Artists honor healthcare provider with Jeddah art workshop

Several renowned Saudi artists participated in the exhibition and workshop at Jeddah’s Gardenia Residential Complex. (Supplied)
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Several renowned Saudi artists participated in the exhibition and workshop at Jeddah’s Gardenia Residential Complex. (Supplied)
Artists honor healthcare provider with Jeddah art workshop
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Artwork by Maysa Mostafa
Artists honor healthcare provider with Jeddah art workshop
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artwork by Amal Felimban
Artists honor healthcare provider with Jeddah art workshop
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Art piece by Amjad Shouqi
Artists honor healthcare provider with Jeddah art workshop
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artwork by Rana Al-Saggaf
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Updated 19 April 2022

Artists honor healthcare provider with Jeddah art workshop

Several renowned Saudi artists participated in the exhibition and workshop at Jeddah’s Gardenia Residential Complex. (Supplied)
  • The idea of the workshop and exhibition began after an artist’s mother received extensive care at KFAFH before she died

JEDDAH: In recognition of the services that Saudi hospitals are providing, an art exhibition and workshop were organized at Jeddah’s Gardenia Residential Complex on Saturday with 22 artists from Egypt, Yemen, India and Saudi Arabia.

Under the theme “Our old neighborhood’s doors,” the three-day outdoor event, organized by the Art Harmony gallery, was a sign of appreciation for the King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital.

FASTFACT

Under the theme ‘Our old neighborhood’s doors,’ the three-day event, organized by the Art Harmony gallery, was a sign of appreciation for the King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital.

The inaugural day was attended by the Japanese consul general in Jeddah, Izuru Shimmura. Saudi princess and poet “Jawharat Al-Sahra” was an honorary guest at the event.

The idea of the workshop and exhibition began after an artist’s mother received extensive care at KFAFH before she died. Some ten days after her loss, Matluba Qurban told fellow artists about the excellent medical services her mother had received at the hospital.

Asking Allah for mercy for Qurban’s mother, colleagues expressed their desire to offer a gesture of loyalty to KFAFH and its healthcare workers through an artistic workshop, with all paintings to be gifted to the medical institution to add an aesthetic touch to the hospital corridors.

Qurban, one of the organizers, said that 22 artists of both genders took part in the exhibition and workshop.

“Their paintings, which bring back our beautiful old neighborhoods, will be presented to the KFAFH officials who have allocated a place in the hospital for the artworks to be hung. It was really nice of the KFAFH to accept our initiative,” she said.

She said that several renowned Saudi artists, such as Amal Felimban, Fahad Turkistani and Abdullah Al-Sulaimani, participated in the exhibition and workshop.

Dr. Khalid Aql, a co-organizer, told Arab News that the artists had insisted on expressing their gratitude to the hospital.

“The message of art is basically human. We, as artists, are always present at the occasions where a service provider is honored for their exceptional performance,” Aql said.

He said that the participating artists had been keen to take part in the workshop, adding that their artworks would be displayed in a distinguished health service-providing institution.

Jawharat Al-Sahra told Arab News that hospitals deserved tribute for the services they provided to patients.

“These artists have devotedly gathered to show respect and appreciation to our hospitals, represented here by KFAFH. We are, in fact, proud of these advanced healthcare facilities that provide health services to both Saudis and residents,” the princess said.

 


US Levantine artist Sarah Awad: ‘What’s exciting about painting is the sense of the unknown’ 

US Levantine artist Sarah Awad: ‘What’s exciting about painting is the sense of the unknown’ 
Sarah Awad's "Cosmic Harmonizers" (2022). (Supplied)
Updated 01 December 2022

US Levantine artist Sarah Awad: ‘What’s exciting about painting is the sense of the unknown’ 

US Levantine artist Sarah Awad: ‘What’s exciting about painting is the sense of the unknown’ 
  • The Los Angeles-based painter discusses her first show in the Middle East 

DUBAI: Los Angeles-based painter Sarah Awad was born to a Lebanese-Syrian father and a Lebanese mother. Despite her Levantine-Arab roots, however, she only made her first visit to the Middle East in November, to install her show at The Third Line in Dubai, “Rainbow Clearance and Other Paintings,” which will occupy the gallery’s two floors until Dec. 16.  

“The thing that really struck me about Dubai was the international community and how vibrant and diverse it is,” Awad tells Arab News. “People are really hospitable, warm and engaged. They come and they participate. It feels small, because everyone knows each other and supports each other.”  

Sarah Awad. (Supplied)

Awad has been interested in art since childhood. “Art education in the States is not great and my family are not artists, but my mom always exposed me to creative projects,” she says. “For some reason, when I was a kid, I knew I was going to be a painter. 

“I don’t think I can imagine doing anything else. I think painting is both a joy and a gift, and also a source of tension, because there’s always a sense of not being satisfied or feeling like there’s still questions and something unresolved,” she continues. “I think what is exciting to me about painting is the sense of the unknown. To make a great painting, you have to experience not knowing.” 

The works in the exhibition demonstrate Awad’s practice of layering and merging shapes, colors and faces together. The form is free-flowing and bold, marked with thick, fearless brushstrokes. The use of color — she isn’t afraid of juxtaposing light and dark — is a constant theme in her work. “An initial starting point for me is thinking about the palette and color relationships. Sometimes, it doesn’t work,” she says with a laugh.  

Sarah Awad's "Phantom Web" (2022). (Supplied)

“I’m really interested in a color that doesn’t feel like it should work but does,” she continues. “It’s all about how they work in relationship to one another. In much of the work, you’ll see a really vibrant, saturated color that is sort of offset by a more neutral color, or a color coming through other colors, carving out its own niche. I like that to be a surprising moment in the painting.” 

While the paintings contain elements of abstraction and figuration, Awad refrains from labeling her style. “I don’t have a categorization for it. I think it situates itself along certain lines of questions that painters had, historically, about abstraction,” she says.  

“They’re not process-based paintings, but at the same time, they use intuition and language that stems from (abstract expressionists) Helen Frankenthaler or Willem de Kooning — this kind of way of responding to materiality and then imposing a conscious structure to the work. It’s not just about material improvisation, or accident, it’s also about intention,” Awad continues. 

"Neon Pulse" (2022). (Supplied)

At times, it seems as though there may be hidden figures in some of Awad’s work. Some are in intimate conversations, while another is looking straight at the viewer or is lost in thought. Each image seems to have a story of its own.  

“I think they’re kind of open-ended. The way that I think about their situating in the painting is often just a gesture,” Awad says. “They’re gestures of intimacy but also of looking — the act of looking. I think that there’s a way in which they ask you to kind of engage with them and the painting.” 

In recent years, the contemporary art scene has changed, with large installations and on-site projects that are more likely to get picked up by social media becoming increasingly popular. There is something humble, then, in Awad’s back-to-basics approach to staging her work, allowing viewers to contemplate the images directly and appreciate once again the art of painting.  

“I haven’t found a need to do other things,” says Awad. “I find painting to be so challenging as a discipline and so rich that you can stay inside that box for your whole life and still never find the edges of it. I think the reason it feels sort of anarchic in today’s world is that it takes time, and I don’t know if the younger generation is conditioned for that.”


Emirati painter Almaha Jaralla explores grandmother’s journey at art fair

Emirati painter Almaha Jaralla explores grandmother’s journey at art fair
Almaha Jaralla’s “Aida” (2022). (Supplied)
Updated 01 December 2022

Emirati painter Almaha Jaralla explores grandmother’s journey at art fair

Emirati painter Almaha Jaralla explores grandmother’s journey at art fair

DUBAI: In the 1970s, a bold and adventurous young woman from Yemen named Shadia drove by herself across the Arabian Peninsula — from Aden to Kuwait and eventually to the UAE — seeking a better life.  

Today, her granddaughter, the Emirati painter Almaha Jaralla, is telling Shadia’s story through a series of figurative paintings that were on display at the 2022 edition of Abu Dhabi Art in November.  

"Ba Suban." (Supplied)

“I wanted to go back to my past by looking at the family archives, not just to look at my family background, but also to understand the modern history of the Gulf,” Jaralla tells Arab News.  

Jaralla scoured grainy old snapshots of Shadia — with her elegant frocks and striking jet-black hair — taken in several Gulf states, as well as in Cairo, where she studied at a time when her homeland was emerging from British occupation and moving toward becoming a socialist state.  

“It’s, like, this lost history that no one talks about. It was so recent,” says Jaralla. “It can be a very heavy subject but talking about it can be a good introduction to have a bit of curiosity of how people lived through those days.”  

Almaha Jaralla's 'Untitled' (2022). (Supplied) 

Despite the political climate in the country, there were some liberties, socially. “When people hear about Yemen, they will have this idea that it’s conservative,” she says. “My grandmother studied outside — like lots of other women — and wore beautiful dresses. It was very normalized. To me, the pictures were shocking, but it was just a different time, that’s why I didn’t understand it.”    

Some of Jaralla’s new paintings are based on the photographs, showing Shadia with family and strangers she encountered along her journey. “Even my mom was surprised that she used to go out and talk to people and have fun,” says Jaralla. “I feel that’s what started the whole show, seeing her in Kuwait having fun. She didn’t care if she was surrounded by men or women. She would talk to everyone.” 

In one image, a group of people are huddled inside a lime green car. “That was from the Kuwait trip. She was there for work training. Seeing my grandmother driving men in the car was just surreal,” Jaralla says with a chuckle. 

Almaha Jaralla. (Supplied)

One of the show’s key works is “Al Dayan,” inspired by a photo of Jaralla’s grandparents and their children, their heads barely appearing over the bottom of the image. “Her kids’ faces are cropped (out of the photo) and I asked my grandmother why that was,” Jaralla says. “She said: ‘It’s because I got new curtains. I wanted them (in the picture).’ That says a lot about her personality. She has a strong personality. She overpowers everyone around her.” 

The exhibition’s color palette is reminiscent of the greens and pinks of the Seventies. Some of them are patterned, a nod to traditional Yemeni embroidery. The faces are portrayed with unclear features, almost fading like a lost memory. “I didn’t focus on the features, so people can relate to it,” explains the artist. “It’s not only about the people in the picture, it’s a shared history.”  

In a series she calls ‘City Studies,’ Jaralla depicts the old houses, vernacular architecture, and streets of Abu Dhabi. “I treat houses like portraits,” she says. “I’ll stand in front of a house and I imagine that architectural elements are like clothes. When a person builds his house, he thinks about how he (wants to) represent himself.”  

Jaralla, now in her twenties, started painting when she was in engineering school. She was tutored by the Emirati conceptual artist Afra Al-Dhaheri, and is, she says, inspired by contemporary Arab art, particularly established UAE artists such as Mohammed Kazem and Farah Al-Qasimi. 

This show was Jaralla’s first time participating at Abu Dhabi Art, which had a notable focus this year on female artists.  

“I wanted to show how strong women are,” Jaralla says. “I would say women in the past had different challenges than we are dealing with right now. But I see a lot of strong women every day.”  


Moroccan culture: Explore the wonders of Europe and Africa at Riyadh’s Boulevard World

Moroccan culture: Explore the wonders of Europe and Africa at Riyadh’s Boulevard World
Updated 28 November 2022

Moroccan culture: Explore the wonders of Europe and Africa at Riyadh’s Boulevard World

Moroccan culture: Explore the wonders of Europe and Africa at Riyadh’s Boulevard World
  • The beauty of the Moroccan subzone comes from the country’s traditional architecture, cultural and geographical influences

RIYADH: Riyadh Season’s Boulevard World, which opened last week, brings together the cultures of 10 countries in a single location on the largest artificial lake in the world.

The Morocco subzone is one of them. Due to its location between Europe and Africa and its border with the Sahara in the south, Morocco has a lot of different cultural and geographical influences. This makes the Morocco subzone one of the best examples of physical and symbolic heritage in Riyadh Season.

The subzone shows a beautiful and fantastic image that reflects the traditions of the Moroccan people in their unique clothing, music, and food, thanks to the variety of options and elements based on a range of different colors, designs, and patterns in creating spaces.

Walking into the subzone, you will see beautiful Moroccan women wearing the traditional kaftan dress. They greet you with their Moroccan accents, and you see the decorations in a mix of different Moroccan cities. Visitors can shop for kaftan dresses and different Moroccan products and authentic food.

Riyadh Season shows how the Arab, Amazigh, African, and Mediterranean civilizations influenced each other. Many opulent facades have beautiful designs based on unusual blending and harmony.

The streets of the Morocco subzone in Boulevard World, which is the season's crown jewel, smell just like those of old Fes, Tangier, rich Oujda, and charming red Marrakech.

This makes it a delight for the soul and a civilization that dwells in the hearts of visitors in Riyadh’s winter while educating them about numerous Moroccan cities and cultures that subtly keep pace with different eras.

The beauty of the Moroccan subzone comes from the country’s traditional architecture, which has many curved entrances and round arches, as well as wool-based rugs and warm, classic velvet furniture in the rooms.

Mosaic tiles and pieces of pottery are used to decorate the walls and ceilings of Moroccan cafes and restaurants in Boulevard World.

The area has a strong cultural feel because it has a lot of high-quality sculptures, visual arts, cinema, and music. There are also a lot of fountains and sidewalks in the area.

Visitors of Boulevard World can also learn about different cultures across the world through several subzones inspired by China, Italy, France, India, Spain, America, Japan, Greece and Mexico.

For both families and individuals, Boulevard World is a premier entertainment destination, featuring a host of experiences, including rides in hot air balloons, submarines and boats.

It has the largest man-made lake in the world, where boats can travel between cities through 11 stations.
It also offers the Area 15 experience from Las Vegas; The Sphere, the biggest spherical theater in the world; a city for game fans; comic book and anime-themed activities; and plenty of family-friendly entertainment options.

Visitors can enjoy a ride in a Venetian gondola, taste American cuisine, stroll through live Hollywood shows, shop for the best Spanish products, and watch flamenco shows.

The third Riyadh Season kicked off on Oct. 21 with more than 8,500 activities. This year’s event offers people a wide range of entertainment options, combining exclusivity and modernity to promote the capital as a major incubator and popular destination for tourism. It also promotes the Saudi entertainment sector and consolidates the Kingdom’s position as a prominent regional and global entertainment destination.

The new season include 15 zones: Boulevard World, Boulevard Riyadh City, Winter Wonderland, Al-Murabaa, Sky Riyadh, Via Riyadh, Riyadh Zoo, Little Riyadh, The Groves, Imagination Park, Al-Suwaidi Park, Souq Al-Zel, Qariat Zaman, Fan Festival and Riyadh Front.

 


The Bicester Collection launches MENA edition of Unlock Her Future entrepreneurship prize

The Bicester Collection launches MENA edition of Unlock Her Future entrepreneurship prize
L-R: Gloria Guevara Manzo, Chantal Khoueiry, Dr. Iman Bibars and Desiree Bollier. (Supplied)
Updated 30 November 2022

The Bicester Collection launches MENA edition of Unlock Her Future entrepreneurship prize

The Bicester Collection launches MENA edition of Unlock Her Future entrepreneurship prize

DUBAI: An international retail firm has launched the MENA edition of a prize for first-time women entrepreneurs that would allow them to set up or develop their startup businesses.

The Middle East and North Africa edition of The Bicester Collection’s “Unlock her Future Prize” was announced for enterprises that drive positive environmental, social and economic change, according to the company.

The Bicester Collection is a group of 11 open-air shopping destinations across Europe and China, which includes Bicester Village in Oxfordshire, UK. They launched the initiative in 2021 as part of their DO GOOD platform and have now expanded to the Middle East. 

“We’re delighted that in its inaugural year, the Unlock Her Future Prize will launch in MENA with the support of our partner Ashoka Arab World,” Chantal Khoueiry, chief culture officer for The Bicester Collection, told Arab News.

“As an Arab woman, I believe I can speak for all when I say how committed we are to driving women’s empowerment and cultural progress. We recognize that if you have diverse voices, you can transcend anything. This is the essence of what we hope the Unlock Her Future Prize MENA edition 2023 will provide on behalf of Arab Women — the voice and support to build a progressive and sustainable future for people and the planet.”

Khoueiry added that applicants with an innovative idea, and those who have been operating for under five years, are invited to apply between Dec. 5 and Jan. 31, 2023.

An international committee of experts will review the applications and shortlist eight finalists who will be invited to pitch their ideas in Bicester Village, UK, to a panel of judges from the MENA region. Three winners will be announced on International Women’s Day next year.

“The winners will each receive a financial grant of up to $100,000 plus human capital support from a fantastic assembly of global experts.” They will also have access to an education and knowledge program with the prize’s regional academic partner, New York University Abu Dhabi, said Khoueiry.

  


Saudi Arabia’s largest e-sports festival kick starts in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia’s largest e-sports festival kick starts in Riyadh
Updated 27 November 2022

Saudi Arabia’s largest e-sports festival kick starts in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia’s largest e-sports festival kick starts in Riyadh
  • RUSH event allows video-game aficionados to experience latest tech

RIYADH: The RUSH festival, the largest event for virtual sports and games, opened at the Riyadh Front on Saturday as part of the Riyadh Season of activities.

Over five days, it will provide gamers with the best-known games and real-life experiences.

They will get the chance to play real games such as “Fortnite,” “FIFA,” and “Valorant.” The event will also bring together the best international teams so that the biggest tournaments and direct qualifiers can be held on the e-sports stage.

Representatives of the 25 E-Sport organization greeted fans at the event’s meet-and-greet booth.

Aoun, the organization’s director of operations, told Arab News: “We have content makers and professional players in all games, and we came to meet the audience here.”

HIGHLIGHT

Over five days, the RUSH festival will provide gamers with the best-known games and real-life experiences. They will get the chance to play real games such as ‘Fortnite,’ ‘FIFA,’ and ‘Valorant.’

The festival aims to provide fun video games, competitions, and challenges through direct tournaments with prizes, and includes live entertainment shows, DJ performances, an augmented reality experience, and a cosplay competition.

The Valar Club booth was promoting e-sports for women.

Malak Al-Qahtani, founder of Valar Club, told Arab News: “Valar Club is the first licensed women’s club from the federation’s electronic sports, and our goal is to help female Saudi players, as they aspire to the world, and help with their training.”

Saudi YouTuber Pika Loli travelled from Jeddah to attend the event.

“This event brings together most of the YouTubers and gamers, and it is a good opportunity to get to know each other, and it will increase our followers and grow the channel on YouTube.”

Some of the cosplayers were dressed as video game characters.

Abdulelah Al-Qahtani said: “Today we are dressed as characters from the ‘Genshin Impact’ game, and I think this is so good that Saudi Arabia brought up a hidden community, like cosplayers and gamers.”

With a focus on the whole of the gaming industry, from console and PC gaming to mobile and e-sports, the RUSH festival aims to give gaming aficionados the opportunity to access and experience the latest tech and the chance to interact with each other in real life, and online.

Tickets for the event are available via https://riyadhseason.sa/event-details-en.html?id=599/en_RUSH.