Stars come out in Riyadh for Joy Awards 2022

The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
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Updated 28 January 2022

Stars come out in Riyadh for Joy Awards 2022

The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards. (Supplied)
  • John Travolta received lifetime achievement award from Saudi General Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Al-Sheikh

RIYADH: The Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater in Riyadh rolled out the purple carpet on Thursday, welcoming some of the biggest names in entertainment to the second annual Joy Awards.

“It’s my honor to be a part of something that helps spread the ultimate feeling: The feeling of joy,” US actor John Travolta said as he picked up his Lifetime Achievement Award. “And to be here on this stage tonight in this incredible celebration of culture; to be surrounded by such immense talents who are able to bring joy to millions through their music, their art, and, above all, their passion.

“I’ve worked with thousands of talented people — people that create movies and have caused the world to laugh and to cry and to smile too, hopefully, like this evening that is filled with joy,” he continued. 

Travolta, best known for his performances in “Grease,” “Saturday Night Fever,” and “Pulp Fiction,” received his award from Saudi General Entertainment Authority Chairman Turki Al-Sheikh.

“Four years ago, I visited Saudi Arabia. This is my second visit and I am truly impressed,” Travolta said. 

The star concluded his speech with an inspiring message for young Saudis. 

“All I want to say to the Saudi people, especially the younger generation, is ‘Keep dreaming and dream more and more,’ because — from what I can see — your dreams can come true,” he stated. 

The Joy Awards — part of Riyadh Season — is hosted by the GEA, in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030. It is billed as the largest celebration of entertainment creators in the Arab world.

More than 200 Arab and international artists were invited to the ceremony, which honored entertainers in 13 separate award categories ranging from television and cinema to social media, sports, and music.

The show kicked off with dancers and aerial performers decked out in gold putting on an extravagant theatrical show.

The awards began by celebrating the first category of best male television actor. Saudi star Yacob Alfarhan picked up the evening’s first award — Best Male TV Actor. 

“I thank everyone who took part in making the Joy Awards happen, especially Turki Al-Sheikh,” Farhan told Arab News. “I am happy to have such an event that connects us all.” 

Saudi singer and YouTube star Zena Emad took home the coveted Favorite New Face in Music award. Her fellow Saudi nominee, Ayed Yousef, told Arab News: “Being in the Joy Awards and being a part of Riyadh Season is a huge honor for me. Tonight, I have seen all the stars of the Arab world.”

Yousef was not exaggerating. Some of the biggest names in Middle Eastern music took to the stage to perform during the ceremony, including Kadim Al-Sahir, Hany Shaker, Mohammed Abdu, Elissa, Majid Al-Mohandis, and Assala Nasri.

Among the international winners was Bollywood star Salman Khan, who won the Personality of the Year award.  

“I’m excited and I’m happy. That love that you get from the fans all over the world? I really appreciate and treasure that,” Khan said.

“It’s been a very long, but very quick, journey,” the 56-year-old actor said of his career. “I think I was only about 18 or 19 when I signed my first film.”

Following an In Memoriam section, posthumous achievement awards were given to Egyptian entertainer Samir Ghanem and his wife, the actress Dalal Abdel Aziz, who both died last year. Their daughters, who are also actresses, received the awards from Al-Sheikh.

Saudi actor and writer Khalid Abdulaziz told Arab News that he would never forget the night.

“To be a part of Riyadh Season for the first time was a huge step in my career and the things I am seeing at the Joy Awards tonight are extraordinary,” he said. 


First for Saudi as domestic flight takes off with all-female crew

The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. (Supplied)
The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. (Supplied)
Updated 17 sec ago

First for Saudi as domestic flight takes off with all-female crew

The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. (Supplied)
  • Saudi women have proved themselves in many careers that men dominated for a long time including aviation-related positions

JEDDAH: Saudi low-cost airline flyadeal have announced the first domestic flight in the Kingdom with a fully female crew, most of them Saudis.

The announcement was made on the airline’s official Twitter account @flyadeal on Friday: “For the first time in Saudi aviation history! #flyadeal operated the first flight with an all-female crew, the majority of which are Saudis by the newest A320 aircraft. Flight 117, flew from #Riyadh to #Jeddah”

Saudi women have proved themselves in many careers that men dominated for a long time including aviation-related positions.

Flight 117, with a crew of seven, was co-piloted by Yara Jan, 23, who is also the youngest Saudi female pilot.

Jan told Arab News that she was extremely proud to be taking part in such a historic moment in aviation for Saudi women.

“As a Saudi woman trying to lead my country with a proud step it was a moment of pride and joy.”

Jan graduated from flight school in Florida, US, in 2019, and joined Flyadeal a year ago.

She said that being the co-pilot means assisting the pilot in many key role tasks such as navigation and completing many checklists.

Jan is aware of how important this is for young Saudi women.

“Although being a Saudi woman pilot is new, it is not impossible for our generation, especially with the backing that we are receiving from our beloved country and our respected leaders, who have supported me a lot to become the youngest female pilot in a Saudi airline. I will always be pleased to have the chance to make a positive change.”

The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. Three names stand out: Hanadi Zakaria Al-Hindi, the first female pilot to fly with a Saudi commercial pilot license; Rawia Al-Rifi the first to fly an Airbus A320 internationally as a civil aircraft from the UAE; and co-pilot Yasmin Al-Maimani, who was the first woman to co-pilot a commercial plane in the Kingdom.


Cuba supports Saudi Arabia’s bid to host Expo 2030

Cuba supports Saudi Arabia’s bid to host Expo 2030
Updated 21 May 2022

Cuba supports Saudi Arabia’s bid to host Expo 2030

Cuba supports Saudi Arabia’s bid to host Expo 2030
  • Saudi Arabia has emerged as a strong contender to host Expo 2030

DUBAI: Cuba is the latest among countries to express support to Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the Expo 2030 in Riyadh.

In a recent meeting between Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, and Vladimir Gonzalez, the Cuban envoy to the Kingdom, Havana “officially communicated the support of the Republic of Cuba for the Saudi candidacy to host the Universal Expo 2030.”

Vladimir Gonzalez, the Cuban envoy to the Kingdom, left, in a meeting with Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir. (Cuba’s Representative Office Abroad)

An official statement from the Cuban government also noted the meeting “addressed issues related to bilateral relations, particularly with the function of the Cuban diplomatic mission in Riyadh and the collaboration in the field of health.”

In December, Saudi Arabia took part in a virtual general assembly meeting of the Bureau International des Expositions held in Paris to start the candidature process, which will take place in five stages and will end with a vote at the end of 2023.

 

 

Saudi Arabia has emerged as a strong contender to host Expo 2030, having already won multiple international endorsements for its formal bid launched late last year. The theme proposed by the Kingdom is ‘The era of change: Leading the planet to a foresighted tomorrow.’

Five countries — Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Italy, Ukraine and Russia — are competing to host the global event.

 

 

Nigeria, Mauritius, Kenya, Zambia, Djibouti, Morocco and Cameroon were among other countries who earlier pledged full support for Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the event. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation pitched its backing of Riyadh’s bid to host Expo 2030.

Dubai hosted the most recent expo – from Oct. 1, 2021 until March 31, 2022 – while the next one will be held in Osaka, Kansai, Japan between April to October 2025.


Saudi deputy defense minister: UN, international pressure needed for Houthis to engage in peace process 

Saudi deputy defense minister: UN, international pressure needed for Houthis to engage in peace process 
Updated 21 May 2022

Saudi deputy defense minister: UN, international pressure needed for Houthis to engage in peace process 

Saudi deputy defense minister: UN, international pressure needed for Houthis to engage in peace process 
  • The two-month ceasefire took effect on April 2 across Yemen

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defense met the US Special Envoy for Yemen in Washington to discuss the conflict in Taiz and the need for UN-backed peace proposals to pose pressure on the Houthi militant group. 

Prince Khalid bin Salman said that he affirmed to Timothy Lenderking the “Saudi-led Coalition’s backing of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council”,  in a statement posted on his official Twitter account on Saturday.  

“Although the momentum of the truce remains high, I reaffirmed the need for the United Nations and the international community to pressure the Houthis into reopening the roads of Taiz, deposit revenues of the Hodeidah port, and engage with peace proposals,” the statement added.

Prince Khalid also said he reiterated Saudi Arabia’s “aspirations for reaching a comprehensive political resolution to the crisis that will lead Yemen into peace and prosperity.”

The two-month ceasefire, which took effect on April 2, aimed to stop hostilities across the country, allow for the reopening of Sanaa International Airport, enable fuel ships into the port at Hodeidah and open roads in Taiz and many other provinces.

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Special fun-filled activities lined up for young Jeddah Season visitors

The Blippi- branded activity corner allows kids to learn and explore new concepts followed by a photo session. (Supplied)
The Blippi- branded activity corner allows kids to learn and explore new concepts followed by a photo session. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2022

Special fun-filled activities lined up for young Jeddah Season visitors

The Blippi- branded activity corner allows kids to learn and explore new concepts followed by a photo session. (Supplied)
  • Little Village zones feature favorite characters Peppa Pig, Blippi, L.O.L Surprise!

JEDDAH: A fun-filled agenda awaits children at the Jeddah Pier amusement park, one of the entertainment attractions at this year’s Jeddah Season festival of activities.

The specially created Little Village large play area offers games and events for youngsters through to June 28 in three activity zones featuring children’s characters Peppa Pig, Blippi, and L.O.L Surprise!

The Blippi-branded activity corner allows kids to learn and explore new concepts, and the iconic Blippi appeared for a soft opening of the Little Village during which visitors took part in a meet and greet, followed by a photo session.

The L.O.L Surprise! activity corner gives girls the opportunity to wear their favorite dresses, enjoy hair and makeup sessions, and try out cooking, singing, and dancing, and special fashion shows let little fashionistas take a ramp walk.

Meanwhile, the Peppa Pig activity corner has a range of activities including painting classes and the chance to play in the cartoon character’s grocery store.

Fadi Yousuf, site manager of Hwadi Events, Jeddah Pier’s organizing company, said: “Packed with wonderful and imaginative activities, we aim to create memories that will turn the Jeddah Season into a world of unforgettable stories for children.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The specially created Little Village large play area offers games and events for youngsters through to June 28 in three activity zones featuring children’s characters Peppa Pig, Blippi, and L.O.L Surprise!

• Jeddah Pier, open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., offers 39 entertainment attractions, seven diverse international experiences, and a roller coaster, among a host of other events. And musical parades including acrobats, and people dressed as trees, zombies, and track-suited monkeys are an integral part of the zone’s events.

“With the help of Spacetoon, we were delighted to bring the much-loved character Blippi to Jeddah and receive an amazing response from the fans.

“Apart from enjoying the activities, kids will be able to purchase Blippi, L.O.L Surprise!, and Peppa Pig products onsite.”

Jeddah Pier, open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., offers 39 entertainment attractions, seven diverse international experiences, and a roller coaster, among a host of other events.

And musical parades including acrobats, and people dressed as trees, zombies, and track-suited monkeys are an integral part of the zone’s events.

Jeddah Season will also be hosting a toy festival running until May 23 at Jeddah Superdome, the world’s largest geodesic dome without pillars, and kids who missed meeting Blippi at Jeddah Pier will get another chance at the festival.

More than 40 international toy brands are attending the event that will include stands and exhibitions, live shows, and performances of the Smurfs, Sonic, Peppa Pig, and other character favorites.

The annual Jeddah Season festival aims to highlight the city’s rich heritage and culture through a total of 2,800 activities in nine zones over the event period.

Being held under the slogan, Our Lovely Days, the second Jeddah Season follows on from the success of Riyadh Season that recorded more than 15 million visits over five months.

The festival season offers 70 interactive experiences, more than 60 recreational activities, seven Arab and two international plays, marine events, a circus, four international exhibitions, and a host of other services for families.

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Saudi artists shed light on the resurgence of analog photography

Analog photography is becoming more and more popular amongst Saudi and regional photographers. (Supplied)
Analog photography is becoming more and more popular amongst Saudi and regional photographers. (Supplied)
Updated 20 May 2022

Saudi artists shed light on the resurgence of analog photography

Analog photography is becoming more and more popular amongst Saudi and regional photographers. (Supplied)
  • While analog photography is becoming more and more popular amongst Saudi and regional photographers, there is still a shortage of labs and studios accessible to the public

RIYADH: At a time when one might view analog photography as an outdated craft, it is, in fact, becoming increasingly popular across the world, including in Saudi Arabia.

“Photos are the closest humanity has gotten to time travel,” said photographer Abdullah Al-Azzaz, whose has followed in the footsteps of his father, Saleh, who was also a photographer.

The newly established Bayt Al-Malaz — a creative space in the heart of Riyadh’s Malaz District — recently hosted an intriguing conversation about the significance and popularity of analog photography between Al-Azzaz and Princess Reem Al-Faisal, moderated by Sarah Assiri. The event was part of Bayt Al-Malaz’s “Moflmeen” discussion series.

HIGHLIGHT

While analog photography is becoming more and more popular amongst Saudi and regional photographers, there is still a shortage of labs and studios accessible to the public. In Riyadh, the number of studios where film can be developed has fallen from four to just a single space — Haitham Studios. This is largely due to the financial cost of establishing such a studio and the turnaround time for film development.

The two photographers addressed the issue of why — when digital cameras are so ubiquitous and easy to use — analog is making a comeback.

“My photography revolves around permanence, praise, eternality, and the spiritual side of us. The individual is a soul and not a body,” said Al-Faisal. “For us, film represents the soul. We are all born with natural instincts, and film, in its natural form, is untouched. It represents the soul that transforms after birth in dealing with life, accumulations, and memories — bad and good. It’s a way of expressing humanity.”

Al-Azzaz said that, for him, it was more about the technique than the philosophy of it all. “The experience of developing in a darkroom is so enriching. It separates you from the world, totally quiet and dark. It’s just you and the photo. It allows you to reflect on the photo more and gives you more freedom in reimagining it,” he said.

Photo manipulation, he explained, is not exclusive to digital photography. Before the existence of Photoshop, images could be manipulated in the darkroom using retouching techniques and tools, including cropping, brushing, dodging, burning and masking.

To really understand the true art of photography, some would argue, it is important to learn its history. Digital photography is not a replacement for film, but another medium entirely. “In any art, not just photography, we have to have a cultural, historical, and technical awareness… we are all an accumulation,” said Al-Faisal. “We are a product of our society and a product of our time. We cannot claim we aren’t affected [by these things]. Whoever claims otherwise is delusional.”

While analog photography is becoming more and more popular amongst Saudi and regional photographers, there is still a shortage of labs and studios accessible to the public. In Riyadh, the number of studios where film can be developed has fallen from four to just a single space — Haitham Studios. This is largely due to the financial cost of establishing such a studio and the turnaround time for film development.

The founder of the studio, Haitham Al-Sharif, explained the immersive nature of analog photography. “I chose film photography because I hated having no connection with my photos. With film photography, I take a max of 40 photos in a session. I can’t see them; I have to live in the moment, I have to listen and smell the streets, I have to talk to my subject if I’m taking their portraits, I have to listen to the music if I’m at a concert,” he told Arab News. “To me, that is art. That is the beauty of film.”

The lengthy process involved in analog photography can be intimidating and off-putting to amateur photographers. That’s why the development of the first digital camera in 1975 was so groundbreaking. Now, in an economy driven by content creation and visual media, content production is easier — and quicker — than ever before. But to some, the key difference lies in the creative experience itself. Some analog photographers suggest it is a way to truly connect with the moment, even if the results are not always what society deems ‘Insta-worthy.’

“When you can’t see the photo you aren’t forced to change it to make it the same as what the media thinks is good or what a magazine thinks is good. Film forces you to be patient and slow. It forces you to live in the (moment),” said Al-Sharif. “As a film photographer, you live in front of the lens as much as at the back of the lens. You become more connected to what you are photographing.”