From impressive sculptures to vibrant oil paintings, meet the Saudi artist who does it all

By experimenting in different forms of art, Azhar Saeed has gained exceptional skills in a variety of media; she is a sculptor, potter, painter and art teacher. (Supplied)
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By experimenting in different forms of art, Azhar Saeed has gained exceptional skills in a variety of media; she is a sculptor, potter, painter and art teacher. (Supplied)
From impressive sculptures to vibrant oil paintings, meet the Saudi artist who does it all
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By experimenting in different forms of art, Azhar Saeed has gained exceptional skills in a variety of media; she is a sculptor, potter, painter and art teacher. (Supplied)
From impressive sculptures to vibrant oil paintings, meet the Saudi artist who does it all
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By experimenting in different forms of art, Azhar Saeed has gained exceptional skills in a variety of media; she is a sculptor, potter, painter and art teacher. (Supplied)
From impressive sculptures to vibrant oil paintings, meet the Saudi artist who does it all
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By experimenting in different forms of art, Azhar Saeed has gained exceptional skills in a variety of media; she is a sculptor, potter, painter and art teacher. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 September 2023
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From impressive sculptures to vibrant oil paintings, meet the Saudi artist who does it all

From impressive sculptures to vibrant oil paintings, meet the Saudi artist who does it all
  • Azhar Saeed is an artistic force to be reckoned with

RIYADH: Growing up in an artistic household helped multidisciplinary Saudi artist Azhar Saeed to flourish, allowing her to see life in a multitude of colors and draw inspiration from the beauty around her.

Speaking about this influence on her growth as an artist, Saeed said: “My mother was an artist … and worked with art in her free time, teaching us how to look at things with an artistic view until she refined our taste aesthetically, in addition to (teaching us) general refined behavior.”

By experimenting in different forms of art, Saeed has gained exceptional skills in a variety of media; she is a sculptor, potter, painter and art teacher.




‘Permanence’ was the artist’s contribution to Riyadh Art’s Tuwaiq Sculpture event. (Supplied)

Commenting on how an artist can evolve and develop various skills and disciplines, she explained the secret of her success: “It was through continuous knowledge, experimentation and education in all areas of life, which contribute to discovering new horizons in the world of visual art, which leads you to benefit from them in creating new designs.”

Her art is fueled by inspiration, whether it be a loved one or nature. She said people can “inspire me with their spirit. Their inner world, sufferings, joys and sorrows (motivate me), which makes me hopeful to what extent this great (person) can reach in terms of creativity in all aspects of life.”
She added: “There are other inspirations such as the beauty of nature on Earth and the splendor of outer space.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• In 2018, Azhar Saeed was one of the first women to participate in the Naqos Sculpture Forum in the Eastern Province.

• In 2019, her sculpture, titled ‘Love,’ was featured in Misk Art.

• The Saudi artist has showcased her work around the world.

Saeed’s work was featured in Riyadh Art’s Tuwaiq Sculpture, an annual sculpture symposium that showcases the works of local and international artists in a collaborative space.

Her sculpture, titled “Permanence,” is inspired by human existence and the shape of the Earth.




‘Permanence’ was the artist’s contribution to Riyadh Art’s Tuwaiq Sculpture event. (Supplied)

She said of its meaning: “Permanence is inspired by the pulse of human existence, as it refers to nature and the land of Riyadh. The three circles are inspired by the culture of art, architecture and originality leading to the continuous movement of life.

“The meeting of flowing lines designate the Arabic oud melodies that symbolize live communication and beautiful coexistence, which gives positivity and creativity in artistic achievement and keeps pace with development in light of Vision 2030.”

She said participating at Tuwaiq Sculpture was a great opportunity. “It was very fruitful on a personal level. I met elite sculptors from around the world, we shared experiences and I was very happy with my work.”




‘Permanence’ was the artist’s contribution to Riyadh Art’s Tuwaiq Sculpture event. (Supplied)

She said the experience was tough as it involved “dealing with dangerous machines”, but that it was “fun to be able to adapt the hard stone, granite, into a very beautiful sculpture.”

Aside from Tuwaiq Sculpture, Saeed has also participated in many art exhibitions and symposiums outside the Kingdom in countries such as Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Italy, Canada, the US, Bahrain and Lebanon, among many others.

She has also taken part in various artistic activities at charitable societies and art centers.

I’ve never lost my passion and faith in what I do, and I’m still in the process of research.

Azhar Saeed, Artist

In 2018, Saeed was one of the first women to participate in the Naqos Sculpture Forum in the Eastern Province. In 2019, her sculpture, titled “Love,” was featured in Misk Art.

Saeed said her greatest achievements as an artist were “to see your work in a public field for future generations and to see it featured in your homeland.”

She said she loved being an art teacher on top of her own artistic endeavors. “I’ve never lost my passion and faith in what I do, and I’m still in the process of research.”

Her aim is to empower the younger generation of artists in the Kingdom, advising them to “be patient and dedicated to your work and art. Continue to develop your capabilities and talents to reveal new horizons and new creativity.”

As an artist who believes in the innate value of art for society, Saeed said if she could go back in time, she would not change a thing: “Time that passes doesn’t return, so all my tremendous energy must be devoted to art and the field of creativity. This advice I gave to myself previously, and I give it to myself again. Providing beautiful art makes society happy and contributes to raising their visual taste.”

To view more of Saeed’s work, visit azharsaeedgallery.com.

 


Award winners crowned at close of Gulf Cinema Festival in Riyadh

Award winners crowned at close of Gulf Cinema Festival in Riyadh
Updated 21 April 2024
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Award winners crowned at close of Gulf Cinema Festival in Riyadh

Award winners crowned at close of Gulf Cinema Festival in Riyadh

RIYADH: Award winners were crowned on the final day of the fourth Gulf Cinema Festival in Riyadh on Saturday, at a ceremony attended by prominent artistic and cinematic names, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The winners were nominated by a jury headed by Ibrahim Al-Hasawi from Saudi Arabia, who was joined by Bassam Al-Thawadi from Bahrain, Rawda Al-Thani from Qatar, Khaled Amin from Kuwait, Nujoom Al-Ghanem from the UAE and Ibrahim Al-Zadjali from Oman.
“Hajjan,” a coming-of-age drama set in Saudi Arabia about two brothers who battle to save their favorite camel starring Omar Al-Atawi and Abdulmohsen Alnemr, won the award for best feature film.
It also picked up the best photography award, with Jerry Fassbender recognized for his work on the film. Al-Atawi won the best actor award for his role.
The best actress award went to Bahraini Maryam Zeman for her part in the movie “My Word.”
The award for best short film went to the heavily tipped “Clouds,” about a widower and war veteran who are forced to balance their own morals with societal expectations in southern Oman, directed by Muzna Almusafer.
The award for best documentary film went to Mansoor Al-Dhaheri’s climate change expose “Swimming 62.”
Ziad Al-Hussein took home two awards, including one for best director, for his film “Shiabni Hani.”
The award for best original soundtrack went to Khaled Al-Kammar for his music that featured in the movie “Hawjan,” a modern twist on the ancient Arab jinn mythology, which also opened the latest edition of the Red Sea Festival last year.
The Gulf Cinema Festival was held under the patronage of Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, who is also chairman of the board of directors of the Film Commission, which organized the event.
This year’s festival hosted screenings of 29 films, three training workshops and six cultural seminars.
Abdullah Al-Qahtani, CEO of the commission, said in a speech during the ceremony that the festival embodied a commitment to supporting the film sector in the region and building bridges for cinematic cooperation between the Gulf countries.
He thanked Prince Badr for his sponsorship and support of the festival and the film sector in Saudi Arabia, as well as the general secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council.


Merwas — Riyadh’s beating heart of creativity

Merwas — Riyadh’s beating heart of creativity
Updated 20 April 2024
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Merwas — Riyadh’s beating heart of creativity

Merwas — Riyadh’s beating heart of creativity
  • World’s largest music production studio is nurturing Saudi talent, streamlining local industry

RIYADH: Riyadh’s Merwas, considered the biggest art and entertainment factory globally, is proving to be one of Saudi Arabia’s greatest music industry assets.

Nada Al-Tuwaijri, co-founder and CEO of Merwas, told Arab News that the facility, which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest music production studio, “is home to all artists.”

She added: “The methodology behind it is to create solutions through the subsidiaries, and invest in both talent and infrastructure.

“Alongside it being a one-stop shop for all content creators, we strive to take our local talents from local to global and create a unique stamp in the industry.”

Spread across almost 5,000 square meters, Merwas fosters creativity, collaboration, and the production of multimedia content, along with hosting workshops, networking sessions, and community events. (AN photos by Abdulrhman Bin Shalhoub/Supplied)

The entertainment zone and audiovisual production studio, located in Boulevard Riyadh City, houses 22 main studios alongside its academy.

Some of the top musicians in the world have visited Merwas since it opened in 2022. These include DJ Khaled, the acclaimed Saudi singer Rabeh Saqer, and the Emirati singer Ahlam. Afrojack, a world-renowned Dutch DJ and producer, also led an electronic music boot camp to nurture local talent and inspire a new generation of Saudi artists.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Merwas, located in Boulevard Riyadh City, houses 22 main studios alongside its academy.

• The academy’s classes offer local creatives and artists direct access to seasoned expertise.

• The Earth Sound Studio, or ESS, named after the late Saudi composer Talal Maddah.

Spread across almost 5,000 square meters, the culture factory fosters creativity, collaboration, and the production of multimedia content, while providing artists with access to top-tier services, facilities and industry expertise.

Spread across almost 5,000 square meters, Merwas fosters creativity, collaboration, and the production of multimedia content, along with hosting workshops, networking sessions, and community events. (AN photos by Abdulrhman Bin Shalhoub/Supplied)

The Earth Sound Studio, or ESS, named after the late Saudi composer Talal Maddah, features state-of-the-art technology, such as the SSL console, which is used to create depth on music tracks and ensures the true soul of the artist’s voice is protected.

This live recording space is booked almost every day by various artists, and has been used by some of the Arab region’s biggest stars.

The facility, which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest music production studio, is home to all artists according to co-founder Nada Al-Tuwaijri. (Supplied)

One of the only five Neve consoles in the world can be found in the Neve Studio. The panel is known for its high-quality sound and warmth, and is ideal for music recording, vocal tracking, and mixing for exceptional audio quality.

Its live studio can accommodate over 120 orchestra members and their instruments to provide a unique recording experience.

Spread across almost 5,000 square meters, Merwas fosters creativity, collaboration, and the production of multimedia content, along with hosting workshops, networking sessions, and community events. (AN photos by Abdulrhman Bin Shalhoub/Supplied)

Specifically designed for electronic music production, the EMP Suite is a DJ’s dream, with cutting edge synthesizers and digital audio workstations ensuring an artist leaves the room with a fully produced track.

Merwas is also home to three production suites, designed for content creators who require a comfortable and professional environment for music production, editing, and mixing. Each suite is equipped with industry-standard gear, software, and acoustics to support a wide range of projects.

Nada Al-Tuwaijri, Merwas cofounder and CEO

The studio also provides private rehearsal spaces to ensure Saudi talents are nourished to their full potential. The versatile space is designed for musicians, performers, and other artists to rehearse and refine their craft within a comfortable environment with access to instruments and equipment.

Part of the charm of recording studios is the live jam sessions that have given birth to some of the most iconic records to date. Merwas’ Band Live/Control Room also captures the spontaneity of live performance within its soundproof walls.

Alongside (Merwas) being a one-stop shop for all content creators, we strive to take our local talents from local to global and create a unique stamp in the industry.

Nada Al-Tuwaijri, Merwas cofounder and CEO

Championing audiovisual pursuits, the studio has made space for high-quality podcasts and videos to come to life.

The podcast suite and FM radio recording spaces are tailored to immerse listeners with unbeatable audio clarity, while the 25-meter-long Green Screen room helps ideas come to life, whether commercial, film, or music video.

Spread across almost 5,000 square meters, Merwas fosters creativity, collaboration, and the production of multimedia content, along with hosting workshops, networking sessions, and community events. (AN photos by Abdulrhman Bin Shalhoub/Supplied)

Material can then be edited at the color-grading suite, which is essentially a small theater with 4K projector. Producers, directors, writers, and engineers gather here to put the final visual touches on video projects through its DaVinci color grading software and hardware.

Academy Classes offers local creatives and artists direct access to seasoned expertise. These feature advanced stations for sound production, engineering, and technical programs, with everything necessary for a basic understanding and training of music production.

The studio hosts workshops, networking sessions, and community events in an effort to flourish the music industry locally while making it a magnet for international talent. Anyone can be a part of this community by booking a suite or signing up for a workshop on their website merwas.sa.

Merwas has positioned itself at the the forefront of the entertainment industry being the first of its kind in the MENA region. In less than a year since its launch, it has already became a hotspot for musicians across the globe to visit and utilize its services, from rising talents to international A-listers.

Founded by Al-Tuwaijri and Chief Content Officer Rumian Al-Rumayyan in partnership with Sela, Merwas treasures Saudi creativity and is a vital part of building an ecosystem and community for local artists.

Their partnership with the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property has set a new focus on preserving the rights of local creatives, pillared by the aim to enrich the culture of the Kingdom while empowering its citizens and their creativity in an environment of abundant knowledge, education in culture, art, entertainment and music.

 


15k held for labor, residency, border violations in Saudi Arabia

Saudi police have arrested hundreds of illegals breaching country’s law. (SPA)
Saudi police have arrested hundreds of illegals breaching country’s law. (SPA)
Updated 21 April 2024
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15k held for labor, residency, border violations in Saudi Arabia

Saudi police have arrested hundreds of illegals breaching country’s law. (SPA)
  • The report showed that among the 996 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 64 percent were Ethiopian, 33 percent Yemeni, and 3 percent were of other nationalities

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested almost 15,000 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

According to an official report, a total of 9,479 people were arrested for violations of residency laws, while 3,763 were held over illegal border crossing attempts, and a further 1,430 for labor-related issues.

The report showed that among the 996 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 64 percent were Ethiopian, 33 percent Yemeni, and 3 percent were of other nationalities.

A further 37 people were caught trying to cross into neighboring countries, and six were held for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior said that anyone found to be facilitating illegal entry to the Kingdom, including providing transportation and shelter, could face imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), as well as confiscation of vehicles and property.

Suspected violations can be reported on the toll-free number 911 in the Makkah and Riyadh regions, and 999 or 996 in other regions of the Kingdom.

 


Authorities bust drug smugglers across Saudi Arabia

Authorities bust drug smugglers across Saudi Arabia
Updated 20 April 2024
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Authorities bust drug smugglers across Saudi Arabia

Authorities bust drug smugglers across Saudi Arabia
  • 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]

RIYADH: Saudi authorities recently made several drug-related arrests and confiscations in operations across the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Border Guard land patrols in Al-Ardah governorate, Jazan region arrested a Yemeni national attempting to smuggle 60 kg of qat.

In the Saqam sector of Najran region, the land patrols thwarted the smuggling of 58 kg of hashish.

The General Directorate of Narcotics Control arrested a Bangladeshi resident in the Hail region for attempting to sell methamphetamine, a narcotic substance commonly referred to as “shabu.”

The authorities also arrested a citizen in Jazan for selling amphetamines, highly addictive drugs that stimulate the central nervous system.

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

 


Saudi deputy FM meets Colombian counterpart in Bogota

Francisco Coy Granados receives Waleed Elkhereiji in Bogotá. (Supplied)
Francisco Coy Granados receives Waleed Elkhereiji in Bogotá. (Supplied)
Updated 21 April 2024
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Saudi deputy FM meets Colombian counterpart in Bogota

Francisco Coy Granados receives Waleed Elkhereiji in Bogotá. (Supplied)
  • The two reviewed bilateral relations and ways in which they could be strengthened, along with the latest developments and issues of mutual concern

BOGOTÁ: Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed Elkhereiji recently met his Colombian counterpart, Francisco Coy Granados, the foreign ministry reported on X on Saturday.

During the meeting, the two reviewed bilateral relations and ways in which they could be strengthened, along with the latest developments and issues of mutual concern.

The meeting was also attended by Acting Charge d’Affairs of Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Colombia Mohammed Al-Shatri, and the director general of the deputy minister’s office, Mutashar Al-Enezi.