First AlUla art residency program launched at Saudi heritage site

First AlUla art residency program launched at Saudi heritage site
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Hawa City by Sofiane Si Merabet, 2018. (Courtesy of the artist)
First AlUla art residency program launched at Saudi heritage site
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Toutes ces filles couronnées de langues : les instruments by Laura Sellies and Amélie Giacomini, 2019. (Courtesy of the artist)
First AlUla art residency program launched at Saudi heritage site
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Streams, dreams and flow states by Muhannad Shonno, 2019. (Courtesy of the artist)
First AlUla art residency program launched at Saudi heritage site
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A Concise Passage by Rashed AlShashai, 2020. (Courtesy of the artist)
First AlUla art residency program launched at Saudi heritage site
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La redite en somme, ne s’amuse pas de sa répétition singulière by Sara Favriau, 2016. (Courtesy of the artist)
First AlUla art residency program launched at Saudi heritage site
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Transient by Talin Hazbar, 2017-2018. (Courtesy of the artist)
First AlUla art residency program launched at Saudi heritage site
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Updated 03 December 2021

First AlUla art residency program launched at Saudi heritage site

First AlUla art residency program launched at Saudi heritage site
  • Six artists are currently part of the pilot residency running until January 14

The Royal Commission for AlUla and the French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula) have announced the launch of the first art residency program at the Saudi heritage site.

The 11-week project, to be operated by Manifesto, aims to foster dialogue, exchange, and collaboration between the artists in residence and the community of experts working on the ground in AlUla, as well as local practitioners and other members of the community, a statement said.

Six artists are currently part of the pilot residency running until Jan. 14.

The work of Riyadh-based conceptual artist and arts educator Rashed Al-Shashai, from Saudi Arabia, explores the purpose of human existence and the functions of society with everyday objects and imagery.

French multidisciplinary artist Sara Favriau, who is based in Paris, produces sculptures, installations, and performances that investigate the very permanence of self, nature, and works of art.

Talin Hazbar, from Syria, works out of Sharjah, in the UAE, and is an architect and visual artist. Her work and processes aim to showcase the overlapping boundaries in nature, history, and ecology.

Paris-based French multimedia artist Laura Sellies finds new ways to understand the relationship between sculptures, people, images, and sounds through her work.

Sofiane Si Merabet, also French but operating from Dubai, is a multimedia artist who interrogates memories, identities, and migration.

And from his base in Riyadh, Saudi multidisciplinary artist Muhannad Shono explores what lies beneath the surface of the human experience.

Nora Al-Dabal, the RCU’s arts and creative planning director, said: “This pilot artist residency is a new milestone in AlUla’s cultural development. Our goal is not only to provide unique cultural experiences for visitors but also to contribute to creating a flourishing cultural ecosystem with a vibrant arts district and space for artists and creatives in AlUla.

“The art residency pilot program will lay solid grounds for such ambition.”

The pilot edition will be based in Mabiti AlUla, a palm grove and guest house in the heart of AlUla’s oasis. It will subsequently be established in Madrasat AdDeera, an arts and design center.

Artists in residence have already started building collaborations with local artisans through programs held at Madrasat AdDeera while delving deeper and focusing their research on the local materials of AlUla, and its craft and cultural practices, the statement added.

It is anticipated that Madrasat AdDeera will become a key anchor asset of the future arts district of AlUla, a dynamic cluster of programs, education, and production that will form an active and vibrant arts destination for communities, students, artists, and visitors.

Afalula scientific director, Jean-Francois Charnier, said: “The originality of this very first art residency program developed in partnership between the Royal Commission for AlUla and the French Agency for AlUla Development relies on the cooperation between international artists with the impressive array of scientific experts currently working in the oasis, including archaeologists, anthropologists, agriculture experts, botanists, and many more.”

Arnaud Morand, Afalula’s head of creation and innovation, said: “It is an unprecedented experiment to associate at this level artistic vision and scientific approaches in the writing of the narratives and the reimagination of a destination.

“This will undoubtedly contribute to further mark the originality of AlUla as a cultural destination of a new kind.”

And Laure Confavreux-Colliex, executive director at Manifesto, said: “We are very proud that Manifesto has been chosen to launch this first artists’ hub in the heart of AlUla’s oasis. We are working on site to make this the very start of a destination truly built by artists.”


Tuwaiq Mountains: The most popular sightseeing spot an hour away from Riyadh

Tuwaiq Mountains: The most popular sightseeing spot an hour away from Riyadh
Updated 12 sec ago

Tuwaiq Mountains: The most popular sightseeing spot an hour away from Riyadh

Tuwaiq Mountains: The most popular sightseeing spot an hour away from Riyadh
  • The Edge of the World, which offers an astonishingly dramatic view, is located at the end of a windy desert path that continues along the ridge of this escarpment

RIYADH: The Tuwaiq Mountains, which are said to be familiar to every citizen of Saudi Arabia, are among the most fascinating mountain ranges in the world.

This mountain range is a narrow escarpment that cuts through the plateau of Nejd in central Arabia, running from the southern border of Al-Qasim in the north to the northern edge of the Empty Quarter desert near Wadi ad-Dawasir in the south. It is located approximately 120km from the capital, with the trip taking about an hour and a half by car.

Given that this spot is particularly popular among adventurers and tourists, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman compared the disposition of the Saudi Arabian people to the Tuwaiq Mountains during his speech at the Future Investment Initiative Conference.

The Edge of the World, which offers an astonishingly dramatic view, is located at the end of a windy desert path that continues along the ridge of this escarpment.

Tuwaiq is the diminutive form of the term for collar, and the Tuwaiq Mountains were given this name because they are shaped like a 800km-long cordon that surrounds the Riyadh Region.

Visitors who come to the Tuwaiq Mountains for hiking can take various routes to reach the summit. Since the topography features sharp inclines, while the path is made of loose gravel, there is a need to climb steep slopes, and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

You can enjoy seeing camels and ancient ruins along the riverbed cutting through the valley below, as well as fossils that are a relic from back when this area used to be on the sea floor.

It usually takes 15 to 30 minutes to reach the edge of the cliff, but there are many places along the way where you can stop to enjoy the views.

Since the gates to go outside close at 6 PM, you must make sure to give yourself enough time for the way back, unless you are planning to camp overnight in the Acacia Valley.

Because you will need a high-sensitivity GPS receiver and a sports utility vehicle to access areas where you can enjoy the distinctive sunset and night sky that is full of stars, it would be ideal to join a group of multiple people traveling by car.

* This story originally appeared on arabnews.jp, read it here.


Police thwart attempt to smuggle 1 million amphetamine pills into Saudi Arabia

Major Muhammad Al-Nujaidi of the General Directorate of Narcotics Control said the drugs were found in the possession of two citizens. (SPA)
Major Muhammad Al-Nujaidi of the General Directorate of Narcotics Control said the drugs were found in the possession of two citizens. (SPA)
Updated 26 January 2022

Police thwart attempt to smuggle 1 million amphetamine pills into Saudi Arabia

Major Muhammad Al-Nujaidi of the General Directorate of Narcotics Control said the drugs were found in the possession of two citizens. (SPA)
  • Two citizens were arrested in Taif, initial legal measures have been taken against them

RIYADH: Police in Saudi Arabia thwarted an attempt to smuggle more than a million amphetamine tablets into the Kingdom, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Major Muhammad Al-Nujaidi of the General Directorate of Narcotics Control said the drugs were found in the possession of two citizens.

Al-Nujaidi said they were arrested in Taif, initial legal measures have been taken against them and they have been referred to the Public Prosecution.


Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses cooperation with Chinese defense minister

Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses cooperation with Chinese defense minister
Updated 26 January 2022

Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses cooperation with Chinese defense minister

Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses cooperation with Chinese defense minister
  • Prince Khalid and Wei Fenghe reviewed the historic ties between Saudi Arabia and China

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman and China’s Minister of National Defense discussed defense cooperation on Wednesday.

During a virtual meeting, Prince Khalid and Wei Fenghe reviewed the historic ties between Saudi Arabia and China.

The officials also explored ways to strengthen their military coordination. 


Saudi Arabia reports 4,526 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

Saudi Arabia reports 4,526 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths
Updated 26 January 2022

Saudi Arabia reports 4,526 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

Saudi Arabia reports 4,526 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 617,114
  • A total of 8,927 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced three deaths from COVID-19 and 4,526 new infections on Wednesday.

Of the new cases, 1,489 were recorded in Riyadh, 472 in Jeddah, 198 in Hofuf, 194 in Makkah, 139 in Madinah, 137 in Dammam, and 119 in Jazan. Several other cities recorded less than one hundred new cases each.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 617,114 after 5,772 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,927 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Nearly 56 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi justice minister discusses cooperation with British counterpart

Saudi justice minister discusses cooperation with British counterpart
Updated 26 January 2022

Saudi justice minister discusses cooperation with British counterpart

Saudi justice minister discusses cooperation with British counterpart
  • Al-Samaani said that the Kingdom has achieved great qualitative leaps during the past years through its transformational projects and developing and improving all sectors

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Justice Dr. Walid Al-Samaani has met his British counterpart Dominic Raab in London to discuss ways to enhance cooperation in the judicial and justice fields between the two ministries.

Al-Samaani said that the Kingdom has achieved great qualitative leaps during the past years through its transformational projects and developing and improving all sectors.

He told Raab that “the interest and support of the Kingdom’s leadership contributed to a qualitative developmental shift in the judicial and justice sector in the Kingdom at its substantive and procedural levels,” Saudi Press Agency reported.

Al-Samaani said this included applying the concept of institutional justice, activating the specialized judiciary, supporting human rights, and digitizing judicial services in courts and notaries.

He also touched on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent announcement to develop the specialized legislation system through four basic systems, including the system of evidence that was issued and will be implemented soon.

“This qualitative legislative development will achieve more justice, enhance judicial guarantees, will be consistent with international conventions, and responds to the digital and economic changes the world is witnessing by developing legal and preventive tools,” he said.

A number of British judicial leaders also attended the meeting and the visit is aimed at boosting mutual cooperation between the two countries in light of a memorandum of understanding signed between the two sides.