Artist spotlight for Saudi Arabia’s ‘lost treasure’

Founder of Mono Gallery, Momen Al-Muslimani, explains the untitled work of Fahad Al-Hajailan. (Supplied by Mohammad Fattal)
Founder of Mono Gallery, Momen Al-Muslimani, explains the untitled work of Fahad Al-Hajailan. (Supplied by Mohammad Fattal)
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Updated 26 November 2022

Artist spotlight for Saudi Arabia’s ‘lost treasure’

Founder of Mono Gallery, Momen Al-Muslimani, explains the untitled work of Fahad Al-Hajailan. (Supplied by Mohammad Fattal)
  • Four years after his death, galleries honor Fahad Al-Hajailan’s legacy

RIYADH: He was a pioneering Saudi contemporary artist who exhibited abroad in exhibitions and biennales, but whose name was rarely heard at home.

Now, four years after he died alone and surrounded by his beloved works of art, Fahad Al-Hajailan is at last getting the recognition he deserves.

Mono Gallery, in collaboration with Naila Art Gallery, has revived his work with a “Al-Hajailan in the Mirror” exhibition commemorating the artist’s lost legacy.




Visitors examining the untitled work of late Saudi fine artist Fahad Al-Hajailan at Mono Gallery's 'Al-Hajailan in the Mirror' exhibition, in collaboration with Naila Art Gallery. (Photo by Mohammad Fattal)

Al-Hajailan, who died in 2018, was a founding member of the Riyadh Fine Art Group, a member of its advisory committee, and a pioneer in Saudi contemporary art.

He exhibited globally in shows and biennales in the US, China, the UK, Tunisia, France and Germany, but was all but unknown in the Kingdom, failing to gain the attention directed at headlining contemporary artists, such as Ahmed Mater, and Ayman Yossri.

With culture and creativity in the spotlight as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reforms, Mono Gallery decided to revive one of the country’s “lost treasures.”




Visitors examining the untitled work of late Saudi fine artist Fahad Al-Hajailan at Mono Gallery's 'Al-Hajailan in the Mirror' exhibition, in collaboration with Naila Art Gallery. (Photo by Mohammad Fattal)

Momen Al-Muslimani, the gallery’s founder, told Arab News that Al-Hajailan “was kept almost in the shade. No one knew how powerful he was at the time, 10 years ago.

“If someone is appreciative of an artist, first of all, they would buy his art at a general price, never trying to squeeze him or take advantage. There are a lot of art-lovers who are passionate collectors in the Kingdom. They should have run toward him 10 years ago, creating books, literature, (doing) interviews.”

FASTFACT

Four years after his death, galleries honor Fahad Al- Hajailan’s legacy.

According to Al-Muslimani, who was a close friend of Al-Hajailan, the artist never received the recognition he deserved.

Al-Hajailan spent most of his days in his studio, “painting away his emotions,” according to Al-Muslimani, who suggests the artist’s abstract style and poetic use of color reflect the mystery, sadness and sense of loneliness in his own life.




Visitors examining the untitled work of late Saudi fine artist Fahad Al-Hajailan at Mono Gallery's 'Al-Hajailan in the Mirror' exhibition, in collaboration with Naila Art Gallery. (Photo by Mohammad Fattal)

In 2018, Al-Hajailan died of a heart attack at age 61, in the middle of the night, alone and surrounded by his unappreciated works.

“Artists need someone else to feel on their behalf, to speak on their behalf, to express who they are on their behalf, because they forget themselves. They are completely inside the piece of artwork they’re creating,” Al-Muslimani said.

Instead of pursuing a degree in fine arts, which he could not afford at the time, Al-Hajailan spent much of his career as an art teacher, as well as curating cartoon graphics for Al-Jazeera and Al-Riyadh newspapers.




Visitors examining the untitled work of late Saudi fine artist Fahad Al-Hajailan at Mono Gallery's 'Al-Hajailan in the Mirror' exhibition, in collaboration with Naila Art Gallery. (Photo by Mohammad Fattal)

Only after discovering works by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo did he realize that art did not have to be taught.

The true artist is never satisfied with his work, the gallery owner said, and this was the case with Al-Hajailan, who battled fatigue and hunger in a bid to create the ideal piece that would do his work justice.

“I’ve made this artwork, but I can do better. I can find more secrets in me,” Al-Hajailan would often say.

“The artist is most probably the only human on earth who does not have the choice to be an artist or not. He grew up having a pencil and a pen in his hand. He needs to draw; if he doesn’t draw, if he doesn’t paint, he would feel sick. And this is Fahad Al-Hajailan,” Al-Muslimani said.

Since his death, Al-Hajailan has been exhibited at the inaugural Diriyah Biennale and commemorated in Misk Art Institute’s Art Library book series.

Mono Gallery is presenting a timeline of his work, ranging from early pencil sketches in 1986 to the acrylic paintings of 2015.

“In Saudi contemporary art, we have a couple of pioneers — we can count them on by hand. One of them is Fahad Al-Hajailan. He is probably in the top three who people would never debate about. Everybody would speak with passion and love toward his art, his creativity. He is one of those treasures in the country.”

The exhibition runs until Nov. 28.

 


KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger

KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger
Updated 01 February 2023

KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger

KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) on Tuesday distributed 1,040 food aid packages to Syrian refugees in several Lebanese regions, benefiting 5,200 people.

The Saudi charity has a project aiming to distribute food aid to the most neediest groups in various countries.

On Sunday, KSRelief distributed  731 food parcels in Marib Governorate, Yemen, benefiting 5,117 people.

And in Niger, KSRelief distributed on Sunday a further 1,000 in Niamey, benefiting 1,000 families, around 7,176 people.

In Niger, KSRelief distributed on Sunday a further 1,000 in Niamey, benefiting 1,000 families, around 7,176 people.​​​​​ (SPA)

In Pakistan, they distributed 1,130 food packages to 7,910 affected by the floods in Sindh Province, Pakistan.

 In Pakistan, KSRelief distributed 1,130 food packages to 7,910 affected by the floods in Sindh Province. (SPA)

 


Saudi Cabinet calls for revival of Israel-Palestinian peace talks

Saudi Cabinet calls for revival of Israel-Palestinian peace talks
Updated 01 February 2023

Saudi Cabinet calls for revival of Israel-Palestinian peace talks

Saudi Cabinet calls for revival of Israel-Palestinian peace talks
  • Ministers called on the international community to step up and play its part in the process, protect Palestinians by putting pressure on Israeli authorities to halt attacks
  • They also discussed the preparations for the Kingdom’s participation at this year’s G20 meetings, and approved a number of international cooperation agreements

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday reiterated the need to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and called on the international community to live up to its responsibilities in relation to this and to help end the occupation, stop Israeli attacks, and ensure civilians are protected.

It came during the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers at Irqah Palace in Riyadh, presided over by King Salman, during which members discussed the latest regional and international developments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

At the start of the session, the Cabinet was briefed on a message sent to the king by the Algerian president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and a telephone call Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received from the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Ministers then discussed the preparations for the Kingdom’s participation at this year’s G20 meetings, in light of its desire to develop initiatives and solutions that can help address the challenges facing the global economy.

These include a joint framework initiative for debt treatment, and Saudi Arabia’s role in the implementation of the Financial Intermediary Fund for Health Security, including financial support of $50 million, to help prevent pandemics.

They also include the Kingdom’s work in cooperation with the Indonesian presidency of the G20 last year to develop a response to the global food-security crisis, and the implementation of those initiatives in partnership with India, which holds the presidency of the G20 this year.

Acting Minister of Media Majid Al-Qasabi said the Cabinet also reiterated the Kingdom’s condemnation of the burning of copies of the Qur’an in a number of European capitals.

Ministers welcomed the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding during the Riyadh Global Medical Biotechnology Summit last week, he added, as well as discussions during the event that focused on developments in the sector, investment opportunities, and ways to consolidate and enhance the Kingdom’s leading position in this field, in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to diversify the national economy through research and the development of scientific knowledge.

The Cabinet also noted the outcomes of the Municipal Investment Forum in Riyadh last week, during which investment portals were launched for Saudi cities, and 125 contracts and agreements worth more than SR12 billion ($3.1 billion) were signed, offering more than 5,000 investment opportunities for the private sector. During the event, about 200 projects for entrepreneurs were reviewed, and the largest investment opportunity of its kind in the outdoor advertising sector was launched.

Ministers approved a cooperation agreement between the Saudi and Uzbekistan ministries of energy, and another one between the Saudi Ministry of Education and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education.

They authorized the minister of culture to sign a draft memorandum of understanding for cultural cooperation with the Ministry of Crafts, Culture, Hotel Industry and Tourism in Mali, and approved a memorandum of understanding between the Saudi and Senegalese governments for cooperation to encourage direct investment.

The Cabinet also approved a MoU on desalination cooperation between the Saudi Saline Water Conversion Corporation and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, and authorized the minister of health to sign a draft MoU for cooperation with the Tunisian Ministry of Health.

The minister of media, and chairman of the board of directors of the General Authority for Audiovisual Media, was authorized to sign a draft MoU with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India, and the president of the Islamic University of Madinah to sign a draft MoU with the Islamic Development Bank Group.


Weather alert warns of thunder, dust storms and snow across Saudi Arabia this week

Weather alert warns of thunder, dust storms and snow across Saudi Arabia this week
Updated 01 February 2023

Weather alert warns of thunder, dust storms and snow across Saudi Arabia this week

Weather alert warns of thunder, dust storms and snow across Saudi Arabia this week
  • Surface winds were expected to reach speeds of more than 60 kilometers per hour
  • Tides could rise in some areas, reaching more than 2.5 meters

RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia have issued a weather alert covering most regions of the Kingdom until Friday, warning of high winds and dust storms, thunderstorms of varying intensity, snow, drops in temperature and frost, and rising tides, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

Surface winds were expected to reach speeds of more than 60 kilometers per hour and could cause dust storms resulting in little or no visibility in parts of Tabuk, Al-Jawf, the Northern Borders Region, Hail, Al-Qassim, the Eastern Province, Riyadh, Makkah and Madinah. Tides could rise in those areas, reaching more than 2.5 meters.

Moderate to heavy thunderstorms, accompanied by torrential rain and hail were expected on Wednesday in the regions of Tabuk (affecting Tabuk, Haql, Al-Wajh, Duba, Umluj, Neom, Sharma and Taima), the Northern Borders Region (Rafha, Arar and Turaif), Al-Jawf (Sakaka, Dumat Al-Jandal, Al-Qurayyat and Tabarjal), the Eastern Province (Hafar Al-Batin, Al-Khafji, Al-Nairyah and Al-Olaya village), and most parts of Hail and Al-Qassim.

Light to medium rain was forecast for Wednesday in Makkah Province (including Makkah city, Jeddah, Rabigh, Taif, Jamum, Al-Kamil, Khulais and Bahra), Madinah (Ais, Badr, Yanbu, AlUla, Khaybar Madinah, Al-Mahd, Wadi Al-Fara and Al-Hanakiya), the Eastern Province (Qatif, Dammam, Dhahran, Al-Khobar, Abqaiq and Al-Ahsa) and Riyadh (the capital, Al-Kharj, Al-Muzahimiyah, Al-Quwayiyah Al-Majma’ah, Al-Zulfi, Al-Ghat, Shaqra, Ramah, Al-Dawadmi and Afif).

Forecasters said there was a chance of snow on Wednesday on peaks in Tabuk region (at Jabal Al-Lawz, Alaqan, Al-Dhuhr), and temperatures would drop from Wednesday in the regions of Tabuk, Al-Jawf, the Northern Borders, Hail and the north of Madinah. Minimum temperatures were expected to reach between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius, with a chance of frost in some areas. In Al-Qassim, Riyadh and the north of the Eastern Province, temperatures were expected to fall to between 4 and 7 C from Thursday.

The National Center for Meteorology advised the public to check official channels for updates to the forecasts, and urged them to follow any instructions from authorities.


Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack
Updated 01 February 2023

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack
  • A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque killing 100 people

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences to Pakistani President Arif Alvi over victims of the terrorist attack at a mosque in Peshawar that killed 100 people, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Wednesday.

“We strongly condemn this criminal act and we send to your excellency, the families of the deceased and the Pakistani people, our deepest and sincere condolences,” the king said, wishing the injured a speedy recovery and affirming the Kingdom’s stand with Pakistan.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to President Alvi.

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque in a highly fortified security compound in Peshawar on Monday, the latest in a string of attacks targeting police.

Police said the attacker appeared to have passed through several barricades manned by security forces to get into the Red Zone compound that houses police and counter-terrorism offices in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

A police chief said Tuesday that the blast was a targeted revenge attack.


FIFA president tours ‘Saudi House’ hosting AFC meeting in Bahrain

FIFA president tours ‘Saudi House’ hosting AFC meeting in Bahrain
Updated 01 February 2023

FIFA president tours ‘Saudi House’ hosting AFC meeting in Bahrain

FIFA president tours ‘Saudi House’ hosting AFC meeting in Bahrain

RIYADH: FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Tuesday visited the “Saudi House” in the Bahraini capital, Manama, which is hosting the 33rd Asian Football Confederation Congress that began on Monday and will continue until Wednesday evening, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

 

 

Infantino toured the “Saudi House” and was briefed on the most pillars of the Kingdom’s hosting of the 19th Asian Cup, under the slogan “Forward for Asia.”

Infantino was given a briefing on the stadiums proposed to host games and the Saudi national team’s history in the Asian Cup, including the Green Falcons winning the championship three times in 1984, 1988, and 1996.