International artists explore Saudi landscape in new exhibition

Artist Dia Mrad found hope for Riyadh’s architecture in his studio. The Lebanese photographer spent months in researching to create the work ‘Traditions of Change.’ (AN photo)
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Artist Dia Mrad found hope for Riyadh’s architecture in his studio. The Lebanese photographer spent months in researching to create the work ‘Traditions of Change.’ (AN photo)
International artists explore Saudi landscape in new exhibition
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Liao Lihong, a Chinese artist living in Paris, derives an innovative technique to music creation from ancient devices: the abacus, used for math calculations, which she assimilated to the Arabian Qanun and Oud instruments in its shape during her time in the residency. (AN photo)
International artists explore Saudi landscape in new exhibition
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Areej Khaoud's studio wall is postered with phrases: ‘Can one heal uprootedness with food?’ ‘Is being home a state of ‘non-hunger’?’ ‘Insatiable in diaspora.’ (AN photo)
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Updated 03 June 2023
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International artists explore Saudi landscape in new exhibition

International artists explore Saudi landscape in new exhibition
  • Misk Art Institute’s latest Masaha Residency art showcase features 11 global and local artists and two writers whose

RIYADH: The Misk Art Institute’s latest Masaha Residency art showcase features 11 global and local artists and two writers whose projects explore tradition in the context of social development.

The fifth cycle of the three-month cross-cultural program brought together an international cohort of artists to develop fresh, research-driven art projects. Through architecture, music, and culture, several artists discovered traces of their own homes in the Saudi landscape.

Fahdah Althonayan, director of the education department at Misk, told Arab News: “Each cycle has its own uniqueness. Within this one, we had the opportunity to experiment with dual artists … it is a new thing that we tried with (them) to work together on their artwork, which surprised us as well.




Palestinian artist Areej Khaoud, who currently lives and works in London, took to the marketplaces of Riyadh to find remanences of belonging in her piece ‘Still Hungry.’ (AN photo)

“The variety of Saudi, khaleeji, and foreigners from different continents was amazing. It is an enriching experience.”

Ilyas Hajji, a photographer, and Nastya Indrikova, a researcher, are a Russian duo who worked on reconstructing the Hajj pilgrimage route, which was often dangerous.

Although it was modernized, many still struggled to make the trip from Russia, including the Muslim population in Dagestan during and after the fall of the Soviet Union.




Aleena Khan's artwork, “A Calling from the Moon,” toys with a popular Myth in Pakistan that the call to prayer, Adhan, was heard upon Neil Armstrong’s arrival to the moon. (AN photo)

The pair used items brought back from Hajj to highlight the effect on millions who were free to travel after the union’s dissolution.

Palestinian artist Areej Kaoud, who lives and works in London, took to the marketplaces of Riyadh to find a sense of belonging in her piece “Still Hungry.”

“In all these spaces, they pick things. You think that the owner is just trying to sell you things but he’s also trying to heal his own uprootedness,” Kaoud told Arab News.




Drawing comparison between the moon landing and the Arabian desert landscape, Khan's parafiction multimedia work diffuses the idea of universality and explores a more subjective path to truth. (AN photo)

Kaoud’s studio is the backdrop for a video documenting the offerings of a market staffed by diaspora from other countries, who preserve and share the traditions of back home.

The studio wall is covered with phrases including “Can one heal uprootedness with food?,” “Is being home a state of ‘non-hunger’?” and “Insatiable in diaspora.”

Liao Lihong, a Chinese artist living in Paris, merged an abacus with the shapes of a qanun and an oud to create a unique musical instrument.




Centering the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian artist duo Ilyas Hajji and researcher Nastya Indrikova, highlighted the presence of millions who were once again free to travel, made concrete through the items they brought back from their Hajj journey. (AN photo)

“When I studied in China in elementary school, we had a class using the abacus, but now we do not use it anymore because we have calculators,” she said. “But the sound (they make) was always in my mind. The idea is when people use the abacus to calculate numbers, it also plays music."

Aleena Khan bolsters Saudi Arabia’s historical first — a female astronaut and her colleague reaching the International Space Station last month.

Her artwork “A Calling from the Moon” toys with a popular myth in Pakistan that the Adhan, the call to prayer, was heard by Neil Armstrong on the moon.




Taking collected receipts from her stay and graffiti-d numbers across the city as inspiration for “sheet music,” Lihong fabricated a way for the numbers to create sounds on the abacus using a computing method. (AN photo)

Her work draws comparisons between the moon’s landscape and an Arabian desert.

She said: “I started to draw what the material on the moon looks like and then I sourced anything that looks similar to it and took it to the desert and shot it.

“What if these landscapes were one?”

In the fragments of Riyadh’s demolished architecture, artist Dia Mrad found hope for their new beginning in his studio. The Lebanese photographer spent months researching and photographing changes in the city’s neighborhoods to create the work “Traditions of Change.”

In line with his practice, which looks to extract narratives from a built environment, he screen-printed fallen pieces of debris with photos of homes that are scheduled for demolition in Riyadh.

“The Kingdom goes through cycles of change — every 30 or 40 years, a big change happens. The latest change that’s happening is Vision 2030, and it’s such a massive change that it’s affecting everything and it’s manifesting largely within the built environment. The history of a city is embedded within its materiality,” Mrad explained.

The exhibition, which spans various mediums including installation, textile, silkscreen and Arabic writing among others, can be viewed at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Arts Hall in Riyadh until June 10.

 


Saudi foreign minister praises China’s support for Gaza ceasefire efforts

Saudi foreign minister praises China’s support for Gaza ceasefire efforts
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Saudi foreign minister praises China’s support for Gaza ceasefire efforts

Saudi foreign minister praises China’s support for Gaza ceasefire efforts
  • Prince Faisal reiterated calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, an uninterrupted flow of aid

BEIJING: Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Thursday praised China’s support to efforts of ending the war on Gaza and implementing the two-state solution.
In his address at the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing, Prince Faisal reiterated calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza,and uninterrupted flow of aid.
He called for deeper cooperation to establish a reliable and irreversible path to the two-state solution, noting that constant dialogue is crucial for achieving regional peace.
He rejected foreign interference in the Middle East and called for efforts to prevent the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the region.
China hosted a summit on Thursday focused on the Israel-Hamas war where the Chinese President XI Jinping promised more humanitarian aid in Gaza and called for an international peace conference.
The summit, attended by heads of state from Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and Tunisia among others, was set to focus on China’s expanding trade ties and on security concerns related to the Israel-Hamas war.


KSrelief extends training, water, health projects in Yemen

KSrelief extends training, water, health projects in Yemen
Updated 30 May 2024
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KSrelief extends training, water, health projects in Yemen

KSrelief extends training, water, health projects in Yemen

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief is extending its training, food and health projects for vulnerable people in Yemen, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

In Taiz and the Hadramout governorate, the agency launched a life-skills program for orphans and women, which including sewing, managing businesses, and maintaining mobile phones.

In Aden, KSrelief concluded a training program on community cohesion in cooperation with the UN Development Programme, covering peace committees, conflict resolution and mediation.

In addition, the aid agency distributed 634 food parcels to 4,438 individuals in Aden.

In Hodeidah, 2,600 personal hygiene bags were delivered to displaced people in the Al-Jisha and Bani Jaber camps.

KSrelief also signed a deal with a civil society organization in Taiz to dig a well in the area that would benefit 3,150 individuals.

In Socotra governorate, KSrelief signed a pact with a civil society organization to construct a tank that would supply clean water to villages.


Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season

Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season
Updated 30 May 2024
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Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season

Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia Railways on Wednesday announced the readiness of the Haramain High-Speed Railway to receive pilgrims for this year’s Hajj season and said it has increased the number of available seats by about 100,000.

SAR revealed its operational plan for the season at its five stations linking Makkah to Madinah, bringing the total number of seats to 1.6 million, up from more than a 1.3 million seating capacity last year, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The 453-kilometer railway passes through the main Jeddah station in the Sulaymaniyah district, King Abdulaziz Airport station in Jeddah, and King Abdullah Economic City. 
“This expansion also considers the addition of more than 430 new trips to last year’s trips, raising the number of trips scheduled in the operational plan for this year to more than 3,800” from May 9 to June 25, while the numbers of trips on peak days will be 126, SPA said.
The Haramain High-Speed Railway train ranks among the 10 fastest electric trains globally. It reaches 300 km per hour, and operates a fleet of 35 trains, with a capacity of 417 seats per train. It functions based on an environment-friendly system and zero carbon emissions, and plays an important role in preserving roads’ infrastructure by reducing road traffic.


Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims

Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims
Updated 29 May 2024
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Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims

Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims
  • The initiative is part of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to promote a culture of volunteering within communities

MAKKAH: Almost 5,000 people are set to volunteer for programs launched by the Makkah arm of the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The branch has launched 247 opportunities via its volunteering platform to coincide with the start of the Hajj season. These include distributing more than 235,000 water bottles at 3,850 mosques, providing umbrellas to pilgrims for protection against the sun, distributing booklets and providing meals.

The initiative is part of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to promote a culture of volunteering within communities.

Earlier, the Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque launched its operational plan for Hajj, promoting voluntary and humanitarian work.

It recognizes the Two Holy Mosques as attractive environments for such efforts, based on religious and Saudi values that highlight the importance of generosity and hospitality.


Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh

Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh
Updated 29 May 2024
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Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh

Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and climate envoy Adel Al-Jubeir met Robert Karem, national security adviser to US Senator Mitch McConnell, on Wednesday in Riyadh.

In a separate meeting, Al-Jubeir met Costa Rica’s non-resident ambassador to the Kingdom, Francisco Chacon Hernandez.

The talks in both meetings centered on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.