New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage

The Traditional Building Arts Exhibition showcase includes traditional painting techniques using natural pigments sourced from plants, insects and stones. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)
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The Traditional Building Arts Exhibition showcase includes traditional painting techniques using natural pigments sourced from plants, insects and stones. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)
New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage
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The Royal Institute of Traditional Art and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts announced on Saturday the graduating of the first class from the Traditional Building Arts Diploma program in historic Jeddah. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage
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Khaled Azzam, director, of the Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage
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The Royal Institute of Traditional Art and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts announced on Saturday the graduating of the first class from the Traditional Building Arts Diploma program in historic Jeddah. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage
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The Royal Institute of Traditional Art and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts announced on Saturday the graduating of the first class from the Traditional Building Arts Diploma program in historic Jeddah. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage
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The Royal Institute of Traditional Art and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts announced on Saturday the graduating of the first class from the Traditional Building Arts Diploma program in historic Jeddah. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage
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Suzan Alyahya, CEO of TRITA. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
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Updated 07 November 2023
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New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage

New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage
  • Al-Balad exhibition showcases work of first diploma holders in Traditional Building Arts & Crafts
  • Students had to demonstrate proficiency in woodwork, gypsum carving, architectural drawing, decorative painting

JEDDAH: The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts and the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts have announced the first graduates of their inaugural diploma course, aimed at producing experts that can help protect and revive Jeddah’s cultural heritage.

The diploma in Traditional Building Arts & Crafts was completed by 11 students — 10 female and one male — from diverse backgrounds. Their names were announced at a ceremony in Al-Balad, Jeddah recently.

Their work is on display at the Traditional Building Arts Exhibition in Bayt Naseef, the museum and cultural center; and highlights the inspiration they drew from the architecture of Historic Jeddah, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.




The diploma in Traditional Building Arts & Crafts was completed by 11 students. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)

Suzan Al-Yahya, CEO of the institute, said during the ceremony: “Our aim at the Royal Institute for Traditional Arts is to foster a creative and inspirational setting that nurtures and highlights the national talents within the realm of Saudi traditional arts. These arts hold a significant place in our cultural identity and heritage, and we endeavor to engage individuals in preserving them and recognizing their economic, historical, scientific and social significance.”

Khaled Azzam, director of the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, said: “The Building Arts & Crafts Diploma program in Al-Balad, delivered by the foundation in partnership with the royal institute, engages future generations with their historic heritage as a living tradition.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Traditional Building Arts Exhibition in Bayt Naseef is being held until Nov. 18.

Historic Jeddah’s architecture relies on three primary raw materials: wood, gypsum and natural pigments.

• The royal institute’s program is aimed at producing experts that can help protect and revive Jeddah’s cultural heritage.

The graduates had to demonstrate proficiency in a variety of traditional techniques, encompassing woodwork, gypsum carving, architectural drawing, nabati designs, color harmony, and decorative painting with natural pigments. They had to also participate in local heritage projects in Al-Balad, and offer perspectives on preserving tradition in modern times.

Graduate Mustafa Hassan told Arab News: “We grew up in the enchantment of the historical city, and now it’s our turn to discover the secret behind its astonishing architectural charm.




Suzan Al-Yahya, Royal Institute of Traditional Arts CEO

“I am a huge fan of Historic Jeddah and its architecture. The program has been fantastic (in) providing us with an opportunity to delve into the world and intricacies of the architectural design unique to Historic Jeddah, starting from the smallest architectural components.”

Historic Jeddah’s architecture relies on three primary raw materials: wood for a wide array of crafts and arts, gypsum for intricate sculpting and carving, and natural pigments for vibrant coloring.

Our aim at the Royal Institute for Traditional Arts is to foster a creative and inspirational setting that nurtures and highlights the national talents within the realm of Saudi traditional arts.

Suzan Al-Yahya, Royal Institute of Traditional Arts CEO

“Our education delved deep into the intricacies of Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage. We meticulously studied, designed, and executed every facet of it, guided by our esteemed professors, who took great care to ensure the precision of the conveyed knowledge,” added Hassan.

One of the standout exhibits is a meticulously handcrafted wooden door created by several students. This showcases the art of “Tashiq” which includes woodwork, bone inlay, and brass work. “The endeavor was a month-and-a-half-long project that speaks to our dedication and craftsmanship,” Hassan explained.




The Traditional Building Arts Exhibition showcase includes traditional painting techniques using natural pigments sourced from plants, insects and stones. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)

Another graduate Hanan Bucklain, an architect, said: “During these two years at the royal institute, our horizons expanded as we discovered new crafts we were previously unaware of and acquired remarkable skills.

“Before embarking on the grand projects we have showcased, we learned to apply every existing craft by visiting the actual historical site through field trips. These excursions allowed us to witness the precision of execution in detail, and from there, we proceeded with drawing and application.”

The qualification equips designers and craftspeople with the knowledge and professional skills needed to deliver high-quality traditional work relevant to contemporary life.




The Traditional Building Arts Exhibition showcase includes traditional painting techniques using natural pigments sourced from plants, insects and stones. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)

Another highlight of the exhibition is the creation of a “Roshan” wooden architectural feature crafted by the students. It serves to filter light and air, and can be used to maintain privacy.

Students also showcased an intricate form of wood-carved screens, known as “Mangour,” that can be used to replace walls.

The exhibition also features traditional painting techniques using natural pigments sourced from plants, insects and stones.

The exhibition is open to the public until Nov. 18.

For more information about the royal institute’s courses, visit trita.edu.sa.

 


Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future

Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future
Updated 25 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future

Saudi Arabia to launch Environmental Compliance Forum to chart more sustainable future
  • Local, regional and global specialists and decision-makers to feature in 2-day gathering in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will launch the first Environmental Compliance Forum 2024 on Sunday.

The Riyadh forum, which is being organized by the National Center for Environmental Compliance, will feature local, regional and global specialists and decision-makers in the field of the environment, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

The two-day gathering will seek to develop a comprehensive vision for the advancement of the environmental sector between the governmental, private and nonprofit sectors.

Saad Al-Matrafi, the center’s spokesman, said that more than 40 international and regional figures from 10 countries will discuss topics related to future trends in the field of the sustainable environment.

He said that the forum will offer a platform for discussing best practices in the field of the environment, in addition to supporting environmental research, innovations and technologies, with one section designated the Sustainability Cafe.

Al-Matrafi said that the event offers a rare opportunity for institutions and companies to review their projects, initiatives and tools that support environmental sustainability, and come up with the best global environmental practices by harmonizing plans and projects that contribute to the successful implementation of everything that serves the sustainable environment sector.

The forum’s sessions will discuss the challenges in advancing economic growth and diversification, in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, as well as unifying efforts to achieve a qualitative shift in the national economy while protecting and preserving the Kingdom’s natural resources and habitats.

The forum will also deal with other topics, including how to chart the way to a brighter future, policy and governance, technology and innovation in the field of the environment, sustainable development and quality of life, private sector participation, community participation, and youth and the environment.

Meanwhile, the Sustainability Cafe will encourage young people to discuss their aspirations and roles regarding the environment, with the participation of several specialized environmental associations.

Participants will include several CEOs of national environmental centers, and major national companies such as NEOM, Red Sea Global, the New Square Development Company, and the Saudi Mining Company.


Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone

Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone
Updated 24 February 2024
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Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone

Saudi civil aviation delegation visits Chinese aircraft manufacturing company, economic zone
  • The visit came within the framework of enhancing cooperation and exchanging expertise in the field of the aviation and space industry
  • The representatives toured COMAC’s factories and facilities and were briefed on the stages of aircraft manufacturing

RIYADH: A high-ranking delegation from Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation sector has visited the headquarters of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China in Shanghai, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Headed by the President of the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Duailej, the delegation also visited the assembly line of the C-919 and ARJ-21 aircraft in Shanghai and the economic zone at Zhengzhou Airport.

The representatives toured COMAC’s factories and facilities and were briefed on the stages of aircraft manufacturing, the company’s future plans for testing and assembly facilities, and the latest technologies and innovations in the aviation industry.

They listened to a presentation of COMAC’s missions and the details of designing and developing the various aircraft produced by the company, in addition to a look at the organization’s history since 2008, the development of its products, the ongoing specialized research on more efficient and sustainable solutions, and its tasks and responsibilities in the design, development and production of commercial aircraft.

The delegation also visited the economic zone at Zhengzhou Airport and heard about the work of specialized companies and institutions; the development of local manufacturing capabilities; enhancing cooperation with foreign companies to improve the quality of products; increasing competition at global level; and contributing to improving the quality of products and developing advanced technology.

Al-Duailej, in the presence of vice presidents, CEOs, officials, and several experts in the field of aviation, airports, and the service sectors of the aviation system, held a meeting with the Executive Vice Gov. of Henan Province Sun Shougang.

The meeting focused on several issues of common interest and ways to strengthen areas of joint cooperation in the field of civil aviation.

The visit came within the framework of enhancing cooperation and exchanging expertise in the field of the aviation and space industry, and exploring opportunities for joint cooperation in improving manufacturing, innovation and air cargo capabilities, along with attracting investment and enhancing international trade in the sector.


Najdi Ardah — a testament to vibrant Saudi history

The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)
The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)
Updated 24 February 2024
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Najdi Ardah — a testament to vibrant Saudi history

The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)
  • Saleh Nasser Al-Abdulwahed, leader of the Saudi Ardah group, told Arab News that the Najdi ardah “stands as a testament to Saudi history”

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia is home to a rich tapestry of folkloric arts, each with its own distinct features, but all with the same purpose: to express the Kingdom’s history, culture, and heroism.

Over time, these artistic traditions have become essential components of a variety of events and holidays. They predominantly take the form of ardah — group war dances which were originally intended to terrify enemies by showcasing the performers’ military prowess and the power and courage rooted in their past.

Of the many types of ardah, the most popular style in the Kingdom is the Najdi ardah, also known as the Saudi ardah.

The most popular Ardah style in the Kingdom is the Najdi Ardah. (Supplied)

Saleh Nasser Al-Abdulwahed, leader of the Saudi Ardah group, told Arab News that the Najdi ardah “stands as a testament to Saudi history.”

The Najdi Ardah begins with the recital of a poem, after which the drummers begin, establishing the rhythm for the dancers to follow. The group leader then takes the stage, wielding a blade and demonstrating well-practiced movements that match those of warriors in battle. He expertly maneuvers the sword, occasionally laying it on his shoulder, lifting it high, or holding it on its side. He also uses precise finger movements to move the blade in a circular motion, demonstrating his expertise.

Usually, the dancers will be dressed in their finest military outfits.

FASTFACT

The Najdi Ardah begins with the recital of a poem, after which the drummers begin, establishing the rhythm for the dancers to follow.

“Ardah performers don Al-Murawden military uniform, featuring long sleeves. They complement it with Al-Zaboun, a finely crafted wooden cashmere fabric adorned with a cashmere shawl, meticulously made by hand, resembling the ‘dagla’ gown,” Al-Abdulwahed explained. “Additionally, the performers may opt for Al-Saya, a tailored white summer fabric, or the Jokha, which is usually reserved for dignitaries such as kings, princes, and knights.”

He noted that warriors typically choose red clothing, though the shades could vary from a bright, blood-like tone to a more muted burgundy.

The performers will also typically be heavily armed, wearing a dagger, a gun holster, a bullet holder known as mujannad, and a sword. When wearing the uniform, the participant positions his pistol holster to the left and mujannad to the right. Various types of sword are used, each with its own sheath.

The Najdi ardah is a cultural touchstone for many Saudi nationals, and remains widely practiced today, not only in the central part of the Kingdom, but all over the country. It is frequently showcased at weddings. Its involvement in such ceremonies creates a sense of joy and delight, enthralling both older and younger generations.

Folk arts in other regions

The Hejaz region is one of the Kingdom’s most diverse in terms of folk arts. It is renowned for the Majrour art form, characterized by two facing rows of performers wearing tied and belted headbands. Each individual holds a daf in hand, contributing to the performance with special tunes and melodies.

The Yanbawi tarab is a form of collective musical expression, featuring the use of a stringed instrument called a simsimiyya, which is closely tied to maritime culture.

In Taif, the ardah Al-Zir takes center stage during special occasions and holidays. This dance involves the use of swords, guns, and daggers, and is a significant element of cultural festivities.

In the northern region, the traditional arts of Al-Samari and Al-Dahha come to life with two opposing rows of performers creating harmonious rhythms, playing melodies such as Al-Mashoub, Al-Zubai, and Al-Hajini.

 


Guests of Riyadh forum visit marvels of AlUla

Guests of Riyadh forum visit marvels of AlUla
Updated 24 February 2024
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Guests of Riyadh forum visit marvels of AlUla

Guests of Riyadh forum visit marvels of AlUla
  • The guests were taken on a tour of several archaeological sites
  • The forum organized the visit in partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla

RIYADH: Guests at the Saudi Media Forum had the opportunity to visit AlUla Governorate over the weekend on a fascinating journey through time.
The guests were taken on a tour of several archaeological sites, including the city of Al-Hijr, the first Saudi site to be included in the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s list of World Heritage Sites.
They listened to an introductory explanation of the sites and saw each monument’s impressive and intricate details.
The forum organized the visit in partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla and the Saudi Broadcasting Authority.
Its purpose was to give guests a unique opportunity to discover the Kingdom’s landmarks. They learned about the area’s history and the various civilizations that left their mark on the region.
The beauty and cultural significance of AlUla have made it a focal point for visitors from around the world.
The third edition of the Saudi Media Forum convened last week to address the evolving landscape of global media. Against the backdrop of rapidly changing trends and challenges, participants delved into discussions surrounding innovative media management strategies and the pursuit of sustainable approaches in the sector.
The forum’s agenda included dialogues on re-evaluating media flow sources and harnessing innovative solutions to meet evolving audience expectations.
Amid accelerated efforts in media modernization and incentives, AlUla has emerged as a pivotal partner in fostering productive cooperation and knowledge-sharing within the media sector.


Resilient plant inspires Saudi artist’s Jeddah exhibition

Resilient plant inspires Saudi artist’s Jeddah exhibition
Updated 24 February 2024
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Resilient plant inspires Saudi artist’s Jeddah exhibition

Resilient plant inspires Saudi artist’s Jeddah exhibition
  • Sara Al-Abdali explores life, death and transformation in her solo show at Hafez Gallery
  • The exhibition explores her personal experiences of loss, drawing inspiration from the plant as a symbol of renewal

JEDDAH: Contemporary Saudi artist Sara Al-Abdali is presenting her second solo exhibition, “Growing Vines of Sodom,” at Hafez Gallery in Jeddah, marking a significant milestone in her artistic career.
In her second solo show, Al-Abdali delves into the intricate relationship between life and death, skilfully using artistic juxtaposition as a medium to explore this profound interplay. The collection showcases a series of paintings and multidisciplinary artworks that prompt viewers to reflect on the delicate balance between existence and departure.
Speaking to Arab News about the inspiration behind her works, Al-Abdali said: “The main inspiration was driven from a personal encounter with a plant that suddenly grew in front of my house, symbolizing resilience and life. The Apple of Sodom plant became a powerful symbol for loss and rebirth, encapsulating the transformative journey I wanted to convey.”
Al-Abdali’s choice to focus on the plant and incorporate motifs like the moth, symbolic of death and transformation, reflects her deep exploration of life’s complexities.
“The exhibition works around metaphors and symbolism surrounding life, death, and transformation, with mediums like hand-prepared pigments emphasizing the theme of new life emerging from death,” she said.
The exhibition explores her personal experiences of loss, drawing inspiration from the plant as a symbol of renewal. Transitioning into a deeply introspective body of work, the collection centers on her three-year exploration of self-portraiture, capturing emotions of loss and despair following her father’s battle with cancer.
Reflecting on her hopes for the audience, she added: “I hope viewers will see the raw and daring nature of my work, delving into themes of mourning and loss often overlooked in society. By normalizing discussions around pain and suffering, I aim to provide a space for contemplation on both life and death.”
Regarding her artistic evolution since her first solo exhibition, Al-Abdali discussed the shift from traditional techniques to experimental approaches in “Growing Vines of Sodom”: “I challenged myself to break from tradition, experimenting with scale and medium, such as charcoal and oil, alongside gouache paintings. This departure from traditional techniques allowed me to delve deeper into personal concepts and work on a larger scale, symbolizing growth and rebirth.”
Her unique perspective continues to shape her creative vision, pushing boundaries and exploring new artistic territories, while staying true to her personal truths as a painter.
“Looking ahead, I am excited for future projects, aiming to expand on the themes explored in my current exhibition. I envision my work evolving into series and larger works, emphasizing the power of painting as a medium of artistic expression,” she said.
Contemplating on art as a full-time career, the Saudi artist added: “Despite the challenges of pursuing art as a full-time career, I remain dedicated to my craft, finding motivation in building a supportive community of fellow painters and maintaining a dedicated studio space. Perseverance and trust in the artistic process are key, and I find the journey of overcoming challenges and painting my truth to be truly rewarding.”
Qaswra Hafez, founder of Hafez Gallery, said: “We’re very happy to host Sara’s second solo. Sara is an exceptional visual instigator and no one captures the soul of this region of Saudi quite like she does.”
The exhibition is open to visitors until the end of Ramadan.