Saudi arts institute to highlight national identity, support talent

Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
1 / 3
Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
2 / 3
Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
3 / 3
Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
Short Url
Updated 01 October 2021

Saudi arts institute to highlight national identity, support talent

Saudi arts institute to highlight national identity, support talent

RIYADH: A new institute will enrich traditional arts in the Kingdom, according to an official, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Khalid Al-Baker, who is the chief delivery support officer and acting chief marketing and communication officer at the Quality of Life Program, said the Royal Institute for Traditional Arts would highlight national identity and encourage and train talent.

“The institute is part of the Quality of Life Program initiatives and will act as a connection between our prosperous present and glorious past,” he said. “The institute will provide courses in the museum sector, traditional performing arts, and studies of the traditional visual arts.”

He said the support of Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan would revive and enhance national identity and work on heritage in an institutional way.

The institute’s inauguration ceremony was held recently in the presence of Deputy Minister of Culture Hamed Fayez, institute director Suzan Al-Yahya, and the Quality of Life Program CEO Ahmed bin Hassan Badhris.


Louvre Abu Dhabi displays Filipino artifacts for first time

The second artifact is a funerary mask from the city of Butuan in the Philippines. (Supplied)
The second artifact is a funerary mask from the city of Butuan in the Philippines. (Supplied)
Updated 44 min 32 sec ago

Louvre Abu Dhabi displays Filipino artifacts for first time

The second artifact is a funerary mask from the city of Butuan in the Philippines. (Supplied)

DUBAI: The UAE’s Louvre Abu Dhabi unveiled on Wednesday two loans from the Philippines’ Ayala Museum in the first-ever showcase of artifacts from the country.  

In celebration of the touristic attraction’s fifth anniversary, these Filipino artifacts are on display until June 2023. 

The historical items date back to the 10th-13th century. 

The first loan is a gold cup that was recovered from Nabua in the Camarines Sur province of the Philippines. It highlights the striking similarity of Filipino works to the Chinese gold and silverware acquired by Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2019.

(Supplied)

The second artifact is a funerary mask from the city of Butuan in the Philippines. It places emphasis on immortality being the universal hope of mankind when faced with death, according to a released statement. This artifact is currently showcased alongside other historical items from the Levant and South America that exemplify this shared tradition.


‘Vision of a Homeland’ fine art exhibition kicks off in Saudi Arabia’s Sakaka

Fine art exhibition kicks off in Sakaka. (SPA)
Fine art exhibition kicks off in Sakaka. (SPA)
Updated 28 June 2022

‘Vision of a Homeland’ fine art exhibition kicks off in Saudi Arabia’s Sakaka

Fine art exhibition kicks off in Sakaka. (SPA)
  • The exhibition will also showcase works that reflect Saudi heritage across KSA’s regions and the aesthetics of Arabic calligraphy

SAKAKA: Under the auspices of Al-Jouf Gov. Prince Faisal bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Sanani, the special advisor to the governor, inaugurated on Monday the three-day “Vision of a Homeland” fine art exhibition at the Jouf Cultural Center in Sakaka.

In his address on the occasion, Al-Sanani highlighted Prince Faisal’s unwavering support for fine art and the artists of the region. “The exhibition is a space for innovation and creativity that plays a vital role in enriching the awareness of the community towards national and northern heritage and the pointillism technique,” added the special advisor.

The exhibition showcases a collection of works from Dr. Ahmed Al-Salama, an artist who employs pointillism and focuses on reflecting the legacy and culture of the Kingdom, particularly the northern region.

The exhibition will also showcase works that reflect Saudi heritage across the Kingdom’s regions and the aesthetics of Arabic calligraphy.


Italian screenwriter wows cinemagoers on first visit to the Kingdom

Italian screenwriter wows cinemagoers on first visit to the Kingdom
Updated 27 June 2022

Italian screenwriter wows cinemagoers on first visit to the Kingdom

Italian screenwriter wows cinemagoers on first visit to the Kingdom
  • Giacomo Mazzariol’s movie screened as part of weeklong European Film Festival
  • 25-year-old says he plans to return and hopes to mentor young Saudi talent

RIYADH: An Italian screenwriter has described Saudi Arabia as having “amazing culture and traditions” after delighting cinemagoers with his very first screening in the Kingdom.

But 25-year-old Giacomo Mazzariol said he was nervous about how people might react to his film, “My Brother Chases Dinosaurs.”

“While sitting and watching your movie from another country, your mind is full of fears and doubts,” he told Arab News.

“‘Will my film be welcomed well? Does everything make sense?’ I then relaxed because I realized that people who watched the film were really satisfied and they had a warmhearted reaction. They felt that it was an honest film, full of true emotions.”

Directed by countryman Stefano Cipani, the movie was screened on June 17 as part of the inaugural European Film Festival, which saw 14 European films shown at The Esplanade VOX Cinema in Riyadh.

Mazzariol said the audience was intrigued with the movie and asked him many questions after the screening.

“The people laughed a lot because the film is full of lightness and humor, but also they took it seriously and they were fulfilled by the dramatic and touching parts.

“The story is about the emotional coming of age of my character (Gio), that goes from the incomprehension of the inner world of Gio to the complete acceptance and understanding of his diversity. The journey goes through rage and shame, surprise and courage, fraternity and solitude, and it starts from the birth of Gio till he grows up and becomes a teenager.”

While in Saudi Arabia, Mazzariol and a delegation from the EU were also set to hold a workshop for local talent in collaboration with the Alkhobar-based Arabia Pictures Group, but the event had to be postponed.

“The Kingdom has amazing culture and traditions that should be communicated more to people all over the world, not only with tourism but also through sharing local stories, through art based on nowadays life and perspectives,” he said.

“Arabia Pictures proposed to me to hold it (the workshop) during this edition of the festival, but we didn’t manage to make it happen this time. That is why I am supposed to come back to the Kingdom, during the next edition of the festival.”

Mazzariol said that on his return he hopes to be able to mentor young Saudis who are interested in the film and screenwriting business.

“I think the second edition will be in the late winter or beginning of spring. The main theme will be the relationship between books and movies based on my experience of creating the script of the movie based on my novel.”

He said he hoped to teach Saudi students how to analyze and compare the two arts of writing and film.

“This can be achieved through watching scenes of movies based on books and comparing them with the scenes of a book — Kafka’s works adapted, Dostoevsky works adapted, etc. — and also obtaining the knowledge to distinguish the unicity of those two forms of art.

“Some books are almost impossible to be shot, like ‘Ulysses’ by (James) Joyce, or the work of Proust. Not just for the number of pages, but because they reach a literary high peak which is very specific to literature,” he said.

Mazzariol said he had always had a passion for writing and loved literature classes in school.

“When I was in high school, with all the imagination and ideas that a teenager can have, I began writing for myself and tried to publish some articles.”

His career as a screenwriting began when he published a short film with his brother Gio on YouTube.

“My brother (Gio) with Down syndrome was in the film. It became viral and the person who would become my future editor contacted me to do a book on the video and my story.”

Speaking about the two days he spent in the Kingdom during the film festival, Mazzariol said: “What impressed me the most were the modern buildings, the skyscrapers, the entertainment areas, because it seems futuristic.

“It was the first time for me to visit Saudi Arabia. I love traveling and discovering new countries and thanks to the festival’s organizers and the embassy of Italy, I could get in touch with Saudis that know Saudi Arabia well.

“In the markets of the old town, I got a sensation of being at the door of another world, because there were incredible products from all over the Middle East and Asia.”

The writer said he spent some time studying in King Fahad National Library before exploring some of the natural desert landscapes the Kingdom has to offer.

“I loved the hot winds, sand as far as the eye can see. It was very inspiring because I have always read books from that scenario, for example, ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ but never experienced it.

“The hospitality of the European Film Festival was very high standard and well done, I thank them a lot. I hope the festival will have great success also in the next editions. I know for sure it is going to be bigger and bigger.”


International artists named for ambitious AlUla valley installations project

A rendering of Ahmed Mater's work at Wadi AlFann. (Supplied)
A rendering of Ahmed Mater's work at Wadi AlFann. (Supplied)
Updated 28 June 2022

International artists named for ambitious AlUla valley installations project

A rendering of Ahmed Mater's work at Wadi AlFann. (Supplied)

DUBAI: An international lineup of artists has been named as the first group to embark on an ambitious large-scale installations project in AlUla’s Wadi AlFann.

The Royal Commission for AlUla announced that US artists James Turrell, Agnes Denes, and Michael Heizer will be joined by Saudi creative pioneers Ahmed Mater and Manal Al-Dowayan to produce artworks in the new Wadi AlFann valley, covering an area of 65 square kilometers. The projects will be unveiled from 2024.

Meanwhile, the former director of the Whitechapel Gallery in London, Iwona Blazwick, has been named as the chair of the commission’s public art expert panel, that will advise on Wadi AlFann.

She told Arab News that the artists would create, “works that I think will be a 21st-century version of the ambition of the Nabataeans. This is work at such a scale by artists of such global caliber and by artists who have revolutionized sculpture.”

Visual artist Mater’s installation for the valley, “Ashab Al-Lal,” will use a subterranean tunnel and mirrors to give visitors the optical illusion of seeing a mirage, while Al-Dowayan’s “The Oasis of Stories” will be a labyrinthine structure inspired by the mud homes of AlUla’s ancient old town.

Wadi AlFann, AlUla. (Supplied)

Denes, 91, will create a series of soaring pointed pyramids in a bid to explore civilization, advancement, and achievement.

Heizer, known for producing large outdoor earthwork sculptures and for his work with rock, concrete, and steel, will produce lineal engravings in the sandstone rock relating directly to the geology of the area and the varied detail of the Quweira sandstone.

Blazwick said: “He (Heizer) is incising into the rocks at a scale and at a kind of ambition that again relates back to petroglyphs and ancient forms of expressions and civilizations, but in a way that is 21st century.”

Meanwhile, Turrell will build upon the sensorial experience of space, color, and perception by creating a series of spaces within the canyon floor. The viewer will explore these spaces via a series of tunnels and stairs.

A sketch of AlDowayan’s “The Oasis of Stories.” (Supplied)

“If we are looking at these five initial works themselves you have something tremendously monumental but also immersive, resonate, and poetic and these will be destinations in their own rights of such beauty.

“In relation to the drama of the place itself, the works really take us to the sublime. These five commissions are going to be in themselves unique in the world at this scale. Most of these artists we know from single works shown in different parts of the world, so to bring them together is a huge achievement,” Blazwick added.

On the global nature of the artists, she said: “This is a reciprocal relationship — it is not just about artists being parachuted in, but about making works inspired by the place and the people.

“We will see high-profile international artists, but alongside their regional peers. We will see some of the most important artists working in the region take their place alongside these very iconic, high-profile figures from the world of art. I think that reciprocity is crucial to this project,” she added.


Thrill-seekers visit Jeddah’s Horror Village for adrenaline rush

The village promises to transport visitors to a haunted world packed with frights and fun around every corner. (Supplied)
The village promises to transport visitors to a haunted world packed with frights and fun around every corner. (Supplied)
Updated 26 June 2022

Thrill-seekers visit Jeddah’s Horror Village for adrenaline rush

The village promises to transport visitors to a haunted world packed with frights and fun around every corner. (Supplied)
  • People can experience terror with all five senses by walking through a terrifying maze set in a spooky, dim hospital

JEDDAH: Ghouls, ghosts and other creepy creatures have been shocking visitors at Horror Village in Jeddah Season’s City Walk zone.

The village promises to transport visitors to a haunted world packed with frights and fun around every corner.

The guests are first treated to a spine-chilling experience with the night of the living dead escape room. There are three escape rooms that accommodate six people who are locked up to solve a series of horror-themed puzzles. The only way out is to piece together the intricate clues to escape before time expires.

But once they are freed, the thrills continue. Being admitted to the horror hospital will make your heart pound and send chills down your body, leaving some visitors shaking like a leaf.

HIGHLIGHT

The guests are first treated to a spine-chilling experience with the night of the living dead escape room. There are three escape rooms that accommodate six people who are locked up to solve a series of horror- themed puzzles. The only way out is to piece together the intricate clues to escape before time expires.

People can experience terror with all five senses by walking through a terrifying maze set in a spooky, dim hospital. It can take up to 10 minutes to reach the end, but you will scramble for a faster finish while you are hunted down by bloody ghosts and surrounded by menacing screams.

Alaa Omar Bahattab, zone manager, said that the horror house receives around 1,500 people per day and during the weekend it is extremely crowded.

He said: “Overcoming fears, experiencing adrenaline rush make the haunted house attractive and makes people really come back for it. The village varies in scare intensity from the child-friendly mellowness to the 18-plus activities which are geared towards teenagers and young adults.”

For the kids, the village presents four different activities: a VR experience, a small maze with friendly ghosts hiding in it, a slime area and two theaters featuring child-friendly scary movies.

Bahattab mentioned that this area is specially designed for parents who want to have fun in the escape room and the horror hospital and can keep their kids entertained without any stress. The kids’ drop-off play area has well-trained staff who ensure the children are safe and smiling throughout.

In addition to the activities, the village features a haunted parade and a zombie flash mob that will leave guests with unforgettable memories.

There is also a horror-themed restaurant that offers a unique dining experience, where visitors can enjoy spooky entertainment with their meal.

Tuck into your zombie beef slider, zombie face cake, vampire blood juice, mojito zombie blood and other spooky treats.

The village is now gearing up to offer a frightening makeup stall to craft some of the creepy characters on the guests and another exciting scary zone.