Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia

Special Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia
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Delicate by Daniah Alsaleh at Noor Riyadh. (Supplied)
Special Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia
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Love Stories by Daniah Alsaleh at Noor Riyadh. (Supplied)
Special Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia
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Noor Riyadh light festival. (SPA)
Special Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia
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Noor Riyadh light festival. (Supplied)
Special Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia
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An art installation called The Cupola at Noor Riyadh. (AFP)
Special Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia
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Eroding Wave by American artist Jim Campbell. (Supplied)
Special Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia
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Saudi artist Rashed Alshashi showcased his work at the 2021 King Fahad Financial District (KAFD) exhibition. (Supplied)
Special Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia
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Saudi artist Rashed Alshashi showcased his work at the 2021 King Fahad Financial District (KAFD) exhibition. (Supplied)
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Updated 23 September 2023
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Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia

Why Noor Riyadh light festival bodes well for future of art in Saudi Arabia
  • Numerous artists have received support from initiatives aimed at nurturing local artists
  • Local community plays significant role in fostering the growth of art in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Noor Riyadh, the largest light festival in the world, continues to inspire local and international artists.

In 2020 and 2022, visual artist Daniah Alsaleh showcased two of her artworks — “Love Stories” and “Delicate” — at Noor Riyadh.

The “Love Stories” display featured AI-generated individuals singing popular love songs to each other in public. This captivating installation was exhibited in Oud Square at the Diplomatic Quarter.

The other installation, “Delicate,” was included in the Noor Riyadh accompanying exhibition, “From Spark to Spirit,” in the Jax district in Diriyah.

Alsaleh said that her art was inspired by “a multifaceted exploration of memory and cultural conditioning.

“I draw inspiration from books, media and everyday costumes and habits. Through my work, I explore our connections to each other and to the world by using different materials and techniques such as painting and technology to create pieces that speak to our shared human experiences of vulnerability and discovery.”

Alsaleh said that the professional experience opened doors and provided her with the opportunity to witness how her work resonated with visitors.

She said: “Participating in Noor Riyadh for the first time was an intriguing experience that allowed me to engage with a professional production team. Their hands-on approach and dedication to realizing my artistic vision were key aspects of the process.

“It had an unexpected effect on the visitors as it touched on a personal objective topic of love in the genre of Arabic love songs in conservative cultures.”

Alsaleh is among the numerous artists who have received support from the Kingdom’s initiatives aimed at nurturing and promoting local artists.

“The future of art in Saudi Arabia holds great promise and potential. With the increased investment and support in the creative industries by the Saudi government and the growing community of talented artists, the Saudi art scene is poised for dynamic growth and innovation,” she said.

The local community had also played a significant role in fostering the growth of art in the Kingdom.

She said: “The embrace of contemporary art, coupled with a rich heritage of traditional artistic practices Saudi is known for, creates a unique blend of old and new.

“This fusion not only honors the past but also paves the way for fresh interpretations and experimental approaches that will reflect the unique cultural identity of the nation and simultaneously propel it to an international audience.”

Saudi artist Rashed Alshashi was also part of the 2021 Noor Riyadh exhibition at the King Abdullah Financial District, where his artwork was viewed by thousands.

Alshashi categorizes his experience into three main aspects: visual aesthetics, technology, and emotional resonance. “These works may stimulate the audience to explore self-creation and expand their concept of art and beauty, and may guide them to discover new aspects of the world and personal experience.”

He added: “Artworks are designed in innovative ways to create mesmerizing and amazing visual effects. Advanced technology is used to achieve these effects, such as sensor-controlled lighting or interactive light shows.”

Alshashi said that through exploring the exhibition, individuals had the opportunity to engage with the artwork and fully immerse themselves in a realm of light and color.

“The right light creates a contrasting atmosphere, enhancing the feeling of magic and mystery. These emotional and spiritual influences inspire people to think deeply and lead to moments of peace and meditation.”

The festival is set to make its comeback in November 2023 for its third year, with the aim of fostering creativity and providing support for talents from diverse backgrounds.

Alshashi said that the future of art in Saudi Arabia looked promising, thanks to the Kingdom’s dedication to supporting artists in various fields.

“In recent years, the Kingdom has witnessed major transformations in the field of culture and arts, thanks to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to strengthen the economy and culture and diversify sources of income. There is a strong interest from our leadership in Saudi Arabia to support art and culture, and this reinforces hopes for a bright future for art in the homeland,” Alshashi said.


Argentine artist ‘takes over’ Jeddah’s Al-Balad

Argentine artist ‘takes over’ Jeddah’s Al-Balad
Updated 25 February 2024
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Argentine artist ‘takes over’ Jeddah’s Al-Balad

Argentine artist ‘takes over’ Jeddah’s Al-Balad
  • Andres Reisinger’s dreamy pink drapes unlock a new dimension in art, reality

JEDDAH: Argentine digital artist Andres Reisinger has made a name for himself by reimagining various locations across the globe draped with fabric in shades of pink.

Reisinger’s whimsical virtual spaces have taken over cliff edges, coastlines, and city centers. Now, his most recent physical installation lies in the heart of historic Jeddah’s Al-Balad, breaking the boundary between digital and physical art.  

The work is part of Reisinger’s viral “Take Over” series, which casts the artist’s dreamy and romantic hues over different global locations such as Venice and Miami. In an interview with Arab News, he dug deeper into conceptualizing the 17-meter-tall installation, developing his practice, and exploring new mediums of art.  

Argentine artist Andres Reisinger’s ‘Take Over Jeddah’ was unveiled at Balad Al-Fann as part of the ‘Matters through Matter’ exhibition. (Supplied)

He said: “I think there’s something very interesting about Al-Balad in the contrast between what we are used to surrounding (ourselves) with … It’s not another 30-year-old building. It’s really something much more.

“It’s like taking over a monument with all the respect and constraints and formalities around it, and on the responsibility of actually adding a new layer of information into something that’s very old and has a lot of history and meaning for our civilization.”

HIGHLIGHTS

● Andres Reisinger’s most recent physical installation lies in the heart of historic Jeddah’s Al-Balad, breaking the boundary between digital and physical art.

● The building draped in pink is positioned in a textile neighborhood, bringing a unique context to the piece.

● Reisinger previously participated in a Saudi digital art exhibition ‘A Way With Light’ put on by Athr Gallery in partnership with RFC Art.

Reisinger’s “Take Over Jeddah” was unveiled at Balad Al-Fann, a cutting-edge arts and culture initiative, as part of the “Matters through Matter” exhibition curated by Jumana Ghouth in collaboration with American philosopher Graham Haman.

The immersive installation is a tribute to “the new energy coursing through both the universe and Al-Balad.” In Jeddah’s historic district, the resilience and adaptability of cultures is platformed by weaving and formulating new narratives.

This is not the first time the Argentine creative worked to accentuate Saudi landscapes. Reisinger participated in a Saudi digital art exhibition “A Way With Light” put on by Athr Gallery in partnership with RFC Art, which showcased works of local and international artists.

Andres Reisinger, Argentine artist

But now his work comes alive on-ground in one of the Kingdom’s crown jewels. The building is positioned in a textile neighborhood, bringing a unique context to the piece as the peony pink cloth poetically flutters over the historical structure in Bedouin Market.

“I’m very drawn to the contrasts in between the hard and soft surfaces and materials that create this very antagonist narrative, where they actually tell a new story by being so different and acting together to change the space,” Reisinger said.

The digital artist staged his first physical installation in December last year when he took over a building in Miami Design District. The sleek design was a representation of the city’s vibrant and modern landscape.  

Nothing that is born from love can be transformed into something different.

Andres Reisinger, Argentine artist

Since the start of his career, Reisinger’s AI-generated art has been disputed, driving discourse over the constitutions of “real” art. By utilizing social media as real-estate for new art mediums, he hopes to overthrow the boundaries of physical and digital while creating a world where they both coexist.

“It’s really interesting for me to play with social media because it’s actually the platform where many people walk through every day, like Times Square, but it’s kind of tailored. Each one can create their own interests. I think that creates a whole virtual layer on top of the physical and geographical that I find very personal,” Reisinger said.  

Having produced his digital work remotely at first, the artist connected to individuals across the globe to help illustrate what each location and project would look like using “homemade iPhone walkthroughs.”

In Jeddah’s bustling cultural hub, people from all walks of life can now experience a romantic edge to the ancient trading port as they come across the pink drapes. The work itself does not push any specific message, but is merely an insertion of an action or expression into the context of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“I think positivity is my idea of the action, and I would love for people to actually be inspired and take it very positively because that’s how I made it and gave it birth. And nothing that is born from love can be transformed into something different,” he said, noting the color is a metaphor for these emotions.

As human participation is essential for the work, some may find a pleasant surprise during their walks across the neighborhood and possibly choose to look at the world with rose-colored glasses moving forward. In a new universe of possibilities by stumbling upon the unexpected, it may unlock an open mind: “that every day can change, every day can be different.”

Under the theme “Past-Forward,” Balad Al-Fann converges with various forms of contemporary and traditional art to create a temporal blend of our past heritage and its future possibilities. The hub beams with light, sound, music, theatrical performances, exhibitions, and a number of local eateries and cafes until March 9.

 


Baha’s historic architecture echoes its heritage

Baha’s historic architecture echoes its heritage
Updated 25 February 2024
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Baha’s historic architecture echoes its heritage

Baha’s historic architecture echoes its heritage
  • Tourists and visitors are captivated by the architectural brilliance of Saudi forefathers in constructing these palaces and fortresses, admiring their skill in crafting stone edifices

RIYADH: The historical castles and fortresses that dot the landscape of Baha in southwest Saudi Arabia serve as bright reminders of the country’s great founding story.

From quaint villages to bustling settlements, each corner of the region has its own piece of history in the form of majestic castles and fortresses.

These architectural marvels serve as proud caretakers of tradition, telling stories from bygone ages and adding to the rich tapestry of Saudi civilization.

Baha’s architectural marvels serve as proud caretakers of tradition, telling stories from bygone ages and adding to the rich tapestry of Saudi civilization. (SPA)

Tourists and visitors are captivated by the architectural brilliance of Saudi forefathers in constructing these palaces and fortresses, admiring their skill in crafting stone edifices.

Among the notable landmarks is Bin Raqoush Palace, now a hub of cultural and historical significance, drawing dignitaries and visitors from far and wide.

FASTFACTS

● Among Baha’s notable landmarks is Bin Raqoush Palace, now a hub of cultural and historical significance, drawing dignitaries and visitors from far and wide.

● Efforts to revitalize have gained traction, particularly during national celebrations like Saudi Founding Day.

Similarly, the Bakhrush bin Alas Fortress in Qura governorate; the ancestral castles of Al-Osaidhan family; and the charming village of Shabraqah, north of Baha city, hold their own historical charm.

Baha’s architectural marvels serve as proud caretakers of tradition, telling stories from bygone ages and adding to the rich tapestry of Saudi civilization. (SPA)

The imposing Al-Akhawayn Fortress overlooks Al-Malad village, a monument to history amid ancient heritage homes. Meanwhile, Al-Ayed Heritage Guesthouse in Bani Kabir village and the Mishref Palace in Baljurashi add to the region’s allure, commanding views of the historic Saturday Market.

Despite the passage of time and exposure to diverse elements, these ancient fortifications stand tall, a testament to the craftsmanship of builders and their resilience.

With their distinctive conical shapes and towering heights of 20-25 meters, these structures boast intricate designs and are adorned with white marble stones, exuding a captivating aura.

Baha’s architectural marvels serve as proud caretakers of tradition, telling stories from bygone ages and adding to the rich tapestry of Saudi civilization. (SPA)

Originally built for surveillance during times of conflict, these strongholds now serve as poignant reminders of the region’s history, tucked within village courtyards or towering atop hillsides, offering a glimpse into a bygone era.

Efforts to revitalize have gained traction, particularly during national celebrations like Saudi Founding Day.

By organizing heritage events and artistic showcases, authorities aim to preserve Saudi cultural identity, encourage awareness for the country’s rich history, safeguard cultural heritage and societal norms, spotlight local talents, and improve tourist experiences at heritage sites.

With locals taking pride in their heritage and taking on their restoration as well, these sites have become magnets for visitors, photographers, and enthusiasts alike, offering opportunities to document and explore diverse aspects of Saudi heritage.

Their eagerness to capture the essence of these historical sites has led to a flurry of activity, with documentaries being produced in various fields including architecture, fashion, jewelry, culinary arts, agriculture, and weaponry.

 


Waad campaign provides more than 800,000 training opportunities for Saudis

The ministry is keen to provide more opportunities for the development and enhancement of skills for all Saudi beneficiaries.
The ministry is keen to provide more opportunities for the development and enhancement of skills for all Saudi beneficiaries.
Updated 25 February 2024
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Waad campaign provides more than 800,000 training opportunities for Saudis

The ministry is keen to provide more opportunities for the development and enhancement of skills for all Saudi beneficiaries.
  • SABIC, Saudi Telecom Company and Arab National Bank achieved more than the campaign’s targets for the next three years in the course of 2023

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development’s national training campaign Waad has achieved 74 percent of its target numbers.

The campaign aims to offer 1,155,000 training opportunities by the end of 2025, as part of the ministry’s strategy to support and train national cadres in partnership with the private sector.

The initiative provided about 863,675 training opportunities for national cadres in 2023, with the second half of the year giving some 670,000 opportunities.

SABIC, Saudi Telecom Company and Arab National Bank achieved more than the campaign’s targets for the next three years in the course of 2023.

The regional meeting series started in Arar city in the Northern Borders, allocating 35,000 training opportunities for the region.

The second meeting took place at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in the Eastern Province. This was attended by the region’s governor and the deputy minister of human resources and social development for labor, and 100,000 training opportunities were offered.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, through Waad, aims to advance the job market and achieve Saudi Vision 2030 targets by supporting, qualifying and training national cadres. It has set seven criteria for national facilities’ participation in the campaign, notably training 12 percent of Saudis annually.

The ministry is keen to provide more opportunities for the development and enhancement of skills for all Saudi beneficiaries, as part of its aim to achieve a vibrant society and a distinguished working environment.

 


Saudi Arabia launches Madak competition to inspire Arab youth in space sciences

The Madak competition aims to enhance the culture of research and innovation and inspire generations.
The Madak competition aims to enhance the culture of research and innovation and inspire generations.
Updated 25 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia launches Madak competition to inspire Arab youth in space sciences

The Madak competition aims to enhance the culture of research and innovation and inspire generations.
  • Called “Space Madak,” the competition is aimed at students in the Arab world between the ages of 6 and 18
  • Winning entries will have the opportunity to journey to the International Space Station by the fourth quarter of 2024

RIYADH: The Madak competition, which was launched on Sunday by the Saudi Space Agency, aims to enhance the culture of research and innovation and inspire generations to engage in the space sciences.

Called “Space Madak,” the competition is aimed at students in the Arab world between the ages of 6 and 18. The winning entries will have the opportunity to journey to the International Space Station by the fourth quarter of 2024.

The competition comprises three tracks: the arts track targets students aged 6 to 11, the botany track from 12 to 14, and the engineering track from 15 to 18.

Supervised by Rayana Barnawi, the first female Saudi astronaut, who conducted 14 experiments aboard the ISS, the competition is a collaboration between the Misk Foundation and the Ilmi Science Discovery & Innovation Center.

Barnawi said the competition is a “unique opportunity for students in the Arab world to participate in a journey of discovery and innovation,” and will expand the horizons of young and ambitious generations while stimulating their creativity.

The objective of the competition is to cultivate skills and abilities among students in the Arab world and motivate them to explore the wonders of space.

It aims to enhance students’ critical and analytical thinking skills through the presentation of an experiment focused on studying the impact of the microgravity environment on plant growth.

The competition also aims to boost problem-solving skills by tasking participants with designing scientific experiments within a microgravity environment.

SSA CEO Mohammed Al-Tamimi said that the competition was open to all students in the Arab world, enabling them to explore a new horizon in space science and enhance their scientific skills to help enrich the space arena with pioneering contributions.

He added that Saudi Arabia, a leader in the space field, reaffirmed its commitment to stimulating creativity and excellence in the domain, both regionally and internationally.

Registration for the competition is open until April 30 at https://ssa.gov.sa/en/initiative/?path=/initiatives-1/madak-competition/

Established in 2018, the SSA was created to bolster the Kingdom’s standing as a leading regional and international center in the field of space. Its primary objectives revolve around space science and exploration, creating new opportunities within the industry while nurturing local talent to foster growth and advancement for the benefit of the nation and humanity.


Saudi deputy minister receives Tunisian ambassador

Abdulrahman Al-Rassi holds talks with Hichem Fourati in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Abdulrahman Al-Rassi holds talks with Hichem Fourati in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Updated 25 February 2024
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Saudi deputy minister receives Tunisian ambassador

Abdulrahman Al-Rassi holds talks with Hichem Fourati in Riyadh. (Supplied)
  • The two sides discussed bilateral relations, along with the latest developments of common concern

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Minister for International Multilateral Affairs Abdulrahman Al-Rassi on Sunday received the Ambassador of Tunisia to the Kingdom Hichem Fourati, it was reported on X.

The two sides discussed bilateral relations, along with the latest developments of common concern.

Deputy Gov. of Eastern Province Prince Saud bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz in a separate meeting received the Director General of the UNESCO Regional Center for Quality and Excellence in Education Abdulrahman Al-Mudaires, who presented a report on the center’s work and projects, the Saudi Press Agency reported.