RIYADH: Jassim Mohammed Al-Budaiwi, secretary-general of the GCC, met with the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Saudi Arabia, Shahin Abdullayev, in Riyadh.
During the meeting, the GCC official stressed the importance of consolidating Gulf-Azerbaijan relations to serve common interests.
They also reviewed the bilateral relations between the GCC countries and Azerbaijan, ways to enhance the ties, and discussed means to ensure their development in various fields, in light of the agreement signed between the two sides in 2013.
The agreement includes activating all areas of cooperation between the two sides, including energy, trade, investment, food security, culture, tourism, education, and communication between peoples, and working to hold the second Gulf-Azerbaijan Economic Forum, based on the success of the first forum in 2017.
The meeting also witnessed an exchange of views on regional and international issues of common concern.
The meeting was attended by the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Negotiations at the GCC, Abdulaziz Abu Hamad Aluwaisheg.
KSrelief chief meets with international president of Doctors Without Borders
Updated 4 sec ago
RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of the Saudi aid agency KSrelief, recently met with Dr. Christos Christou, the international president of Doctors Without Borders, on the sidelines of the work of the UN General Assembly at its 78th session in New York City.
During the meeting, they discussed ways to provide necessary medical aid to people affected by conflicts, epidemics, natural disasters, and deprivation of health care in some needy countries.
Christou praised the Kingdom’s active humanitarian role at the international level, noting the efforts of KSrelief in the health sector and caring for the sick and injured people around the world.
How Saudi artists are embracing cultural heritage through craftsmanship
Updated 24 September 2023
RIYADH: Saudi craftsmanship and family legacies are being kept alive through weaving and creative works.
Contemporary weaver Hana Almilli explores patterns of sadu weaving, creating masterpieces with a traditional twist.
Almilli told Arab News: “In a world that is constantly evolving, being a part of the few who are actively preserving tradition while exploring their artistry feels like a meaningful contribution. It’s a testament to the enduring value of heritage and the capacity of art to transcend time and space.”
Sadu weaving is an ancient tribal weaving craft that artistically portrays Arabian nomadic people’s rich cultural heritage.
As a multimedia artist and arts and culture management professional, Almilli said she feels a sense of duty in keeping traditions alive, “not only for my family, but also for generations to come to be able to keep histories through tangible assemblages.”
While in her third year studying abroad for a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Almilli had an epiphany that would soon change her educational track.
She said: “I wanted to delve into my artistic practice and also regain the textile practice that was always a part of my childhood. I decided to take a knitting course to regain the memories I had with my grandmother when I was little, as she was a knitter and loved crocheting as well.”
Almilli then switched to studying a bachelor’s degree in textiles.
“I knew this was what I wanted to do for my degree. Something that is a form of revival of heritage was a revival of my nostalgia and healing,” she said.
It was during this time that Almilli dived deep into researching her Saudi heritage.
“I am a Saudi. When I traveled abroad for my studies, I felt alienated and longed for my home, family, friends and life. I wanted to feel close while I was far away. Whether researching patterns, looking for books about Saudi, Sadu weaving, or indirectly incorporating it within my work through contemporary patterns, it will always exist in my work in some form,” she said.
She graduated from California College of the Arts in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in textiles with a minor in creative writing.
In 2022, she received a master’s degree in arts and culture management from Rome Business School in Italy.
Belonging to Turkish, Syrian, Kurdish and Saudi lineage, Almilli’s path is persuaded by “questions of identity.”
She said: “Enquiring perpetual alienation, my ideology developed into discovering and representing the term Al-Ghorba (estrangement in a foreign land). Consequently, my visual structure interrogates nostalgia through weaving, dyeing, embroidering and photography techniques.
“My art practice is research-based, and within it, I explore the idea of recreating affected and rediscovering identities through the material culture of textiles and assemblages,” she added.
Almilli said her work is driven by memory, nostalgia, identity, emotion and more.
“Those elements always combine to create a curiosity to research my heritage further and write poetry pieces in response, which eventually leads to visualizations of my works,” she said.
“It is something I hold close to my heart, and which I take immense pride in. Being able to intertwine tradition with my artistic expression is a truly rewarding experience. It’s like breathing life into the past while simultaneously creating something new and innovative.”
The art of weaving, Sadu, has been added to UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage list.
The Saudi Heritage Commission told Arab News that it strives to launch programs aimed at preserving and highlighting Saudi culture.
“These programs and projects promote three main values and goals, which are: Enhancing awareness among citizens of the importance of heritage, establishing rules and regulations and issuing licenses, and protecting the portfolio of cultural wealth and archaeological sites, and managing them effectively,” the commission said.
The Heritage Commission launched six projects that highlight elements of intangible heritage. One of the projects involves preparing intangible heritage files for registration on UNESCO lists.
“From this standpoint comes the importance of preserving the intangible cultural heritage with its cultural components. Therefore, the Heritage Authority works, through its strategy to develop the sector, to align with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.”
Saudi traditional arts institute enhances cultural heritage
Updated 24 September 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts recently participated in the 93rd National Day activities by organizing programs that align with its core responsibilities of preserving living treasures, offering training and education, and promoting traditional arts.
The institute presented handmade candles that depicted traditional inscriptions from various regions of the Kingdom. These inscriptions included Najdi patterns, Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, Al-Sadu, and Al-Hasawi patterns, serving as an homage to the diverse cultural heritage of different parts of the country.
In addition to the art programs in Historic Jeddah, the institute presented a collection of gifts to visitors and conducted a series of high-quality workshops in various disciplines.
These workshops covered topics such as drawing and coloring traditional geometric patterns, the process of wood design, and creating traditional designs inspired by the homes of Jeddah Al-Balad.
Suzanne Al-Yahya, CEO of the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts, said that Saudi Arabia’s traditional artistic heritage reflects the diversity and wealth of the country’s cultural heritage.
“The institute works to enhance the rich and distinctive cultural heritage of traditional arts and related artistic works, preserve their authenticity, and support national capabilities and talents as well as their practitioners. encouraging those who are interested to study, practice, and grow in it.”
The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts, chaired on an honorary basis by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, promotes and supports traditional arts. It offers education and training, aims to preserve and raise awareness of national treasures, and enhances their visibility globally.
National Day festivities entertain millions in Kingdom
Maraya Concert Hall in AlUla shines spotlight on beauty of Arabian horses
Updated 24 September 2023
RIYADH: Fireworks illuminated the skies of Saudi Arabia on the 93rd National Day, as millions of people gathered in various locations across the country on Saturday evening to enjoy the artistic shows organized by the General Entertainment Authority.
Citizens and residents who gathered to witness the fireworks also had the opportunity to enjoy a diverse range of other displays and events, including drone shows.
The celebrations were held in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa, Buraidah, Abha, Madinah, Hail, Tabuk, Baha, Sakaka, Jazan, Najran, Taif, Arar, and other cities.
In Boulevard Riyadh City, billboards displayed images of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the Kingdom’s flag.
In celebration of National Day, the people of AlUla gathered at the Maraya Concert Hall, where Arabian horses, which have long occupied a special place in the lives of Saudis, were put on display, accompanied by riders in traditional Saudi attire.
Meanwhile, Riyadh witnessed a spectacular military show, commencing with a parade featuring the participation of the Presidency of the Saudi Royal Guard, the Ministry of National Guard, and the General Directorate of Border Guard.
The parade featured a horse-mounted march and a musical performance by the Honor Guard, and culminated with the hoisting of the Saudi flag by helicopter, signifying the start of the aerial display.
Twelve Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, belonging to the Ministry of National Guard, took part in the aerial show, followed by the distinguished Saudi Falcons aerobatic team.
The Royal Saudi Air Force also presented impressive displays during the event, featuring aircraft such as Typhoon, F-15 S, Tornado, and F-15 C.
Along the coasts of the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf, the Royal Saudi Navy held maritime processions and shows in both the Eastern and Western fleets.
The aerial displays will continue across the Kingdom’s skies at multiple locations until they culminate in a performance over Jouf on Oct. 2.
Saudi aid chief joins high-level session on bridging humanitarian funding gap at UNGA sidelines
Updated 24 September 2023
NEW YORK: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, advisor to the Saudi Royal Court and supervisor-general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, participated in a high-level meeting on bridging the humanitarian funding gap.
Al-Rabeeah attended the meeting with Martin Griffiths, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.
The session was organized by Saudi Arabia, Sweden and the EU, in the presence of a number of countries and representatives of humanitarian organizations on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly in New York City.
It was also attended by Swedish Minister for International Cooperation, Development and Foreign Trade Johan Vore Sell, and Janez Lennar Schich, EU commissioner for crisis management, in a session moderated by Lisa Doten from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Al-Rabeeah said that humanitarian efforts must be combined in order to expand the scope of donor countries, bodies and individuals, and raise the level of coordination and impact of humanitarian aid, so that the work is more effective.
He noted that Saudi Arabia annually launches the annual Kingdom’s “Gift of Dates” campaign in partnership with the World Food Programme for an amount exceeding $136 million, which benefits 72 countries around the world.
Al-Rabeeah said KSrelief has supported the global response to COVID-19 crisis by providing vaccines, medical devices, medicines and care units.
He also focused on providing financial support, encouraging the provision of motivating countries and donors to provide whatever in-kind and financial resources they can.