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.”

 


Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation
Updated 8 sec ago
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Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with the prime minister of Iraq on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

During their phone call, Prince Mohammed and Mohammed Al-Sudani discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.

They also dissussed the importance of making the necessary efforts to prevent the situation from worsening and ways to spare the region from the risks of escalation, SPA added.


Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 min 46 sec ago
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Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday.

During the call, the officials discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.


Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Updated 39 min 4 sec ago
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Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in the Middle East on Sunday with his US counterpart during a phone call.

The call comes after Iran launched a wave of missiles and attack drones against Israel overnight Saturday to Sunday.

Prince Khalid and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also discussed efforts to contain the crisis while upholding international peace and security.

The officials also reviewed their strategic defense partnership and explored ways to further enhance it, the Kingdom’s defense minister said in a post on X. 


Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
Updated 48 min 59 sec ago
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Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
  • Ali Alhammadi has been passionate about visual arts since childhood

JEDDAH: Ali Alhammadi, a Saudi 32-year-old visual artist from Aldawadmi in Riyadh, has carved out a remarkable pathway in the world of art since his professional debut in 2017.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the “Saudi renaissance” in line with Vision 2030, prompting him to embark on a creative expedition to express his perceptions through the canvas.

Alhammadi told Arab News that his art philosophy is about breaking invisible limitations and transcending comfort zones, drawing inspiration from the evergreen landscapes he encountered during camping trips with his father in the Riyadh desert.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

“During every spring season, me and my father used to go camping in the outskirts of Riyadh, when the desert turns green for a couple of months, where all the magical inspiration happens.”

Through his landscapes and abstract pieces, Alhammadi delves into his feelings, insecurities and aspirations, painting a narrative that speaks volumes.

“I use my art to express both happiness and sadness, and sometimes I start a painting with an idea in mind, but then I end up with a new one,” he said.

Ali Alhammadi, Saudi artist

One of Alhammadi’s pioneering techniques, “Invisible Limitations,” challenges traditional conceptions and societal norms, symbolizing the potential within, and beyond self-imposed boundaries. He said that his work reflects a realization that limitations are merely illusions.

“Our comfort zone sometimes restricts our ability to be inspired and inspire others. That’s why I decided to paint the Invisible Limitations theme.

“As I matured, I realized that most of these limitations don’t exist ... our limitation is the sky.”

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

Alhammadi’s artistic evolution has been influenced by his participation in prestigious exhibitions such as The Stars Exhibition at the German Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the second Riyadh Season Exhibition.

These platforms not only showcased his talent but also provided a catalyst for his creative development, empowering him to delve deeper into his cultural roots while embracing global influences.

Navigating between diverse cultural landscapes, Alhammadi, based between Liverpool and Riyadh, seamlessly fuses vibrant hues and styles, blending Saudi heritage and international artistic trends.

His experiences abroad have expanded his artistic horizons, inspiring him to create artworks that resonate with a global audience while retaining a distinctive Saudi essence. “Now that I have found my theme and art style, I believe that this phase will take me to different phases in my professional art career,” he said.

Looking toward the future, Alhammadi envisions his artwork evolving to explore the intricacies of human and cultural relationships, going deeper into themes that resonate with universal emotions and experiences. “Human and cultural relationships is something I’m keen on expressing through art,” he said.

His participation in international and local events such as the Founding Day in Liverpool and the National Day in London has not only spotlighted his talent but also enriched his artistic narrative with a tapestry of diverse influences.

For aspiring visual artists embarking on their creative odyssey, Alhammadi offers this advice: “Stay true to your vision, embrace your unique style, and let your art tell your story.”

 


Saudi authorities crack down on drug offenders in Jazan

Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
Updated 59 min 27 sec ago
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Saudi authorities crack down on drug offenders in Jazan

Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
  • Authorities apprehended a citizen with 71 kg of hashish hidden in a vehicle in Al-Dayer governorate

RIYADH: Saudi authorities recently made several drug-related arrests and confiscations in operations in the Jazan region, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

In the Al-Dayer governorate of Jazan, Border Guards thwarted an attempt to smuggle 175 kg of narcotic qat.

The guards also apprehended three Yemeni nationals attempting to smuggle 60 kg of qat in Jazan.

In another incident, land patrols in the Jazan region arrested a citizen for selling qat plants hidden in his vehicle.

Authorities also apprehended a citizen with 71 kg of hashish hidden in a vehicle in Al-Dayer governorate.

Border Guards patrols in the Al-Arda governorate in the Jazan region intercepted the smuggling of 160 kg of qat.

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