New program to boost Saudi crafting skills

Preserving the country’s heritage is best achieved by ‘paying attention to reviving traditional and industrial crafts.’ (SPA)
Preserving the country’s heritage is best achieved by ‘paying attention to reviving traditional and industrial crafts.’ (SPA)
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Updated 19 January 2022

New program to boost Saudi crafting skills

Preserving the country’s heritage is best achieved by ‘paying attention to reviving traditional and industrial crafts.’ (SPA)
  • Initial phase will focus on the Bedouin style of weaving

JEDDAH: The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts has launched an apprenticeship program for traditional crafts.

The first phase of the initiative will focus on the Bedouin style of weaving known as Al-Sadu, and traditional mud-brick construction techniques.
The aim of the program is to revive and preserve traditional arts and crafts by transferring knowledge from master artisans to a new generation.
Prince Bader bin Farhan, the minister of culture and governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla, announced the initiative in a message posted on Twitter: “To keep it a #Living_Identity, the #Royal_Institute_of_Traditional_Arts launched the Apprenticeship Program in traditional Al-Sadu and mud construction tracks. #saudivision2030.”
Suzan Al-Yahya, the director-general of RITA, also highlighted the initiative on Twitter, writing: “We are honored to revive our traditional arts through the establishment and implementation of #Apprenticeship Programs over the course of 30 weeks, which depend on transferring skills and knowledge from senior artisans to apprentices through a unique relationship … while learning the craft, ensuring experience is exchanged in its authentic form.”

The availability of new markets for craft products is one of the country’s tourism opportunities.

Laila Al-Bassam

Prince Bader said traditional crafts are part of the history of the Saudi community and must be preserved, developed and passed on to future generations, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The launch of the apprenticeship program marks an important step in the efforts to achieve this, he added, and will create job opportunities and support the plans of the Ministry of Culture in line with goals of Vision 2030.
Laila Al-Bassam, a professor at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh who specializes in the history of Saudi clothing, told Arab News that preserving the country’s heritage is best achieved by “paying attention to reviving and developing traditional and industrial crafts, raising awareness among citizens about the national and economic importance of the country’s heritage, as these crafts can also be one of the tributaries of human development that could accomplish self-sufficiency in some fields.”
She added: “Spreading awareness about the importance of traditional crafts is one of the requirements to revive them. It is also important to transfer them to the new generation as the availability of new markets for craft products is one of the country’s tourism opportunities.”

Other crafts will be added to the apprenticeship program over time, including binding and gilding, metalworking, Al-Qatt Al-Asiri (a type of interior wall decoration traditionally practiced by women in the Kingdom’s Asir region) and embroidery.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture announced on Twitter the launch of a related initiative that seeks the help of educators to safeguard Saudi intangible cultural heritage.
The ministry wrote: “The intangible cultural heritage initiative is an invitation to all teachers and lecturers in the Kingdom to participate in documenting and preserving the Saudi intangible cultural heritage.”
RITA is dedicated to the preservation and promotion, locally and internationally, of traditional arts as part of the Saudi national identity. It was established in Riyadh last year as part of the Quality of Life Program, in line with the aims and initiatives of Saudi Vision 2030.
The traditional Saudi craft of Al-Sadu weaving was added to the UNESCO intangible heritage list in 2020.It is described as a traditional form of weaving practiced by Bedouin women. Al-Sadu translates as weaving in a horizontal style.


Saudi doctors separate conjoined twins from war-torn Yemen

Saudi doctors separate conjoined twins from war-torn Yemen
Updated 52 min 15 sec ago

Saudi doctors separate conjoined twins from war-torn Yemen

Saudi doctors separate conjoined twins from war-torn Yemen
  • Last July Saudi doctors separated a Yemeni baby from her parasitic twin

RIYADH: Doctors in Saudi Arabia have successfully separated Yemeni conjoined twins after a “complicated” 15-hour operation, Saudi state media reported on Monday.
The baby boys, Yussef and Yassin, were “conjoined in several organs,” and some 24 doctors were involved in the operation to separate them, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
The center’s doctors carried out the “four-phase surgery” separating Yussef and Yassin, describing it as “among the most complicated” they had performed, the SPA said Monday.
Last July Saudi doctors separated a Yemeni baby from her parasitic twin, saying at the time it was their 50th successful operation on conjoined twins.
In December a separate set of Yemeni twins were separated by doctors in Jordan’s capital Amman before being flown back to Sanaa, according to the UN children’s agency.
Last week Saudi King Salman ordered that yet another set of Yemeni conjoined twins, girls named Mawaddah and Rahmah, be transferred to Riyadh “to conduct medical examinations and check on the possibility” of separation, the SPA reported.
The king “attaches big importance to the Saudi programme for the Siamese twins,” the SPA report said.


King Salman leaves hospital after medical examinations

King Salman leaves hospital after medical examinations
Updated 15 May 2022

King Salman leaves hospital after medical examinations

King Salman leaves hospital after medical examinations
  • King Salman thanked well-wishers within Saudi Arabia and from friendly countries

JEDDAH: King Salman left King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah on Sunday evening after undergoing medical examinations and successfully completing the treatment plan and recovery period.

Saudi Press Agency reported the king thanked well-wishers within Saudi Arabia and from friendly countries for their messages of support.


Dutch artist Satori headlines Riyadh desert event

DJ NarkBeat engaged the crowd with his notable performance at Desert Sounds'
DJ NarkBeat engaged the crowd with his notable performance at Desert Sounds' "Mars Escape" on Friday. (AN photo/Basheer Saleh)
Updated 15 May 2022

Dutch artist Satori headlines Riyadh desert event

DJ NarkBeat engaged the crowd with his notable performance at Desert Sounds' "Mars Escape" on Friday. (AN photo/Basheer Saleh)
  • New wave of events featuring international lineup of artists and diverse activities catering to music lovers, weekend family entertainment in Riyadh

RIYADH: On Friday, a vibrant series of electronic house music bounced off the hills of the Riyadh desert at the NOX Camp Desert Resort, bringing together music, art and desert-sport lovers alike in a one-of-a-kind event.

The exclusive music and art event organizer, Desert Sound Entertainment, presented their premiere “Mars Escape” experience to the Saudi community, transporting about 1,000 attendees to another dimension made distinct by live art, festival makeup and fire performances.

The moon shone, setting up the atmosphere for the celestial night, the music ascended. Headlined by Satori, the international DJ lineup included the likes of Alaa Jazaery, Rafa, NarkBeat, and a surprise performance by local DJ Ibbie.

One. of. the Mars. Escape attendees enjoyed one of the many games and activities 'Mars Escape' had to offer. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

The 10-hour festival saw a distinctive blend of artists taking to the main stage. Rafa gave the crowd a sensual and authentically earthy organic house experience while NarkBeat’s performance left the crowd in anticipation with sultry Arabian oud sounds. Alaa Jazaeri, founder of a similar music festival titled “Narratives,” slowed down the groove with an organic and soulful house music set, taking festival-goers on a mini-journey.

The diverse music echoing the valley of the desert culminated with Satori, a world-famous Dutch producer whose music focuses on spirituality and enlightenment. His set took off promptly at midnight and closed the event. His stop at Riyadh is part of his world tour this month with upcoming shows in Moscow, Stockholm and London.

HIGHLIGHT

Rafa gave the crowd a sensual and authentically earthy organic house experience while NarkBeat’s performance left the crowd in anticipation with sultry Arabian oud sounds.

“I would not imagine from this side of the world that people would know me and connect with the music in this way, so it was really a big pleasure. I’ve been playing in this region of course already for a few years, if we speak about Dubai or Egypt, I played in Oman and Lebanon, but never in Saudi,” Satori said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

Satori’s mellow sounds, crafted under the influence of the Japanese term “Satori,” cannot be narrowed down to a single genre, but rather a feeling. His music combines elements of self-exploration, earthy melodies, psychedelic tones and vivid energy. The crescendo of the piano, synthetic electronic beats and kalimba prompted a series of cheers as people danced. Almost every listener was rhythmically entranced, surrendering to the sound.

AN photo by Basheer Saleh

“For me it feels like I’m part of innovation. There’s something progressing and just to be part of that is really a great honor. It feels like we’re writing history and I’m kind of part of that chapter,” he said of his recent performance. “In the end, music is a universal language, people would connect to that or understand that even if they’re not used to these types of events. People will feel it.”

While primarily centered around the musical performances, the Saudi General Entertainment Authority-certified event also included an array of cultural activities such as art installations, graffiti sites and street art, virtual reality booths, games, and live catering. “We wanted to complete the music experience as a whole, connecting with nature and expressing through art and feeling with music,” assistant manager, Reema Al-Saud, told Arab News.

Event-goers were ready to indulge in the cultural aspect of the experience. “This is my first experience, and it gives a nice vibe,” said attendee Bha’a Mahdi. “I didn’t like that there wasn’t a big crowd. The place is very, very gorgeous. Incredible. It’s unreal. I liked the music, but was hoping the music would have more drops and highs. I felt united with the desert, I even removed my shoes,” he said.

Other members of the audience had similar comments. “The location is good, the vibe is nice. Just one thing: I wish there were more people,” said one attendee.

“The ground traps you. The sand doesn’t give you way to dance or walk,” said another attendee.

This international lineup and diverse activities come after a new wave of events that cater to those music-lovers, the latest being Freaks of Nature, bringing new meaning to weekend family entertainment ventures in Riyadh.


Saudi Civil Defense rescues pet animals trapped in Alkhobar fire

A Civil Defense crew in Alkhobar rescued animals including cats, dogs and fish from Pets Houses. (Saudi Civil Defense)
A Civil Defense crew in Alkhobar rescued animals including cats, dogs and fish from Pets Houses. (Saudi Civil Defense)
Updated 15 May 2022

Saudi Civil Defense rescues pet animals trapped in Alkhobar fire

A Civil Defense crew in Alkhobar rescued animals including cats, dogs and fish from Pets Houses. (Saudi Civil Defense)
  • All animals are subject to periodic medical checkups by Pets Houses’ veterinarian clinic, which provides for all their needs, including hygiene

RIYADH: Pet owners were relieved after their animals were rescued from a massive fire that broke out Friday inside Alkhobar’s Dhahran Mall in eastern Saudi Arabia.

A Civil Defense crew in Alkhobar rescued animals including cats, dogs and fish from Pets Houses, a pet supplies store in the largest commercial complex in the Eastern Province.

The animals were transported during daylight hours after a fire that started on the complex’s roof was put out.

We always find these (Civil Defense) heroes providing assistance and saving lives, says Badr S. Al-Turaif, General manager Rahmah Animal Welfare Association

According to a Civil Defense source, it is part of firefighters’ job in such circumstances to perform search and rescue operations at the scene to ensure that no one is trapped inside and that any animals are rescued.

The same source told Arab News that firefighters evacuated the pets to a safe location outside the mall before the animals were returned to their owners.

Nawaf Al-Mandeel, general manager of Pets Houses, said that “the shock was tremendous at Pets Houses,” following the fire that broke out at Dhahran Mall, where one of the company’s branches is located.

Firefighters rescuing animals from a pet shop near the conflagration which broke out in Dharhan Mall and caused a lot of damage while a fireman appears to carrying a fish tank. (Supplied/Saudi Civil Defense)

Al-Mandeel said that Pets Houses does its best to afford care and a decent life for the many pets at the branch located in Dhahran Mall. Pet owners regularly come to the branch, he said, to purchase supplies and learn how to breed and care for their pets as part of the family.

All animals are subject to periodic medical checkups by Pets Houses’ veterinarian clinic, which provides for all their needs, including hygiene, he said.

“We were shocked by the news of the fire that morning. We contacted the authorities and alerted them to the presence of pets inside our branch located inside the complex, and they responded immediately,” Al-Mandeel added.

Firefighters rescuing animals from a pet shop near the conflagration which broke out in Dharhan Mall and caused a lot of damage while a fireman appears to carrying a fish tank. (Supplied/Saudi Civil Defense)

He described the waiting periods as “excruciating” until he received the welcome news that all the animals at the branch had been rescued and transported safely and without any injuries, thanks to the efforts of the Civil Defense “heroes.”

“The team brought the animals to our veterinary clinic swiftly to check on their health. The medical team confirmed the safety of all the animals,” he said.

Badr S. Al-Turaif, general manager of Rahmah Animal Welfare Association, told Arab News that the association is in contact with the shop’s management and that the animals are in good health, adding that they had not been exposed to either fire or fumes as the shop is located relatively far from the fire site.

Nawaf Al-Mandeel, General Manager of Pets Houses. (Supplied)

“The courageous efforts of the Civil Defense team are not surprising,” Al-Turaif said. “We always find these heroes at the center of incidents, providing assistance and saving lives.”

Al-Turaif urged pet store owners to implement the preventive measures outlined by the Civil Defense to avoid tragedies in the future. These include setting fire alarms, developing an emergency and evacuation plan, ensuring adequate ventilation, designing the shop in a way that allows for the implementation of these measures, and creating an appropriate environment for animals so that their health and safety are not jeopardized.


Grand Mosque robots answer pilgrims’ questions in 11 languages

Grand Mosque robots answer pilgrims’ questions in 11 languages
Updated 15 May 2022

Grand Mosque robots answer pilgrims’ questions in 11 languages

Grand Mosque robots answer pilgrims’ questions in 11 languages
  • The robots guide pilgrims on how to perform their Umrah rituals, issue fatwas, and answer questions
  • They also have high resolution cameras that provide clarity in transmitting images, high resolution headphones, and a microphone with high capture quality

RIYADH: Robots that provide visitors to the Grand Mosque in Makkah with guidance can be accessed in 11 languages: Arabic, English, French, Russian, Persian, Turkish, Malay, Urdu, Chinese, Bengali, Hausa.

The robots guide pilgrims on how to perform their Umrah rituals, issue fatwas, answer questions and provide opportunities for people to communicate with scholars remotely.

The four-wheeled robots have 21-inch touchscreens and are equipped with a smart stopping system that allows them to be moved easily and smoothly.

They also have high resolution cameras that provide clarity in transmitting images, high resolution headphones, and a microphone with high capture quality that allows clear sound transmission.

The robots work on a Wi-Fi wireless network system at a speed of 5 GHz which enables fast and high transmission of data.