RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Syria are in talks to resume consular services between the two countries, Al-Ekhbariya TV said on Thursday.
“Within the framework of the Kingdom’s keenness to facilitate the provision of necessary consular services between the two nations, discussions are underway with officials in Syria to resume consular services,” the TV channel reported, citing a Saudi foreign ministry official.
The report added that the statement from the foreign ministry’s source was in response to international media reports from earlier on Thursday.
The move comes after Saudi Arabia and Iran decided earlier this month to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies in both countries, following a China-brokered deal.
In a phone call on Wednesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan spoke with his Iranian counterpart, Hussein Amir Abdollahian, about holding a bilateral meeting in the near future.
On February 19, Prince Faisal said consensus among Arab countries was growing that Syrian isolation was “not workable”, adding that dialogue with Damascus was needed “at some point” at least with regards to the “humanitarian angle.”
He also said on March 8 engagement with Syria might eventually lead to its return to the Arab League, but that at the time, it was “too early to discuss.”
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Japanese calligrapher teaches her art one stroke at a time
She told Arab News: “Seeing how Saudis love anime and manga, I wanted to show them that we have more art forms to offer, such as calligraphy”
Fans of Japanese culture get the chance to learn traditional art forms at City Walk
Updated 27 May 2023
JEDDAH: Japanese calligrapher Yoshimi Fujii is conducting workshops at the Anime Village in City Walk Jeddah, offering participants the chance to learn more about different Japanese art forms.
Fujii, who has achieved the highest level in the Japanese form of calligraphy known as suihou, is based in Dubai and is making her second trip to the Kingdom.
“I’m thrilled to receive an invitation to come here (Saudi Arabia) and teach people of Jeddah the Japanese calligraphy and art of manga (Japanese comic),” she said.
Fujii conducted similar calligraphy workshops and a live show during the Riyadh Season on her first trip.
With a warm smile on her face, she explained to participants how to write in Japanese using traditional calligraphy brushes and special Japanese ink.
“Each line is made with one stroke only,” she said, adding: “Don’t redo it or try to fill the gaps.”
• Yoshimi Fujii, a Japanese calligrapher, is conducting workshops at the Anime Village in City Walk.
• Fujii’s calligraphy workshop is conducted three times a day to allow a large number of visitors to take part.
• This week, Fujii will conduct another workshop about traditional Japanese origami, the art of making different shapes out of paper.
She told Arab News: “Seeing how Saudis love anime and manga, I wanted to show them that we have more art forms to offer, such as calligraphy.”
Fujii said she is enjoying the reactions of the participants, even when they get confused about which direction to start writing in Japanese, which is from top to bottom, unlike Arabic, which is written from right to left.
The workshop is conducted three times a day to allow a large number of visitors to take part.
Rana Alnemari, 21, said that she loved Japanese culture and wanted to learn to write her name in Japanese characters.
“The new characters of the Japanese alphabet really caught my interest and I really had fun learning something new today,” she said. “I might even take professional courses for Japanese calligraphy in the future.”
Wejdan Alomari, 22, said that she joined the calligraphy workshop because she was intrigued by the Japanese writing style.
Seeing how Saudis love anime and manga, I wanted to show them that we have more art forms to offer, such as calligraphy.
Yoshimi Fujii, Japanese calligrapher
“It feels more like a drawing than simple writing,” she said.
Rana Alsaimi, 22, told Arab News that these types of workshops give her an opportunity to try new things like “using traditional Japanese brush to write instead of a calligraphy pen.”
Next week, Fujii will conduct another workshop about traditional Japanese origami, the art of making different shapes out of paper.
Participants will learn how to make Pokemon shapes using origami techniques.
Who’s Who: Aya Al-Bakree, CEO of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation
Updated 27 May 2023
Aya Al-Bakree is the CEO of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, a nonprofit cultural organization chaired by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan.
The foundation is mandated to stage two world-class biennales in Saudi Arabia, alternating between contemporary and Islamic arts.
At the heart of the foundation’s strategy is a mission to foster artistic cross-fertilization by connecting Saudi Arabian and international cultural discourse. It aims to elevate artistic practices and provide educational public programs for participants of all ages and backgrounds.
As a passionate advocate for the arts and the adaptive reuse of public spaces into cultural venues, Al-Bakree has overseen the launch of inaugural biennale editions in two cities: the JAX district in Diriyah and the Hajj Terminal in Jeddah. These editions showcased the works of diverse local and international artists.
The Contemporary Art Biennale in 2021 was recognized as the first dedicated biennale in Saudi Arabia, while the Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah was the first of its kind in world history, showcasing contemporary and ancient works of unprecedented breadth and scale.
Prior to her appointment as CEO at the organization, Al-Bakree earned her global communications degree at the American University of Paris in 2011, where she also completed a year-long exchange program at Parsons.
After graduating, she began her career at a world-renowned French art gallery, where she immersed herself in the world of international contemporary art and learned about the commercial and business sides.
When she returned to Saudi Arabia, she gained further professional experience in the art sector with a cultural organization working across the Middle East, collaborating with locally acclaimed institutions and galleries in the Kingdom.
Bringing over a decade of experience in the arts, she continues to forge opportunities to promote local artistic expression on international platforms and collaborate with local artists, galleries, and collectors across the country.
Saudi talents taking the stage at PNU for ‘An Akoun’ dance show
Aya Albakoush, a managing partner at Kinetico Dance Company, said: “I started dancing when I was about 11 years old. I have done it for almost 10 years until I started to become (involved) behind the scenes”
Updated 27 May 2023
RIYADH: Around 400 Saudis took to the stage at Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University in Riyadh on Friday for “An Akoun” dance performance.
Kinetico Dance Company organized its annual recital with a variety of routines, leaving the audience captivated and entertained for two hours.
The show included ballet, musical theater, contemporary, hip-hop, and gymnastics, which were all choreographed and performed by talented Saudi dancers aged 4 to 26.
Haifa Alrashid, one of the young stars in Kinetico, who performed on Friday, talked about her experience since joining the dancing academy.
“I joined Kinetico when I was five, or six years old. Now, I am 10. My experience was good. I learned to dance better, and I mostly do hip-hop because it is my favorite.”
Kinetico Dance Company was established in 2009 — the first, and the, biggest dance company in Saudi Arabia.
• The ‘An Akoun’ show included ballet, musical theater, contemporary, hip-hop, and gymnastics, which were all choreographed and performed by talented Saudi dancers aged four to 26.
• Kinetico Dance Company was established in 2009 and it is the first and biggest dance company in Saudi Arabia.
Aya Albakoush, a managing partner at Kinetico Dance Company, said: “I started dancing when I was about 11 years old. I have done it for almost 10 years until I started to become (involved) behind the scenes.”
She explained how the company usually hosts a full season of dance lessons, which includes everything from choreography to technique. Finally, they develop an art piece through an annual show at the end of each year.
“This show follows a theme we are trying to portray, and this year was about finding your inner feminine essence, slowing down, and coming back to yourself as a woman,” explained Albakoush.
“Through what we do, and promoting artistic expression is a big part of Vision 2030, trying to really hone-in on our arts and culture in the country, and showcasing our Saudi talents … hopefully, one day, exporting it to the world to understand that Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer.”
The company has done other shows in the past such as “The Outcome,” which was themed around the dancers’ experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saudi artist strikes out into making rugs in latest venture
Alkhulifi said: “While redecorating my room, I searched for carpets but couldn’t find one that stood out in terms of design and colors
Updated 27 May 2023
RIYADH: Saudi artist Bassam Alkhulifi made the most of lockdown by transforming a hobby into an artistic endeavor that has helped him carve out a name for himself.
Alkhulifi creates visually striking rugs that look like paintings, while not conforming to the conventional form of a carpet. His technique involves using wool and a tufting gun.
He began his artistic journey by sketching with charcoal and later delved into acrylic colors, digital art, and textile art. With time, his skills have distinguished him as one of the most significant young visual artists in the Kingdom.
Alkhulifi said: “While redecorating my room, I searched for carpets but couldn’t find one that stood out in terms of design and colors.
“It was then that I realized I could create my own carpet. I got the necessary tools and equipment and ventured into this field.”
Each art medium is a gateway that helps him explore aspects of his creativity.
He added: “I particularly enjoy experimenting with novel techniques and materials to produce artistic and innovative works.”
Alkhulifi has organized two art exhibitions, namely “Color as a Scene” and “Life as a Puzzle,” and is presently preparing for his third.
His work was shown at the Islamic Arts Biennale and the Saudi Design Festival, and has been featured in prestigious international magazines such as Vogue Arabia, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s Bazaar.
His artwork is showcased on social media, and with hundreds of thousands of followers across various platforms, Alkhulifi effectively shares his works and vision with the world.
Successful artistic ventures align with Saudi Arabia’s commitment to providing comprehensive support for talented individuals.