Saudi Arabia’s RCU strengthens partnership on cross-cultural exchange with France’s Centre Pompidou

Royal Commission for AlUla, France’s Center Pompidou sign cultural cooperation agreement. (Supplied)
Royal Commission for AlUla, France’s Center Pompidou sign cultural cooperation agreement. (Supplied)
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Updated 28 November 2023
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Saudi Arabia’s RCU strengthens partnership on cross-cultural exchange with France’s Centre Pompidou

Royal Commission for AlUla, France’s Center Pompidou sign cultural cooperation agreement. (Supplied)
  • Centre Pompidou to expand in Saudi Arabia, open new art museum in Al-Ula Cultural Complex

RIYADH: The Royal Commission for AlUla signed an agreement with the Paris-based Centre Pompidou to formalize, strengthen, and expand collaboration and knowledge sharing ahead of the establishment of a new contemporary art museum in AlUla in 2027.

Officially signed in Paris on Monday, the new executive program agreement builds on the long-time cultural partners’ shared principles of reciprocity and skills transfer and creates a strategic roadmap toward a more expansive and mutually beneficial working relationship in sectors related to the promotion and conservation of art, culture, science, and heritage, said the RCU in a statement on Tuesday.

The agreement builds on a memorandum of understanding signed between the RCU and Centre Pompidou in March to develop a world-class contemporary art museum in AlUla, with defined multi-year phases leading up to its public opening in 2027.

RCU has made significant progress in its plans to establish the new museum, including the announcement of Lina Gotmeh as architect tasked with creating a new cultural destination for the ancient Arab oasis city and the wider region in the northwest of Saudi Arabia.

Chosen for her track record of high-quality designs that merge outstanding levels of creativity with sustainability, most notably demonstrated in her acclaimed 2023 Serpentine Pavilion in London, the new museum will reflect Gotmeh’s responsible, considered, and conscious vision of a modern art landmark inspired by AlUla.

Carbon-efficient and merging sensitively into AlUla’s oasis, the museum will set new standards in sustainable design, showcasing how architecture can be a catalyst for urban regeneration and environmental renewal while offering opportunities for engagement with the community through a calendar of workshops, school programs, and more.

A hub for cultural and artistic expression, the museum will create a platform for critical thinking in contemporary art by offering a regional and international collection that highlights the artists’ overall production and unique research.

The museum is building its legacy through various initiatives, including art residencies, exhibitions, commissions, and publications.

The residencies have facilitated artistic production from artists such as Daniah Saleh (Saudi Arabia), Muhannad Shono (Saudi Arabia), and Sabine Mirlesse (France/US), while the landscape program commissions work from artists like Manal Al-Dowayan (Saudi Arabia), Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim (UAE), Superflex (Denmark), and Serge Attukwei Clottey (Ghana), among others.

The signing of the new executive program agreement is an opportunity to fine-tune and enhance the existing ecosystem of successful partnerships and cross-cultural cooperation between RCU and Centre Pompidou.

With a defined artistic and curatorial strategy, the program allows for the ongoing exchange, acquisition, loan, and display of artwork and artifacts between RCU and Centre Pompidou, as well as the promotion of various scientific and cultural initiatives based around the sharing of unique items from each partner’s collection.

Centre Pompidou’s experience and expertise in creating a comprehensive strategy to attract international visitors will support RCU’s goal of transforming AlUla into the world’s largest living museum and a global hub for cultural and heritage tourism.

Nora Al-Dabal, arts and creative planning director at the RCU, said: “The signing of the executive program agreement marks a new phase in our mutually beneficial partnership that is helping to define successful cross-cultural collaborations between AlUla and our colleagues at one of France’s leading institutions.

“By establishing a clear roadmap of growth that covers key areas of cooperation in diverse sectors related to culture, heritage, and art, this partnership will allow for the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and new ideas. It will give colleagues from Paris and AlUla the chance to work closely in important fields related to museology and to contribute to the development of AlUla’s new contemporary art museum. Both sides of this partnership have a great deal to offer and … learn from the other. I look forward to deepening RCU’s relationship with Centre Pompidou.”

 


Tunisian president receives Saudi health minister

Tunisian President Kais Saied meets with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel in Tunis on Wednesday. (SPA)
Tunisian President Kais Saied meets with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel in Tunis on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Tunisian president receives Saudi health minister

Tunisian President Kais Saied meets with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel in Tunis on Wednesday. (SPA)
  • During the meeting, officials discussed cooperation relations between the Kingdom and Tunisia, and ways to support and develop them in the health sector

RIYADH: Tunisian President Kais Saied met with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel in Tunis on Wednesday, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

During the meeting, they discussed cooperation relations between the Kingdom and Tunisia, and ways to support and develop them in the health sector. 

Al-Jalajel stressed the Kingdom’s keenness to enhance health cooperation between the two countries.

Saied highlighted and expressed appreciation for the pivotal role that the Kingdom plays in the Arab and Islamic world.


Saudi deputy minister meets Organization of African, Caribbean, & Pacific States chief

Saudi deputy minister meets Organization of African, Caribbean, & Pacific States chief
Updated 34 min 26 sec ago
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Saudi deputy minister meets Organization of African, Caribbean, & Pacific States chief

Saudi deputy minister meets Organization of African, Caribbean, & Pacific States chief

Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed Elkhereiji on Wednesday received Secretary-General of the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States Georges Chikoti, in Riyadh.

During the meeting, they discussed issues of mutual concern and ways to further boost cooperation between the Kingdom and member countries of the OACPS.

In a separate meeting, Saudi Deputy Minister for Consular Affairs Ambassador Ali Al-Yousef held talks with the Mexican envoy to Saudi Arabia, Anibal Gomez Toledo, and reviewed relations between the two nations.
 


Aloula’s bazaar unites Jeddah for a charitable cause

Aloula’s bazaar unites Jeddah for a charitable cause
Updated 51 min ago
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Aloula’s bazaar unites Jeddah for a charitable cause

Aloula’s bazaar unites Jeddah for a charitable cause
  • Visitors explored a range of offerings, including Ramadan item shops, a Saudi coffee corner, a dining area and shopping booths containing unique goods from different cultures

JEDDAH: The Women’s Charitable Society in Jeddah, known as Aloula, held its eighth annual charitable event on Feb. 27, celebrating tea and coffee cultures from around the world.

The event, titled “A Cup for a Good Cause,” brought Jeddah residents from a variety of countries together to take part in fundraising activities supporting underprivileged families.

The bazaar, a central feature of the event, featured six zones with more than 100 local participants and representatives from countries such as India, South Africa, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen and Egypt.

Visitors explored a range of offerings, including Ramadan item shops, a Saudi coffee corner, a dining area and shopping booths containing unique goods from different cultures.

The event also showcased a variety of performing arts from around the world. 

Visitors were treated to folklore shows from Indonesia, Colombia, Kazakhstan and India, as well as performances of Saudi Ardah, Egyptian folklore and Saudi folklore. Acclaimed artist Abdallah Rashad held a musical performance, adding to the cultural tapestry of the event.

Dania Al-Maeena, Aloula CEO, expressed her gratitude for the support of Jeddah residents, as well as local and international brands.

In comments to Arab News, she highlighted the importance of community collaboration in achieving Aloula’s mission of supporting underprivileged families in Jeddah. 

Founded in 1964, the nonprofit, which supports thousands of people, focuses on the holistic development of children’s intellectual and physical skills to help them realize their full potential.

Ahmed Al-Safahi, director of the community development department at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, said he was “proud and delighted by Aloula’s efforts and dedication for this charity event.”

During the opening day of the event, sponsors including Haji Hussein Ali Reza, Arabian Tires, Aqua Power, Best Events, 3 Arts Entertainment and Success Makers were honored for their contributions.


US singer China Moses wows Riyadh audience with jazz fusion

US singer China Moses wows Riyadh audience with jazz fusion
Updated 28 February 2024
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US singer China Moses wows Riyadh audience with jazz fusion

US singer China Moses wows Riyadh audience with jazz fusion
  • Moses’ music tackles many subjects including life, love, social encounters, pain, loneliness, and even modern societal issues such as mass shootings

RIYADH: US singer China Moses wowed the audience when she took to the stage in Riyadh.

The musician’s performance was the third of cultural and creative hub Fenaa Alawwal’s Safar Nights concert series.

She was joined by band members Jerome Cornelis on guitar, bassist and musical director Lawrence Insula, Tom Lartigue on keyboards, and Ebow “Lox” Mensah on drums.

After the show Moses told Arab News: “The crowd was lovely and so warm and welcoming. You just never know how the music is going to connect, and I really felt at the end that it was a choir — we were a family at the end.

“That makes me very happy. I’m overjoyed actually right now,” she added.

The 46-year-old songstress captivated the Riyadh crowd with her vocals, original compositions, and heartfelt moments.

Raised in France, she sang several of her most popular tracks including “Etre la-bas” and had fans grooving to improvised tunes such as one she described as having a barbecue tempo.

Introducing “Disconnected,” she told the audience: “This song is about getting together just like we are and just feeling the vibe, just feeling alright. So, if your feet are moving, and if your head is grooving, then that means we’re doing our job.

“We want to take a moment to celebrate our roots. With this song we’re going to celebrate Tina Turner and Al Green,” she said, before performing a cover of “Let’s Stay Together.” 

The 46-year-old songstress captivated the Riyadh crowd with her vocals, original compositions, and heartfelt moments in Riyadh on Tuesday. (Supplied)

She also paid tribute to other Black musicians with renditions of Chaka Khan’s “I Feel for You,” written by Prince, and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston.

Moses’ music tackles many subjects including life, love, social encounters, pain, loneliness, and even modern societal issues such as mass shootings.

Quoting the late American singer Nina Simone, she said: “It is an artist’s duty to reflect the times.” She then sang “Sirens,” a song that she noted helped to purge the feelings of disbelief and pain after the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, and the Colorado Springs’ Club Q bar shootings in 2022.

A storyteller by nature, she uses her voice to platform both tribulations and celebrations of the African American experience.

The daughter of American jazz singer and actress Dee Dee Bridgewater, Moses blends several genres into her repertoire including blues, rhythm and blues, soul, and funk.

“There are so many different kinds of jazz, and so many different layers. Some of the stuff I did tonight was not planned. It’s a music of freedom. It is the music of my Black American heritage but, more importantly, a music that was a gift from such a horrible period in humanity,” Moses added. 

The 46-year-old songstress captivated the Riyadh crowd with her vocals, original compositions, and heartfelt moments in Riyadh on Tuesday. (Supplied)

She pointed out that she always aimed to send her audiences home with joy and hope in their hearts.

Jazz emerged in New Orleans, influenced by spirituals and the slave experience of the African Americans in the US, the sounds of which were also rooted in ragtime and blues incorporating improvisation and syncopated rhythms. It led to various subgenres such as bebop, cool jazz, and fusion.

Moses said: “Who separated the jazz and the blues? Because that’s the same people who made both, and all those people would go to church. And if you don’t explain it that way, you don’t understand Black American society.

“You can’t understand why Black American church is so important. You can’t understand why jazz can sound so warm and round and rugged and raw, like the blues. And you don’t understand why the blue sounds so simple.”

Saudi Arabia has recently hosted top artists including R and B and soul singer Alicia Keys, rapper Lauryn Hill in AlUla during Saudi Founding Day celebrations, and queen of funk Chaka Khan (a close friend of Moses’ mother) who performed at Riyadh’s first International Jazz Festival earlier this month.

“I’ve played in a lot of places in the world I never thought I would play because I do Black American music. I think that that’s a testament to the power and universality of it.

“Alicia Keys is a universal person. We have the same message, we just express it in different ways because we’re different people,” Moses added.

Starting her career at the age of 16, Moses said she had never imagined performing around the world, hosting two radio shows, and becoming a co-founder and artistic director to both the Tahiti Soul Jazz festival, and Paris Soul Fest.

On her advice to the rising talents on the Saudi music scene, Moses said: “Be yourself, and don’t be afraid to explain. The music is enough, of course. But don’t be afraid to talk to the audience.

“Whether you choose to express yourself through spoken word, sung word, or no words with your voice, you’re communicating. For me, the most important thing is to do the best with what you have. There’s beauty in all of us,” she added.


Jewellery Salon showcases timeless treasures in Jeddah

Jewellery Salon is now in Jeddah, featuring striking ornaments from more than 30 brands under one roof.
Jewellery Salon is now in Jeddah, featuring striking ornaments from more than 30 brands under one roof.
Updated 28 February 2024
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Jewellery Salon showcases timeless treasures in Jeddah

Jewellery Salon is now in Jeddah, featuring striking ornaments from more than 30 brands under one roof.
  • “The people of Jeddah truly value exquisite jewelry, and this year there is a noticeable emphasis on uniqueness and healthy competition among jewelers”: Al-Sunaidi

JEDDAH: After its successful run in Riyadh, Jewellery Salon is now in Jeddah, featuring striking ornaments from more than 30 international and local jewelry brands under one roof.

Many of the jewelers revealed their newest collections at the event.

Haya Al-Sunaidi, managing director of Sunaidi Expo in Saudi Arabia and the force behind Jewellery Salon, said: “The people of Jeddah truly value exquisite jewelry, and this year there is a noticeable emphasis on uniqueness and healthy competition among jewelers. They are presenting breathtaking pieces at highly competitive prices.”

Al-Sunaidi said that the exhibition aimed to highlight the jewelry industry, both locally and internationally, throughout the Kingdom, in support of Vision 2030. “Women (in Saudi Arabia) have a profound love for jewelry,” she said. “We aim to showcase the finest jewelry from around the world to the ladies in Saudi Arabia. We bring them the epitome of luxury and fine jewelry. Post the Vision, companies in this industry find it easier to access Saudi Arabia and establish a presence.”

Haya Al-Sunaidi, managing director of Sunaidi Expo in Saudi Arabia. (AN photo)

The Jewellery Salon was staged in Riyadh from Feb. 20 to 23.

Ferial Martinos, the show manager, said: “We had never experienced such elegant shows in Saudi Arabia before, but with time and evolution, we have reached where we are today. The last show before the pandemic was in 2019, and then in 2021 we hosted it again in collaboration with some companies … behind this remarkable show, there is an amazing team.

“This exhibition is for those who have a passion for jewelry, and the visitors not only purchase jewelry to wear but also view it as an investment,” Martinos said.

Kartavya Jain, owner of KK Jewels, is participating for the second time in the Jewellery Salon, emphasizing the strong connection to Saudi Arabia and the specialty in diamonds, solitaires, bridal jewelry and natural-colored gemstones such as emeralds, sapphires and rubies.

“Our designs, appreciated by clients in India, resonate well with our Saudi clientele due to their cultural relevance,” Jain said.

KK Jewels, a family business since 1951, was known for artistry, innovative designs and commitment to maintaining its legacy across generations, Jain said, and their collections blend traditional and modern styles, offering superior quality, pricing and service.

Moussaieff Jewellers unveiled a collection where each piece showcased craftsmanship and timeless beauty, Leslie Kegg, their marketing executive, said. “Our booth provides visitors with unmatched sophistication and artistry, guaranteeing they find the most exquisite designs and styles.”

Chiara, from the marketing department of Ferri Firenze, said: “Each collection draws inspiration from the beauty of nature, particularly from the garden of our villa, where we reimagine natural shapes into stunning pieces. With a commitment to launching new collections at least three times a year, we ensure that our designs remain fresh and dynamic, embodying the essence of Italian elegance.”

Chiara said: “Our Saudi customers are drawn to our unique pieces that stand out from the crowd, seeking distinctive shapes and a preference for diamonds. They particularly gravitate toward long pendants for Ramadan and chic chokers that exude sophistication.”

Ferri Firenze is set to draw visitors in Jeddah with their latest collections, Chiara said. The Ninfea and Elica collections, inspired by nature and architectural marvels, would be showcased at the exhibition, offering a fusion of Italian elegance and contemporary innovation. Visitors could expect a celebration of age-old traditions blended with modern allure, reflecting Italy’s rich artisanal heritage, Chiara said.

The exhibition also features a jewelry catwalk show that showcases the best pieces.

Hatoon Alkhaldi, marketing manager at Jewellery Salon, said: “This event is a dazzling showcase of creativity and elegance, bringing together the most exquisite designs from talented artisans. It is a must-visit event for all jewelry enthusiasts seeking beauty and inspiration.”

Jana, a visitor to the exhibition for the first time, said: “Every piece exuded a sense of timeless beauty and sophistication that resonated with my love for luxurious jewelry. The craftsmanship and attention to detail were simply breathtaking, making it a truly unforgettable experience.”

The show will be held at Hilton Hall until March 1, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.