Saudi art exhibition goes back to future inspiring modern culture
Al-Khudhairi told Arab News: “Tradition is such a loaded word, and it has so much meaning to so many people in a lot of really strong ways
Updated 16 min 28 sec ago
RIYADH: Misk Art Institute’s spring display, titled “Brand New Ancients,” presents 17 artists’ existing works derived from oral and material traditions, showing how history can revive itself in innovative ways.
Curated by Wassan Al-Khudhairi and Cecilia Ruggeri, the exhibition was born out of Kae Tempest’s poem of the same title, both telling a story of the past’s impact on future potential.
Al-Khudhairi told Arab News: “Tradition is such a loaded word, and it has so much meaning to so many people in a lot of really strong ways.
“In our contemporary culture today, not just artists, but a lot of people, look at stories, ideas, techniques, traditions that come from the past as ways to tackle our current culture, and even to envision the future.”
Paralleling the theme, the exhibition has been staged using only existing works.
“You can take the work that’s been made two, five, eight years ago, and put it in another context and breathe a different life into it and allow it to have another life through its relationship to the theme and the other works around it,” Al-Khudhairi said.
Kuwait-born visual artist Hamra Abbas has used lapis lazuli stones from Afghanistan to create a mosaic of K2, the second-highest mountain in the world, and titled it “Mountain 1.”
The structure is described as a relic of Pakistani history, embodying perfection, paradise, and truth. The artist used the classical 17th-century Florian marquetry technique of pietra dura, which later became prominent in her local region and used in the Indo-Islamic Mughal architecture style.
Blocks of stone were painstakingly cut into fragments and then individually polished, shaped, and pieced together to form the 320-kilogram artwork as a symbol for cultural exchange and diversity, gluing together notions and materials from around the world.
Abbas told Arab News: “It was a completely experimental piece. I did not know I could create an image using only lapis. You can’t tell what you’re making for months while you’re making it. It’s only after you polish it that you see the result.”
Pakistani artist Wardha Shabbir’s miniature painting, “In Search of Light,” uses the atmosphere of the city of Lahore, nuanced by bright yellow and orange colors, to portray symbols of loss, despair, hope, and survival inspired by her experience as a woman from Pakistan.
It is an emblem of personal traditions as well as ones handed down through generations, commemorated by the drawings of flora native to the region and mapped across archival paper.
Shabbir said: “I’ve been looking at the city and how it evolved and grew, and all those plants became my foremost influence. My mother was a gardener and when we were younger, we took care of plants more than our toys, so I developed a relationship with them.”
Her drawings depict the experiences, people, economic and political turmoil, and struggles for survival within Lahore.
“This is how I’m taking the (miniature painting) tradition forward. This is how I stand in the world,” she added.
Using the principle that a poem is not a poem unless it has seven lines, Saudi artist Maha Malluh’s presentation, “Riyadh Poem,” is the final piece in her “Food for Thought” series.
The artwork is a seven-piece hanging installation made of 156 aluminium pot covers, reflecting traditional motifs within Islamic culture, such as the seven rounds in Hajj around the Kaaba, the seven heavens, and the seven days of the week.
Saudi contemporary artist Ahmed Mater’s “Ashab Al-Lal: Fault Mirage, A Thousand Lost Years” exhibit layers glass slide images of the past and present, allowing them to instantly interact.
Riyadh-born visual and performance artist Sarah Brahim’s video installation “Bodyland” depicts the inheritance and generational passing-down of grief through genetics.
The institute’s show not only exhibits the recycled crafts of ancient traditions, but also incorporates contemporary understandings of heritage, contextualized in modernity. By digging into the past, “Brand New Ancients” aims to carve a path for the future.
The artists’ works will remain on display at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Fine Arts Hall in Riyadh until July 15.
Also among the featured artists are Filipino Pacita Abad, Palestinian Dana Awartani, Mexican Abraham Cruzvillegas, American Derek Fordjour, Kuwaiti Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige from Lebanon, Canada-based Lotus Laurie Kang, Qatari American Sophia Al-Maria, Nasser Al-Salem from Saudi Arabia, and Italian duo Ornaghi and Prestinari.
Saudi wildlife center releases 40 endangered animals into King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve
The latest release is part of the ongoing efforts to improve biodiversity and reintroduce endangered species into the Kingdom’s ecosystems
To date, 219 animals on the red list of endangered species have been released into the wild, including Arabian oryx, reem antelopes, houbara bustards, and sandgrouse
Updated 17 sec ago
RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority and the National Center for Wildlife on Monday released 30 reem antelopes and 10 Arabian oryx into King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve.
It was part of the ongoing joint efforts by the organizations to improve biodiversity in the reserve, promote environmental sustainability, and reintroduce endangered species into the Kingdom’s ecosystems, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Mohammed Ali Qurban, the CEO of the NCW, said the latest release is part of the national plans for wildlife development in line with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030 and its goals to improve the quality of life in the Kingdom.
“The Kingdom has centers at the forefront of global centers that specialize in breeding endangered species and settling them in their natural environments, according to the most accurate international standards,” Qurban said.
“They conduct research on the animals’ living conditions and monitor biodiversity in protected areas by tracking animal groups, collecting data and understanding the risks they face.”
Nasser Al-Nasser, the CEO of the reserve’s development authority, said that to date 219 animals on the red list of endangered species have been successfully released into the wild, including houbara bustards and sandgrouse, in addition to Arabian oryx and reem antelopes.
King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve is one of seven nature reserves in the Kingdom established by royal decree. It is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Vogue Business event discusses sustainability, use of AI in fashion industry
Updated 9 min 39 sec ago
RIYADH: Global industry experts discussed at an event on Thursday how regional and global shoppers are trading fast fashion for more purposeful wardrobes as Saudi Arabia also pivots toward a more conscious conversation around fashion consumption.
The discussion, spearheaded by Vogue Business in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Trade and Saudi’s Fashion Commission, was held under the theme “Transformation and consciousness: Shaping the future of luxury.”
“When you look at how the Fashion Commission is building the new fashion ecosystem in the country, it’s looking at every aspect of the value chain to ensure that elements of sustainability are embedded in each step,” Burak Cakmak, CEO of the Ministry of Culture’s Fashion Commission, told Arab News.
As part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to induct sustainable actions in all sectors, efforts to understand circular consumption and support local talents are on the rise.
“We are now building our legacy,” said Rae Joseph, fashion entrepreneur, industry consultant and founder of the vintage fashion house 1954. “(Saudis) have always been conscious consumers…We have a concept of ‘ihsan’ in our religion, which is to do good and contribute to where you are.”
Her own interpretation of conscious fashion in the Saudi context is defined by mindful consumption in sustainable ways.
The past few years have demonstrated a social awakening globally in terms of mass production, uncovering underlying issues such as labor law violations, unethical material sourcing and environmental infringement.
Consciousness in fashion can be defined in many ways, depending on the values of each individual, and can range from respecting culture and traditions to prioritizing working conditions and innovating production and consumption methods.
The influx of digital resources and evolving technologies is also paving the way for younger generations to create awareness and design solutions around conscious consumerism.
The digitally savvy Saudi population is creating a pliable environment to lead in sustainable practices in the fashion sector, from materials to manufacturing, retail and brand-building.
The Fashion Commission has worked to establish a research center focused on constructing new sustainable materials, while also developing an advanced manufacturing space in Riyadh that will allow access to high-quality production methods using the right materials and processes to serve a local population and diminish import emissions.
The commission will utilize the latest technologies, allowing for innovative techniques such as digital rendering, 3D designs and digital pattern-making to directly reduce environmental and assembly impact within the fashion industry.
“When it comes to brands, we are encouraging them to understand their consumer needs, produce only what’s needed, and create new ways of engaging with them so there’s an optimization of inventory management,” Cakmak said.
From a consumer’s end, the commission is continuing to embed conscious behaviors, launching initiatives that promote sustainable practices, such as the Global Fashion Exchange Fashion Swap last December, in order to raise awareness among buyers on the importance of longevity and reuse of goods in the market.
“In last year’s Swap Shop, we had over 5,500 items that were brought for swapping, and 60 percent of them have been exchanged between customers…(while) 40 percent of them have been donated to a charity,” Cakmak said.
Artificial intelligence and new technologies play a crucial role in conscious consumption, experts said at the event. In order for brands to innovate their storytelling concepts, stepping into the Web3 and metaverse world is a way to future-proof their businesses.
Dr. Ahmed Zaidi, co-founder and CEO of Hyran Technologies, told Arab News: “In the context of Saudi…I think that understanding the consumer here is so underrated. Lots of people think that they can come from Paris or London and set up shop here, and they fail at it because they don’t understand the consumer.
“Whether it’s metaverse, or anything, conceptualizing it for the consumer in the local market 100 percent has to happen.”
Hyran Technologies is a London-based innovative AI platform that helps brands and suppliers respond to consumer demand, increase profitability and reduce waste. The company is working with the Fashion Commission to see how they can support Saudi brands in their journey to sustainable development.
Zaidi imagines a future in which airplanes substitute duty-free magazines with custom shopping suggestions suited for each individual passenger. Or in lieu of conventional online shopping sites, customers will log into a brand’s site to view a personalized “museum” space that is intelligently curated to show the items that the brand believes will serve each customer’s wants and needs.
Zaidi said: “Where we are with AI, right now, you can have a much better representation of your consumers, which means you can give them better recommendations. But they’re also portable.
“What that means is that you can use the same representation (or customer DNA) online, on your phone and in-store as well. When someone walks into a store, they can scan their phone, and then you’ll know exactly what they want, how they want it, in which way they want it.”
Cakmak said. “When it comes to artificial intelligence, brands are individually experimenting themselves and it’s intended to provide benefits for optimization of either their products, where they’re selling, and how much they need to produce, or potentially look for technologies that can be used for consumer engagement.”
Saudi Investment Ministry signs 14 deals at grand prix
Deals to establish Formula 4 academies in Saudi Arabia and build infrastructure for motor racing circuits
Updated 20 March 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih was present as 14 agreements were signed during Formula One’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to help develop sports and entertainment sectors in the Kingdom.
The Ministry of Investment is looking to support Saudi Vision 2030, increase public participation in sports, and sponsor talent development paths.
The agreements support the sports sector, and include qualitative projects, events, academies and medical clinics.
The deals also look to establish Formula 4 academies in Saudi Arabia and build infrastructure projects for motor racing circuits and training circuits for professionals, in addition to supporting investors in the field of sports studies and consulting.
The ministry highlights all investment opportunities in the Kingdom through its Invest Saudi platform, and allows investors to identify promising opportunities in each sector.
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court calls on Muslims to look for Ramadan crescent on Tuesday evening
Ramadan 2023 will begin either on Wednesday or Thursday depending on the sighting of the crescent
Updated 20 March 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to look for the Ramadan crescent on Tuesday evening, Saudi Press Agency has reported.
Tuesday corresponds to Shaban 29, 1444 and if the Ramadan crescent is spotted on Tuesday evening, then Ramadan will begin on Wednesday. If not, the holy month will start on Thursday.
The court said anyone who sights the Ramadan crescent with their eyes or through binoculars should notify the nearest court to their location and record their testimony there, or contact the nearest center so that they can be directed to the nearest court.