Saudi pioneer artist: ‘There is a state of momentum’ in Kingdom’s artistic movement

Saudi artist Ghadeer Hafez is known for paintings that feature bold compositions and colors with an aesthetic and intellectual appeal. (Supplied)
Saudi artist Ghadeer Hafez is known for paintings that feature bold compositions and colors with an aesthetic and intellectual appeal. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 August 2023
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Saudi pioneer artist: ‘There is a state of momentum’ in Kingdom’s artistic movement

Saudi pioneer artist: ‘There is a state of momentum’ in Kingdom’s artistic movement
  • Art is a double-edged sword,’ says Ghadeer Hafez, who has showcased her work around the world

JEDDAH: Saudi artist Ghadeer Hafez has traveled the world to showcase her work and has established herself as an artistic ambassador of the Kingdom.

She is known for paintings that feature bold compositions and colors with an aesthetic and intellectual appeal. The Jeddah-based artist’s journey has spanned more than 23 years, during which she has been present at the forefront of the Saudi and international art scenes.

Hafez was the first Saudi woman artist to exhibit her work in a range of countries, including the US, Italy, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Turkey, Austria, China and Egypt.




Two paintings that were showcased by Hafez in Macedonia last week.

She recently held a personal exhibition in the Egyptian Opera House that was attended by many art pioneers as well as Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Osama Nuqali.

To Hafez, art is a powerful medium of expression. Before she departed to Macedonia to represent Saudi Arabia in an international symposium for artists, she told Arab News: “Art is a message that the artist releases to the world through works of art.”

Speaking about the message in her own work, she added: “It is about everything related to humanity and the dealings that take place between us as human beings, male or female.”

Art is not for entertainment; it is for discussing minds and promoting society ... always care about what increases the culture of society and improves its behavior.

Ghadeer Hafez, Saudi artist

For this reason, social and humanitarian issues are at the heart of most of Hafez’s paintings. When she paints, she tries to express something to those who see it.

In her paintings, Hafez also derives inspiration from her surroundings to create unique and vibrant works. She said: “The life situations that we meet are the most beautiful, honest inspiration that conveys reality,” adding that she is also inspired by meeting people.

Hafez has represented Saudi Arabia on global art platforms. She said: “By the grace of God, I was invited by government agencies in Europe and America to represent the Kingdom in many art exhibitions, and the last of these participations was in the US in the largest art event that included 195 countries.




Two paintings that were showcased by Hafez in Macedonia last week.

“I was nominated to represent the Kingdom in this great event and also in Antalya in a global exhibition on peace. And the municipality of Pristina in the coming month of September.”

In 2008, as part of her initiatives to promote art in Saudi Arabia, Hafez established her own art center, known as Ebda Al-Ghadeer.

Commenting on what she has hoped to achieve through the initiative, she added: “My goal was to produce an educated generation that appreciates art and is aware of its dimensions in a correct, non-random way; to come out to the world with works that elevate human behavior.”




In 2008, Ghadeer Hafez founded her own art center Ebda Al-Ghadeer in Jeddah.

She said: “Every month I feel proud of the artistic output that I have achieved through my students, who now number more than 3,700 women and more than 2,600 children from inside and outside the Kingdom. My students participating in local exhibitions and my giving continues through them.”

For artists, a successful career does not happen overnight, and is usually a gradual process. Reflecting on the breadth of her experience in the art world, Hafez said: “I achieved everything I wanted in my artistic career, thanks to God. My paintings became treasured in museums and my international participation is in every country I visit.

“I leave my artistic mark in art exhibitions inside and outside the Kingdom.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Ghadeer Hafez was the first Saudi woman artist to exhibit her work in a range of countries, including the US, Italy, Kosovo, Albania, and Macedonia.

• Social and humanitarian issues are at the heart of most of Hafez’s paintings.

Hafez added that she teaches art to students not only in Saudi Arabia, but in the rest of the Gulf region, too.

While she is now an accomplished artist, the journey has not been perfectly smooth, she said, adding: “The presence of women in Saudi society and in the artistic community was never easy, and the path of art was never paved.

“It was very difficult to convince people of the importance of art. In the past, the culture of art was not important in Saudi society, and the artistic movement did not activate until many years ago. These were the challenges I faced … to convince those around me of the importance of art in society and how art elevates human behavior.”

On her greatest accomplishments, Hafez said: “I established Ebda Al-Ghadeer in Jeddah. I was the first Saudi woman to be internationally accredited in the field of arts training from the Canadian International Center. In addition, I am an international arbitrator for the arts for more than 28 countries.”

She hopes to see great progress in the Kingdom’s art scene. “There is a state of momentum in the Saudi artistic movement, but I still find that the art scene is not studied and needs to set laws that select artists and works of art,” she said

Hafez, a pioneer of the feminist art movement in Saudi Arabia, concluded with sage words of advice to aspiring artists: “Art is not for entertainment; it is for discussing minds and promoting society. Empty works of art do not present content. Always care about what increases the culture of society and improves its behavior. Art is a double-edged sword. Practice art, but before you practice it, you must study it carefully.”

 


Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with the prime minister of Iraq on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

During their phone call, Prince Mohammed and Mohammed Al-Sudani discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.

They also dissussed the importance of making the necessary efforts to prevent the situation from worsening and ways to spare the region from the risks of escalation, SPA added.


Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday.

During the call, the officials discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.


Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in the Middle East on Sunday with his US counterpart during a phone call.

The call comes after Iran launched a wave of missiles and attack drones against Israel overnight Saturday to Sunday.

Prince Khalid and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also discussed efforts to contain the crisis while upholding international peace and security.

The officials also reviewed their strategic defense partnership and explored ways to further enhance it, the Kingdom’s defense minister said in a post on X. 


Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
  • Ali Alhammadi has been passionate about visual arts since childhood

JEDDAH: Ali Alhammadi, a Saudi 32-year-old visual artist from Aldawadmi in Riyadh, has carved out a remarkable pathway in the world of art since his professional debut in 2017.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the “Saudi renaissance” in line with Vision 2030, prompting him to embark on a creative expedition to express his perceptions through the canvas.

Alhammadi told Arab News that his art philosophy is about breaking invisible limitations and transcending comfort zones, drawing inspiration from the evergreen landscapes he encountered during camping trips with his father in the Riyadh desert.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

“During every spring season, me and my father used to go camping in the outskirts of Riyadh, when the desert turns green for a couple of months, where all the magical inspiration happens.”

Through his landscapes and abstract pieces, Alhammadi delves into his feelings, insecurities and aspirations, painting a narrative that speaks volumes.

“I use my art to express both happiness and sadness, and sometimes I start a painting with an idea in mind, but then I end up with a new one,” he said.

Ali Alhammadi, Saudi artist

One of Alhammadi’s pioneering techniques, “Invisible Limitations,” challenges traditional conceptions and societal norms, symbolizing the potential within, and beyond self-imposed boundaries. He said that his work reflects a realization that limitations are merely illusions.

“Our comfort zone sometimes restricts our ability to be inspired and inspire others. That’s why I decided to paint the Invisible Limitations theme.

“As I matured, I realized that most of these limitations don’t exist ... our limitation is the sky.”

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

Alhammadi’s artistic evolution has been influenced by his participation in prestigious exhibitions such as The Stars Exhibition at the German Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the second Riyadh Season Exhibition.

These platforms not only showcased his talent but also provided a catalyst for his creative development, empowering him to delve deeper into his cultural roots while embracing global influences.

Navigating between diverse cultural landscapes, Alhammadi, based between Liverpool and Riyadh, seamlessly fuses vibrant hues and styles, blending Saudi heritage and international artistic trends.

His experiences abroad have expanded his artistic horizons, inspiring him to create artworks that resonate with a global audience while retaining a distinctive Saudi essence. “Now that I have found my theme and art style, I believe that this phase will take me to different phases in my professional art career,” he said.

Looking toward the future, Alhammadi envisions his artwork evolving to explore the intricacies of human and cultural relationships, going deeper into themes that resonate with universal emotions and experiences. “Human and cultural relationships is something I’m keen on expressing through art,” he said.

His participation in international and local events such as the Founding Day in Liverpool and the National Day in London has not only spotlighted his talent but also enriched his artistic narrative with a tapestry of diverse influences.

For aspiring visual artists embarking on their creative odyssey, Alhammadi offers this advice: “Stay true to your vision, embrace your unique style, and let your art tell your story.”

 


Saudi authorities crack down on drug offenders in Jazan

Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi authorities crack down on drug offenders in Jazan

Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
  • Authorities apprehended a citizen with 71 kg of hashish hidden in a vehicle in Al-Dayer governorate

RIYADH: Saudi authorities recently made several drug-related arrests and confiscations in operations in the Jazan region, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

In the Al-Dayer governorate of Jazan, Border Guards thwarted an attempt to smuggle 175 kg of narcotic qat.

The guards also apprehended three Yemeni nationals attempting to smuggle 60 kg of qat in Jazan.

In another incident, land patrols in the Jazan region arrested a citizen for selling qat plants hidden in his vehicle.

Authorities also apprehended a citizen with 71 kg of hashish hidden in a vehicle in Al-Dayer governorate.

Border Guards patrols in the Al-Arda governorate in the Jazan region intercepted the smuggling of 160 kg of qat.

Preliminary legal procedures have been completed for all the individuals involved and all seized items have been handed to the authorities.

The Saudi government urges anyone with information related to suspected smuggling operations or customs violations to call the confidential hotline 1910, the international number +966114208417, or to email [email protected].

Tips received relating to smuggling and breaches of common customs law are treated with strict confidentiality. Financial rewards are offered for valid tips.