Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit

Special Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit
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AlUla is furthering its position as a global place for culture and heritage this week with its invite-only AlUla World Archaeological Summit. (AlUla World Archaeological Summit)
Special Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit
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300 attendees and more than 80 speakers and 200 delegates from around the world will take part in the AlUla World Archaeological Summit. (AlUla World Archaeological Summi)
Special Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit
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The exclusive event is part of RCU’s regeneration of AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage. (AlUla World Archaeological Summit)
Special Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit
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The exclusive event is part of RCU’s regeneration of AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage. (AlUla World Archaeological Summit)
Special Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit
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The exclusive event is part of RCU’s regeneration of AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage. (AlUla World Archaeological Summit)
Special Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit
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The summit includes archaeologists, artists and cultural practitioners from around the world, including the Kingdom. (AlUla World Archaeological Summit)
Special Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit
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The summit includes archaeologists, artists and cultural practitioners from around the world, including the Kingdom. (AlUla World Archaeological Summi)
Special Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit
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The exclusive event is part of RCU’s regeneration of AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage. (AlUla World Archaeological Summit)
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Updated 15 September 2023
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Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit

Leading heritage experts gather in AlUla for World Archaeological Summit
  • Event in Saudi Arabia’s ancient desert lands to discuss cultural heritage
  • 300 attendees and more than 80 speakers and 200 delegates from around the world to take part

AlUla is furthering its position as a global place for culture and heritage this week with its invite-only AlUla World Archaeological Summit.

The three-day summit’s program of panels, discussions and excursions commenced yesterday at Maraya Concert Hall, the ancient region’s giant mirror-cladded multipurpose venue located amid a wealth of archaeological treasures stemming from the Neolithic era to the early 20th century.

Staged by the Royal Commission for AlUla and taking place through Sept. 15, the three-day summit brings together global art, culture and heritage experts from around the world who are among more than 80 speakers.

The first panel, titled “The Shape of Us: Archaeology, Identity,” asked the question of how, in the modern world, in which many conventional definitions are obsolete, can archaeology challenge and expand identities of self, family, communities and nations? How can archaeology collaborate with other disciplines to do so? The session also explored the various ways in which archaeology can be instrumental in shaping identities.

HIGHLIGHTS

The exclusive event is part of RCU’s regeneration of AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage, of which archaeological research and conservation are key aspects of the project to attract 2 million visitors per year by 2035.

Luminaries scheduled to appear at the summit include Bettany Hughes, the British historian and presenter of numerous documentaries on ancient history, and Levison Wood, a world- renowned explorer, writer and photographer who has authored 11 bestselling books and produced several critically acclaimed documentaries.

As Alessandro Sebastiani, associate professor of Roman archaeology and director of Graduate Studies, Department of Classics, University of Buffalo, said: “We want archaeology to remain accessible to everyone. Identity is about moving cultures. You create your identity.”

The exclusive event is part of RCU’s regeneration of AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage, of which archaeological research and conservation are key aspects of the project to attract 2 million visitors per year by 2035.

“The AlUla World Archaeology Summit is drawing great interest worldwide, with speakers spanning the globe from America and Australia to Jordan and Japan,” said Abdulrahman Al-Suhaibani, executive director of archaeology, conservation and collections at RCU, adding that they will be sharing knowledge on the summit’s four themes: Identity, Ruinscapes, Resilience and Accessibility. Their presence aligns with AlUla’s legacy as a crossroads of civilizations, “where people have exchanged ideas from far and wide.”

Rebecca Foote, director of archaeology and cultural heritage research at RCU, told Arab News: “We wanted the summit to be interdisciplinary and intersectorial.

“Rather than being about the specific data that everyone is finding to report, the summit concerns more the issues, challenges and opportunities that are faced by archaeologists worldwide and how other sectors can help to enhance our field or and transform it towards creating a better world.”

The summit includes archaeologists, artists and cultural practitioners from around the world, including the Kingdom, with visual artist Manal Al-Dowayan; Jasir Al-Herbish, CEO of the Heritage Commission; Daif Allah Al-Talhi, professor emeritus of archaeology, University of Hail; and Suleiman Al-Theeb, professor emeritus of ancient Arabian scripts and languages at King Saud University, in attendance.

Other luminaries scheduled to appear at the summit include Bettany Hughes, the British historian and presenter of numerous documentaries on ancient history, and Levison Wood, a world-renowned explorer, writer and photographer who has authored 11 bestselling books and produced several critically acclaimed documentaries.

Panel discussions range from those which focus on ancient heritage and discoveries to the use of technology and AI, such as “Archaeology Weaves an Interconnected World” and “Saving Archaeology One TikTok at a Time.”

Delegates will be able to take part in excursions throughout AlUla’s key heritage sites, many of which are also undergoing active archaeological excavation. These include the Nabataean tombs of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site.

“We want the summit to address how archaeology can become more relevant to society,” added Foote. “How can it work for the global good across a variety of sectors by addressing key themes of identity, resilience, ruinscapes and accessibility.”

“There are people coming from around the world, Australia, Africa, Australia, Europe and from around the Middle East and Saudi Arabia,” said Foote.

The summit is about marrying the past with the present and using AlUla once again as an international cultural crossroads for intellectual discourse.

 

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

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Baz Luhrmann to head Red Sea Film Festival jury

Baz Luhrmann to head Red Sea Film Festival jury
Updated 26 September 2023
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Baz Luhrmann to head Red Sea Film Festival jury

Baz Luhrmann to head Red Sea Film Festival jury

DUBAI: Australian director Baz Luhrmann has been chosen to preside over the Red Sea International Film Festival’s features competition jury this year, organizers announced on Tuesday. 

The third edition of the Saudi festival is set to take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9 in Jeddah. 

Luhrmann will head the jury that will be bestowing awards to a competition of 17 titles from filmmakers from the Arab world, Asia and Africa.

Mohammed Al-Turki, the festival’s CEO, said in a statement: “As we work towards our third edition, we are delighted to welcome legendary award-winning director Baz Luhrmann as the head of the jury.” 

Luhrmann said: “As a child in the local cinema that we ran near the tiny country town where I grew up, I was mesmerized by the powerful historical and physical landscapes of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. 

“Since that time, I have had an abiding passion for the Arabian world, but after visiting Saudi Arabia, I felt truly inspired by the remarkable young filmmaking talent coming up across the region and to see how they are now capturing the attention of the global film community.” 

The Academy Award-nominated auteur is known for being a master storyteller across film, opera, theater and music, as well as his critically acclaimed filmography, including double Academy Award-winning “The Great Gatsby,” “Strictly Ballroom,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Elvis” and “Australia.” 


Picasso masterpiece begins pre-auction tour in Dubai

Picasso masterpiece begins pre-auction tour in Dubai
Updated 25 September 2023
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Picasso masterpiece begins pre-auction tour in Dubai

Picasso masterpiece begins pre-auction tour in Dubai
  • The 1932 portrait of Marie-Therese Walter, Picasso’s mistress and “golden muse,” is being exhibited for two days before heading to Hong Kong and London

Dubai: A Pablo Picasso masterpiece expected to fetch at least $120 million at auction went on show Monday in Dubai, kicking off a set of rare viewings outside the United States.
The 1932 portrait of Marie-Therese Walter, Picasso’s mistress and “golden muse,” is being exhibited for two days before heading to Hong Kong and London, a boon for the United Arab Emirates’ bid to establish itself as a cultural powerhouse.
The viewing “marks the first time a painting of this calibre by the world-renowned artist has ever been exhibited in the UAE,” Sotheby’s Dubai said in a statement, noting it is the first time the portrait had been shown outside the US in half a century.
“Over the years the UAE has earned the status of being a global art destination, which receives a further boost as this rare Picasso is unveiled here,” said UAE Culture Minister Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al-Qassimi.
The painting titled “Femme a la montre” will be sold in November as part of a two-day auction of late New Yorker Emily Fisher Landau’s prestigious collection.
Walter met Picasso in Paris in 1927, when the Spaniard was still married to Russian-Ukrainian ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova, and while Walter was 17.
Walter, whose daughter with Picasso passed away last year, was also featured in “Femme assize pres d’une fenetre (Marie-Therese),” which sold in 2021 for $103.4 million by Christie’s auction house.
Fifty years after his death in 1973 at age 91, Picasso remains one of the most influential artists of the modern world, often hailed as a dynamic and creative genius.
But in the wake of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault, the reputation of this workaholic with a vast output of paintings, sketches and sculpture has been tarnished by accusations he exerted a violent hold over the women who shared his life and inspired his art.


Princess Rajwa attends congress meetings with Jordan’s Crown Prince

Princess Rajwa attends congress meetings with Jordan’s Crown Prince
Updated 24 September 2023
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Princess Rajwa attends congress meetings with Jordan’s Crown Prince

Princess Rajwa attends congress meetings with Jordan’s Crown Prince

DUBAI: Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein this week accompanied her husband, Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, on his trip to the US for his meeting with Congress members at Capitol Hill.

Fans had their eyes on Rajwa’s style and quickly took to Instagram to share her outfit details.

 

 

The Jordanian royal was dressed in a white funnel-neck pedernal blouse by Canadian British designer Edeline Lee and a black midi-skirt by Dior. She added a pop of color to her look by wearing hot-pink slingback Fendi heels and a matching Baguette phone pouch in patent leather.

The couple then flew back to Jordan.

 

 

The prince shared a picture of him, his wife and his younger brother Prince Hashem and wrote on Instagram: “Checking in on Hashem this morning.”

In the picture, Rajwa wore an off-white set, which she paired with a white undershirt. Her blazer was a Jacquemus’s “Le Papier” square jacket.

She topped off the look with a white Gucci GG Marmont leather bag.


Jorja Smith performs at Azimuth festival in AlUla

Jorja Smith performs at Azimuth festival in AlUla
Updated 23 September 2023
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Jorja Smith performs at Azimuth festival in AlUla

Jorja Smith performs at Azimuth festival in AlUla

ALULA: A stellar lineup of stars performed on the second day of Saudi Arabia’s Azimuth festival in AlUla, including British singer and songwriter, Jorja Smith. 

Smith performed some of her hits, including “Be Honest” and “Go Go Go.” 

The music sensation was joined by stars form around the world who performed on the second and last night of the festival, which forms part of Saudi Arabia’s 93rd National Day celebrations.

The lineup included performances by Dope Lemon, Chet Faker, Saint Levant, Shkoon Live, Ame & Dixon, Tinariwen, Vinyl Mode, Dish Dash, Zone+, Kayan, Baloo, and more.

On Thursday, The Kooks, Thievery Corporation, Peggy Gou, Nooriyah, RY X and Cairokee performed for fans.

AlUla Moments’ collaboration with Spotify allowed fans to check out the lineup on the Azimuth AlUla Official Playlist.

The festival vibes were enhanced with Azilook stations for makeup, hair, nails and henna tattoos. There was also an opportunity to shop for attire from Creative Collection, accessories from Qurmoz and perfumes from SURGE.

In addition, several food vendors were available, including Gun Bun, SALT, Out of Line, Just Chill, Creamery, Baroque and Maui.


Review: ‘Wrestlers’ deserves to be Netflix’s latest breakout hit

Review: ‘Wrestlers’ deserves to be Netflix’s latest breakout hit
Updated 23 September 2023
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Review: ‘Wrestlers’ deserves to be Netflix’s latest breakout hit

Review: ‘Wrestlers’ deserves to be Netflix’s latest breakout hit
  • Documentary on the Ohio wrestling scene is bursting with heart

LONDON: The mark of a great documentary is when audiences feel like they’ve learned something — when a hitherto unexplored world is examined and explained in a way that makes sense or interrogated and investigated in order to shed new light on things previously unseen. A truly phenomenal documentary, however, not only does all of the above, but it makes viewers actually care about the world they’re exploring.

Netflix’s “Wrestlers” is a remarkable piece of filmmaking. Director Greg Whiteley (“Last Chance U,” “Cheer”) and his team have created an emotional, intimate look inside the world of the Ohio Valley Wrestling league. Once the pathway to the big time (with alumni that include Brock Lesnar, The Miz, John Cena, Dave Bautista, Randy Orton and others), OVW is struggling to make ends meet. New investors Matt Jones and Craig Greenberg have rescued the franchise, for now, but find themselves in conflict with owner (and legendary wrestler) Al Snow, as their desire to increase revenue and marketability comes up against Snow’s uncompromising commitment to crafting storylines and matches of the utmost quality.

“Wrestlers” is directed by Greg Whiteley. (YouTube)

Whiteley takes us deep into the lives of Snow, the new owners, and the wrestlers — standouts include Cash Flo, Shera and Haley J, but there are so many fascinating characters at the heart of OVW that seven episodes don’t feel even close to enough. By showing us their lives, and just how much wrestling means to them, the day-to-day grind of keeping the league afloat feels uncompromisingly real. It’s genuinely heartbreaking to see the efforts of Snow and his roster of wrestlers draw in just a few extra attendees, and it’s jaw-droppingly uncomfortable to get a firsthand glimpse of the stresses Jones and Snow are under as they reach the culmination of OVW’s summer tour.

To reveal anything more would undermine the gravitas of the season finale, which deserves to be seen far and wide. “Wrestlers” is a remarkable show. Whether or not you care about wrestling at the start, you’ll care about the people behind OVW by the time the curtain drops on season one. Here’s hoping there’s more in store.