MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia’s Visual Arts Commission on Tuesday announced the launch of the Kingdom Photography Award, a pioneering cultural initiative to encourage photography and creative exploration, and enhance cultural exchange in Saudi Arabia.
The 2022 award aims to inspire local and international photographers to focus on the Kingdom’s range of natural attractions, centered on Al-Wajh governorate in Tabuk region, known for its beaches as well as historic urban environments.
Dina Amin, CEO of the Visual Arts Commission, said that the award not only provides an opportunity to discover and develop talents in the Kingdom, but also “promotes cultural and artistic exchange through the camera lens, highlighting the beautiful landscapes of the Kingdom.”
The award includes three main categories: Underwater, coastal and urban photography. It has two main components, with the first, professional grant, open to professional photographers from around the world, who can submit their work in the three categories. This component is designed to create a professional photographic archive for the region.
The second component, the discovery competition, is open to emerging Saudi photographers, who will be able to interact with professional photographers from the professional grant through training workshops and masterclasses.
Photographers who meet the initial criteria will be evaluated by a panel of industry experts and winners of the three categories in the professional grant.
The panel will choose 21 photographers to travel to Al-Wajh governorate on a three-day expedition to take part in training workshops along with the professional grant winners, as well as explore the landscape and take photographs.
Their work will then be displayed in a final exhibition organized by the Visual Arts Commission, after which the panel will choose a winner.
Professional grant winners will also display their work and will be awarded a prize pool of SR400,000 ($106,564).
The award will be organized annually in cooperation with industry partners from around the world.
Photographer Anas Al-Harthy said that the award will encourage a “modern vision” of Al-Wajh, adding that the city is rich in cultural heritage and is famous for its ancient lanes.
Photographer Yasser Bakhsh said: “This event offers great opportunities for cultural and professional exchange between local and international photographers who have extensive experiences in visual arts. These artists have participated in international competitions, and won prizes for capturing historical sites and archaeological landscapes with their lens.”
Bakhsh said that the commission has been able to attract enthusiastic photographers to document the history of the ancient Saudi city, which has never been truly photographed.