’

The artworks, which encompass a range of media, including music, sculpture and performance, can be found in two main areas: The King Abdul Aziz Historical Center and the King Abdullah Financial District, where visitors can also view “Light Upon Light,” an exhibition of light art from the 1960s to the present, which is on view until June 12.
While the global art community will have to view the artworks virtually, Saudis have already been flocking to the venues in record numbers.
“One of the most critical aspects of Vision 2030 is the flourishing of the Saudi creative economy, which we are trying to foster, and this is one of the main highlights of Noor Riyadh as a program,” Anas Najmi, adviser to the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, told Arab News. “Despite all of the challenges of the pandemic, we managed to give the experience to 15,000 visitors in just one day. Secondly, over 1,200 jobs were created as part of the Noor Riyadh festival, half of which are for Saudis.”
One aim of the festival is to attract visitors to sites in Riyadh that are not so often frequented, including the King Fahd National Library, the Diplomatic Quarter and JAX, the industrial zone of Diriyah.




Leo Villareal
Corona, 2018
LED monitors, custom software and electrical hardware
145.1 x 248.6 x 16.5 cm
Courtesy of the artist, Pace Gallery and Superblue
Photo © Riyadh Art 2021.

“Light Upon Light,” the main exhibition, showcases a thorough survey of the history of light art through the display of works by leading international artists from the movement, including Dan Flavin, James Turrell, Lucio Fontana, Julio Le Parc and Robert Irwin, alongside contemporary art world superstars such as Urs Fischer and Yayoi Kusama. Also featured are the works of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent emerging and established artists: Nasser Al-Salem, Manal AlDowayan, Rashed AlShashai, Sultan bin Fahad, Dana Awartani, Maha Malluh, Ayman Yossri Daydban, Ahmed Mater, Ahmad Angawi, Abdullah AlOthman, Sarah Abu Abdallah and Mohammad AlFaraj.
“To my understanding, it is the first time that light art has been shown here in the Kingdom, and for that reason alone it is significant,” curator Susan Davidson told Arab News. “What is also significant is the impact I hope it will have on the people of Saudi Arabia. Art takes many different forms, and it can bring a level of well-being and joy into your life. This works very well with Vision 2030 in terms of making Riyadh in particular a very viable and livable city.”




Daniel Canogar
Bifurcation, 2021
Multi laser projection
Courtesy the artist
Photo © Riyadh Art.


Light works by Saudi artists reference both Saudi’s ancient past and its present through conceptual forms. For example, Sultan bin Fahad’s “Once Was A Ruler” (2019) is a series of composites from his photography of ancient sculptures of monarchs from the ancient Arabian kingdom of Lihyan, merged with his own bodily X-rays. Abdullah Al-Othman’s “Casino AlRiyadh” (2021) takes the form of a neon-colored sign that imitates the unique anatomy of the city of Riyadh and draws inspiration from the lighted signage throughout the city. It also references former places for gathering in Riyadh.
Perhaps the most powerful marriage of old and new Saudi through the medium of light art can be found in Robert Wilson’s piece “PALACE OF LIGHT” (2021).




UxU Studio
Illusion Hole, 2020
Metal, LED Lights, wood
200x200x40cm
Courtesy the artists and Light Art Collection
Photo © Riyadh Art.

The work consists of two parts: Multiple performative light elements that dress the landscape of At-Turaif — the historic district of Diriyah and first capital of the Saudi dynasty dating back to 1766 — and a large copper dish placed in front of the palace that, when the light performance is played, seems to be rising out of the sea as the curved edges of Diriyah’s mudbrick structure is covered with projected images of moving waves.
The emotional performance was quickly consumed and widely shared on social media platforms, giving the world a taste of the brilliance of Noor Riyadh. As Davidson said: “Many things get around in the art world through whispers. Even those who could not attend this monumental show will hear about it.”


Egyptian actress Amina Khalil announced as United Nations Population Fund honorary ambassador

Egyptian actress Amina Khalil announced as United Nations Population Fund honorary ambassador
Updated 16 June 2021

Egyptian actress Amina Khalil announced as United Nations Population Fund honorary ambassador

Egyptian actress Amina Khalil announced as United Nations Population Fund honorary ambassador

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Amina Khalil has been named an honorary goodwill ambassador by the United Nations Population Fund, the star announced on Wednesday. 

Khalil gave an acceptance speech at an an event that took place this week in Cairo, saying: “Now it is time to act for women and girls everywhere.

“Bold steps to improve the lives of women mean a better future for children and families,” she added.

In a lengthy Instagram post, which she shared alongside images from the event, Khalil wrote: “It is truly an honor to be a UNFPA Honorary Goodwill Ambassador. I hope I make my family proud. I hope I make my loved ones and friends proud. And I hope to make my country proud.”

The actress has been an active advocate of women and their health in Egypt.  

“I promise to do all I can on this journey to bring positive change to my country,” her post read. “I promise to wholeheartedly put all the effort I can to show women and girls, that yes we have a voice, yes we have rights, and yes we all stand united.” 

The announcement came after UNFPA’s open-air ceremony held on Monday. The event was attended by international co-operation minister Rania Al-Mashat, president of the National Council for Women Maya Morsy and more. 


US actress Tracee Ellis Ross sparkles in Ana Khouri earrings

US actress Tracee Ellis Ross sparkles in Ana Khouri earrings
Tracee Ellis Ross wearing Ana Khouri earrings. Instagram
Updated 16 June 2021

US actress Tracee Ellis Ross sparkles in Ana Khouri earrings

US actress Tracee Ellis Ross sparkles in Ana Khouri earrings

DUBAI: US actress Tracee Ellis Ross was spotted wearing a pair of gold earrings from Brazilian-Lebanese fine jewelry label Ana Khouri this week. 

Ross, who is known for her role in sitcom “Black-ish,” posted a photo on Instagram on Wednesday championing the Lebanese brand, beloved by A-listers Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba and Charlize Theron. 

In the photo, the 48-year-old can be seen wearing a mustard-colored Valentino skirt with cut-out floral motifs, a sleeveless, sequined turtleneck, rose pointed-toe pumps and Ana Khouri’s thick gold hoops. 

It’s not her first time championing the part-Arab jeweler’s designs either. The actress and producer also donned a pair of Ana Khouri earrings to complement her black Schiaparelli gown at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards. 


London Fashion Week: Designer Dahlia Razzook hones in on dresses for Fall 2021

London Fashion Week: Designer Dahlia Razzook hones in on dresses for Fall 2021
Dahlia Razzook Fall 2021 ready-to-wear. Supplied
Updated 16 June 2021

London Fashion Week: Designer Dahlia Razzook hones in on dresses for Fall 2021

London Fashion Week: Designer Dahlia Razzook hones in on dresses for Fall 2021

DUBAI: Dahlia Razzook is an US-Lebanese luxury womenswear designer who was born and raised in Houston, Texas, before moving to London to pursue her studies in fashion design.

During her first year at the London College of Fashion, she was offered an internship at Alexander McQueen. She would go on to cut her teeth at prestigious labels such as Ralph & Russo and Marchesa.

After honing her skills at other design houses, she decided it was time to launch her own namesake contemporary ready-to-wear label shortly after obtaining  her Bachelor’s in “Fashion Design Technology: Surface Textiles.” Thus the label Dahlia Razzook was born.

Dahlia Razzook Fall 2021 ready-to-wear. Supplied

For her Fall 2021 collection, which she showcased digitally during London Fashion Week — which took place between June 12-14 — the designer decided to churn out a perfectly timed lineup of dresses as COVID-19 restrictions ease and we’re able to enjoy a night out again.

Featuring just five pieces, Razzook focuses on stylish, fashion-forward pieces that can transition from day to night with ease. 

The babydoll looks are relatively pared back, sans any kind of embellishment or intricate handiwork, save for a sleeveless black dress with a lace bodice. 

Dahlia Razzook Fall 2021 ready-to-wear. Supplied

The designer relied on comfortable, luxurious materials such as satin and silk as well as feminine colors like red and peach to uplift the offering.

In addition to these ready-to-wear pieces, the designer also offers custom haute couture pieces tailored specifically for her clients.

Razzook first made a name for herself with her Spring 2018 ready-to-wear collection, which was inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh – a poem from ancient Mesopotamia.

Dahlia Razzook Fall 2021 ready-to-wear. Supplied

According to the designer, the collection was also a tribute to her Arab roots: “It’s also the same place where my ancestors are from,” she said.

The made-in-England collection featured trousers, tops, dresses, cocktail and evening dresses, scarves and accessories that were all either digitally printed and/or exquisitely hand-embroidered from silk, down to the lining.

She showcased the collection during New York Fashion Week, and received praise from prestigious fashion publications such as British Vogue.


Part-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar poised to make her Hollywood debut sooner than you think

Part-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar poised to make her Hollywood debut sooner than you think
Sonia Ben Ammar is almost ready to make her Hollywood debut in 'Scream 5.' File/ Getty Images
Updated 16 June 2021

Part-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar poised to make her Hollywood debut sooner than you think

Part-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar poised to make her Hollywood debut sooner than you think

DUBAI:  It appears that Sonia Ben Ammar is almost ready to make her Hollywood debut. “Scream 5,” starring the part-Tunisian actress, model and singer, has completely finished production, meaning that the hotly-anticipated sequel in the beloved horror franchise is one step closer to hitting the big screen.

This week, co-director Tyler Gillett took to Instagram to reveal that the film is “picture locked.” To the film uninitiated, this means that the edit of the movie is now set as it moves into other stages of post-production. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by tylergillett (@tylergillett)

The post included a photo of Fox’s famed Newman Scoring Stage, where the movie’s score was being recorded, prompting Ben Ammar to comment: “All the feeeels right now (sic),” alongside the pleading face emoji.

In a similar post, the film’s other co-director, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, announced that the score is also complete, showing a closeup of sheet music.

“Picture is locked and we just finished scoring on the Newman Stage! Thank you so much to all of the amazing artists who have worked so tirelessly on this movie,” the filmmaker captioned the post.

The posts offer a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a project whose details have been kept under lock and key. In fact, the co-directors worked on multiple cuts of the film simultaneously to prevent leaks.

The plot details of the film have also been kept completely under wraps, so it is not yet known what role Ben Ammar will be taking on in the upcoming relaunch of the horror film franchise set to debut on Jan. 14, 2022. 

Paris-born Ben Ammar, along with other young franchise newcomers, joined returning cast members David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, who are reprising their iconic roles as Dewey Riley, Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott in the new film. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sonia Ammar (@itsnotsonia)

It will be Ben Ammar’s first high-profile Hollywood gig as an actress — however, it’s not the multi-hyphenate model’s first foray into the film industry.

Ben Ammar, who is the daughter of Tunisian film director Tarek Ben Ammar and actress Beata, previously starred in Guillaume Canet’s French-language film “Jappeloup,” as well as the stage musical “1789: Les Amants de la Bastille.”


Morocco’s Casablanca to stage physical show at Paris Fashion Week 

Morocco’s Casablanca to stage physical show at Paris Fashion Week 
Updated 15 June 2021

Morocco’s Casablanca to stage physical show at Paris Fashion Week 

Morocco’s Casablanca to stage physical show at Paris Fashion Week 

DUBAI: Moroccan-helmed label Casablanca is among six other fashion houses set to present a physical show during Paris Men’s Fashion Week, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode – which organizes Paris Fashion Weeks – announced on Monday.

After two seasons of digital presentations, the hybrid event will return with a selected number of brands showcasing their Spring 2022 collections in person and others presenting digitally from June 22-27.

Casablanca was founded by Charaf Tajer. The menswear, Paris-based label is known for its ultra-wearable clothing made out of luxe silks and cashmeres that is inspired by Tajer’s Moroccan roots. 

His debut runway during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in 2018 was a love letter to his parents who met while working side by side in a clothing atelier in the fashion district of Casablanca.

Besides Casablanca, Dior, Hermès, Bluemarable, LGN Louis-Gabriel Nouchi and Officine Générale are also listed to present physical shows. 

Digital presentations will feature runways for Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens, Dries Van Noten, Loewe, Dunhill, and more. 

Just last week, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode announced that Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad will present his Autumn/ Winter 2021 couture collection in person at Paris Fashion Week, among seven other renowned labels including Dior, Azzaro Couture, Chanel, Giorgio Armani Privé, Balenciaga, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vaishali S. 

A limited number of guests will be allowed to attend the physical shows to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.