Heritage, landscape inspires artist at Saudi Feast Food Festival

Heritage, landscape inspires artist at Saudi Feast Food Festival
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Her multifunctional stands are created in a variety of designs bursting with color and serve many uses. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Heritage, landscape inspires artist at Saudi Feast Food Festival
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Hosawi sells designed planters, hand-poured candles, and multi-functional stands at her booth the Saudi Food Feast Festival, set to run till December 9. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Heritage, landscape inspires artist at Saudi Feast Food Festival
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Hosawi sells designed planters, hand-poured candles, and multi-functional stands at her booth the Saudi Food Feast Festival, set to run till December 9. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Heritage, landscape inspires artist at Saudi Feast Food Festival
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Using decoupage, a creative technique to embellish objects such as wood, glass, and metal. Hosawi designs planters and pairs them with an eco-friendly farmable pencils. (Walaa Hosawi)
Heritage, landscape inspires artist at Saudi Feast Food Festival
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Hosawi sells designed planters, hand-poured candles, and multi-functional stands at her booth the Saudi Food Feast Festival, set to run till December 9. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Heritage, landscape inspires artist at Saudi Feast Food Festival
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Using decoupage, a creative technique to embellish objects such as wood, glass, and metal. Hosawi designs planters and pairs them with an eco-friendly farmable pencils. (Walaa Hosawi)
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Updated 05 December 2023
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Heritage, landscape inspires artist at Saudi Feast Food Festival

Heritage, landscape inspires artist at Saudi Feast Food Festival
  • Walaa Hosawi will be selling planters, hand-poured candles and more at her booth at the Saudi Feast Food Festival, which runs until Dec. 9
  • Walaa Hosawi: The idea is whenever you purchase anything from my work, you could use it for more than one purpose

RIYADH: Saudi heritage and tradition are the inspirations behind artist Walaa Hosawi’s handcrafted decoupage art.

Hosawi will be selling planters, hand-poured candles and more at her booth at the Saudi Feast Food Festival, which runs until Dec. 9.

“I incorporate Najdi designs and textiles into my work,” Hosawi told Arab News. “The culture of our country has greatly influenced my work. It made me delve deeper into the cultures of the region and try to convey them in the form of a masterpiece. (My work) combines the authenticity of our culture, the beauty of its colors and geometric shapes, and the art of decoupage.”

After using the technique — which embellishes materials such as wood, glass and metal — to design planters, Hosawi pairs them with eco-friendly farmable pencils.

“I thought of this product for recycling, agriculture and to be environmentally friendly. After you finish using the pencil, take the upper part and plant it in the soil.” The pencils come in several varieties including parsley, basil and chili pepper.

Hosawi hand-pours her boat candles with a special personalized mixture of wax and scents, and then decorates them.

Speaking about the inspiration she finds in the Saudi landscape, she added: “I find myself greatly stimulated by nature and contemplating the landscapes of our country. This inspired me a lot and helped me produce artistic pieces.”

Hosawi also creates colorful multi-functional stands that can be used in different ways, such as a room centerpiece or perfume stand. She said: “The idea is whenever you purchase anything from my work, you could use it for more than one purpose.”

Hosawi said creating art gave her a sense of escape and tranquility: “I consider art a means that helps with health and psychological stability. Art is an outlet; it helps one find peace, calm and a sense of comfort, and that is why it is important for art to have a place in our society.”

A university course sparked Hosawi’s imagination, though she had been interested in art for some time. This also led her to explore various different media.

“I started designing fashion due to my studies in the college of textiles and sewing,” she said. “Then I delved deeper into the world of arts until I met decoupage. Here I felt I found myself and my passion began.”

Since designing her first decoupage piece — a wooden jewelry box that “still holds dear value” — Hosawi has seen her work change and develop.

She said: “All of this is thanks to God and the support I received from my country and my family to reach a better level.”

Through support from friends, family and other initiatives, Hosawi has prospered. She says such encouragement has been “the fuel that pushed me to continue producing unique artistic pieces through which I showcase the beautiful culture of my country.”

The Saudi Feast Food Festival features 13 zones that include culinary art heritage, theater, the Gourmand Awards, a children’s interactive farm and more.


Exhibition at Saudi creative hub shows anonymous artist’s personality

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)
‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)
Updated 04 March 2024
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Exhibition at Saudi creative hub shows anonymous artist’s personality

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

RIYADH: A collaboration between Saudi creative hub Burble and anonymous artist Mo Lazim Tearef has brought a personality-themed art exhibition to Riyadh.

“Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition” is at Huna Takhassusi until March 7. It features seven blue and red paintings created with acrylics, along with a bare space representing unfinished works. Together, the works tell MLT’s story (whose name translates as “You don’t need to know”) as he confronts two traits that annoy him about his own character — haste and excuses.

Mohammed Al-Kabeer, curator and founder of the exhibition, said this was the third and final episode of MLT’s story, following on from “Grandpa’s Kid” and “My friend is a vampire.”

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

“MLT created this exhibition (by) rushing everything with an incomplete vision, which showcases how hasty he is,” he said.

The artist has created square characters to symbolize his excuses. The blue one is “the father of excuses” while the red ones are the small ones who follow.

Al-Kabeer said: “Father of excuses is a character that resides within each of us. He constantly rationalizes our actions, providing excuses that enable us to persist and persuade ourselves of the righteousness of our deeds regardless of their merit. He holds excuses in high regard, treating them as his own offspring.

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

“The persona takes inspiration from the (purple) dot on the Burble logo. MLT opted for blue and red (because the) amalgamation results in the color Burble (purple).”     

The exhibition walks viewers through MLT’s perception of excuses in every action he performs, touching their hearts along the way. The abandoned paints, brushes and mop in one corner represent his unfinished work.

“We have collaborated with more than 30 artists, but MLT is the only (one we have) adopted and who we have a lifetime contract with,” Al-Kabeer added.

Burble is a multidisciplinary creative hub that focuses on exhibitions, talks, courses and pop-ups.

 

 


Jeddah art exhibition highlights students’ creative odyssey

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational elemen
Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational elemen
Updated 04 March 2024
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Jeddah art exhibition highlights students’ creative odyssey

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational elemen
  • “The real challenge lies in sustaining motivation and consistently producing top-tier work over the two-year period, akin to a marathon rather than a sprint"

JEDDAH: The inaugural IB2 Visual Art Exhibition at the British International School of Jeddah opened with a display of 70 pieces created by eight students.

The exhibition, which runs until March 7, features diverse themes and art forms including painting, printmaking, photography, digital art, sculpture and installations. The works reflect each artist’s unique journey.

Head of Secondary School Pierre Scottorn said the art section of the International Baccalaureate diploma was very demanding: “Every student studying art in the program is featured in this exhibition. Over two years, they must create a comprehensive portfolio of work that includes a significant written component. (It) is not just a creative subject; it is highly academic. Students carefully curate their exhibition space, explaining the reasoning behind their artistic choices. Their grades are based not only on their artwork but also on the written explanations and overall presentation of the exhibition.”

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational element of her family history. (Supplied)

He added: “The purpose of this exhibition is to showcase the exceptional talent of our students and the high-quality teaching that supports them. It is a celebration of their hard work and dedication.”

Scottorn also highlighted the diverse career paths students could subsequently pursue.

“Some students will continue their studies in art at university, while others will pursue different careers such as fashion or architecture. Our students have been successful in gaining admission to top universities globally, thanks to the high standards of their work. The quality of their art significantly impacts their university applications and future opportunities,” he said.

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational element of her family history. (Supplied)

“The real challenge lies in sustaining motivation and consistently producing top-tier work over the two-year period, akin to a marathon rather than a sprint. This challenge extends to both students and teachers, requiring ongoing support and encouragement.”

Scottorn said he wanted his school to become a leader in the arts and added he valued partnerships with other organizations and individuals that would support this. He also hopes to introduce an artist-in-residence program in due course.

Shehzia Khan, head of visual art, shared insights into the depth and personalization of the students’ higher level art projects.

(L to R) Jude Kayal, Ayesha Rehman, Mayar Abdul Nnabi, Mrs. Shehzia Khan, Loulwa Al-Banna, Shahad El-Adawy, Sara Kreidieh, Mashael Iqbal. (Supplied)

“All the students participating in this exhibition are enrolled in higher level art. This year, they explored deeply personal themes showcasing a diverse range of subjects including fame, journeys, stages of life, empowerment of Saudi women, freedom, addiction, the human body, and culture and identity,” she said.

“Each student has chosen a theme close to their heart, demonstrating individualized and passionate explorations. The IB program offers students the freedom to choose their artistic direction after mastering foundational skills in oil painting, graphic design and sculpture.”

Khan said the exhibition served as the final exam, where each student had to display a minimum of eight pieces, curate their display, and provide detailed curatorial rationale and exhibition texts.

Mashael Iqbal, one of the exhibiting students, said: “I aimed to challenge the norms and shed light on the complexities of fame. By delving into themes of sexualization, method acting, and the darker side of celebrity lifestyles, I strived to provoke thought and evoke emotions. Each element in my exhibition represents a facet of the industry that often goes unnoticed. My passion for art and storytelling drives me to consider a future in the creative field, with a keen interest in exploring animation and digital media.”

Saudi art student Sara Kreidieh added: “My exhibition theme centers on the human body, delving into deeper dimensions beyond the physical aspects typically associated with it. Through my artwork, I aim to shed light on masculinity, the reluctance to seek help, confused identities, and societal issues such as racism, emotions, stress, and body dysmorphia. My collection includes paintings, photography, digital pieces and sculptures. I plan to pursue studies in architecture and eventually return to Saudi Arabia for professional work in the field.”

Even the school’s nursery level pupils are part of the exhibition. Helen Elhoss, head of early years, said: “Our children begin their art journey at two years old. Guided by the Reggio Emilia approach, children are encouraged to explore diverse avenues for expressing their creativity and thoughts.

“The theme of our exhibition was centered around community. Some of our children ventured into the community to understand its significance to them. They then represented their interpretations incorporating elements like nature.”

 


Saudi art, music execs speak at Culture Summit Abu Dhabi

Saudi art, music execs speak at Culture Summit Abu Dhabi
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi art, music execs speak at Culture Summit Abu Dhabi

Saudi art, music execs speak at Culture Summit Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: Two women leading the conversation on culture in Saudi Arabia took to the stage on two separate panels at the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi on Monday to talk about their respective institutions.

Aya Al-Bakree, the CEO at Diriyah Biennale Foundation, and Nada Alhelabi, the strategy and XP Music Futures director at MDLBEAST, were both in the spotlight at the event.

Al-Bakree was speaking as part of the panel “Cultural Leadership in Our Complex World.” She was joined by Francesca Colombo, managing and cultural director at Biblioteca degli Alberi Milano; DooEun Choi, vice president of Artlab at Hyundai Motor Company; and Justine Simons, deputy mayor for culture and creative industries in London.

Al-Bakree said: “The purpose of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation is to craft perspectives. It does that by staging ... the Contemporary Art Biennale at Jax District and the Islamic Arts Biennale, which takes place at Jeddah Airport. This is a very special location, an Aga Khan Award-winning location, because it used to be the Hajj terminal, used by the Hajj travelers, which we basically repurposed to have art programs. And we are also developing a creative district called Jax.

“The foundation is meant to support artists full circle. I’m happy to say that the success is very much there because the art was always there. The creation of the Diriyah Foundation is a culmination rather than an overhaul. It just created a framework and an ecosystem for everything to shine.”

Al-Bakree spoke of the inaugural edition of the Islamic Arts Biennale in 2023 attracting more than 600,000 visitors, adding: “That’s a large number of people for such a young event.”

Alhelabi spoke at a later panel called “The Time to Pursue a Career in the MENA Music Industry.”

Moderated by Mayssa Karaa, a singer-songwriter and artistic director at Berklee Abu Dhabi, the panel also featured Karima Damir, A&R director for the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region at Warner Music Group.

Alhelabi said: “We are at the right time for creatives. We have a lot of opportunities.

“For us at XP, collaboration is key. And passion. For all of us in Saudi, we did not have any music education. I remember I was 7 years old and wanted to learn the piano, but there were no stores and there was no one teaching piano at the time. And look at us now.

“So, the key point is definitely passion. And if someone is starting to get into the music industry, every skill and every experience you had in your life matters.”

She stressed that there are many avenues within the music industry to explore. She also pointed to XP Music Futures’ two-week Artist Management Bootcamp as an example of the kind of exposure that individuals in the region are being exposed to when it comes to new careers in the field of music and entertainment.

She added: “Whether you want to work on your own brand and design the events; whether you want to work in production, or you want to do programming, or even artist booking, there are so many fields in the music industry you can contribute to.

“In addition to working as artists, the artists themselves need a village, a surrounding team, for them to be successful.”


Art auction at London’s Dorchester Hotel raises over $200,000 for Palestine

Art auction at London’s Dorchester Hotel raises over $200,000 for Palestine
Updated 04 March 2024
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Art auction at London’s Dorchester Hotel raises over $200,000 for Palestine

Art auction at London’s Dorchester Hotel raises over $200,000 for Palestine
  • A miniature sculpture of Banksy’s “Flower Thrower” fetched the highest bid of £16,000

LONDON: A prestigious art auction in London has raised £165,000 ($208,800) for nonprofit organizations providing medical aid in Gaza and advocating for Palestinian human rights, its organizers said on Sunday. 

Voices of Palestine, which took place on Feb. 25 at the prestigious Dorchester Hotel, featured 15 pieces of Arab artwork, including a Banksy-designed miniature sculpture of his “Flower Thrower,” painted by local Palestinian artists. This piece, originally sold at the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, fetched the highest bid of £16,000.

The proceeds from the auction are earmarked for two primary causes: supporting Fajr Scientific’s comprehensive healthcare initiative in Gaza, and the efforts of the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians.

The event hosted a panel discussion featuring a high-profile list of speakers. (AN Photo/Tamara Turki)

Egyptian activist and Editor-in-Chief of Scoop Empire Rahma Zein told Arab News: “These kinds of events are important to reiterate the message that we need to empower ourselves to have the right kinds of discussions as to how to do that, be it economically or politically.”

The 30-year-old went viral in a video confronting CNN’s Clarissa Ward for her reporting at the Rafah border. She was then invited to appear on Piers Morgan’s TalkTV show to discuss Palestinians’ suffering.

She added: “Right now there is a void; there is an empty space because the veil has fallen.

“We’ve seen that these institutions that we deemed as prestigious, these news outlets that we deemed as prestigious, are no longer the case; they’re duds.

“Now is the time to look inwards, and look regionally and see so that we’re not looking at token politicians that look like us but speak in the name of Zionism or appease the colonizers.

“We need to empower ourselves. We need to own back our narrative and these are the events to do so.”

Fajr Scientific CEO Dr. Mosab Nasser has detailed a $55 million post-war plan aiming to enhance Gaza's medical infrastructure by adding 120 hospital beds, numerous operating rooms, and intensive care units over the next three years.

Meanwhile, the ICJP focuses on strategic legal actions and advocacy to align foreign policy with the realities Palestinians face, guided by international law.

Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot and South African High Commissioner to the UK Jeremiah Nyamane Mamabolo. (AN Photo/Tamara Turki)

The event hosted a panel discussion featuring a high-profile list of speakers including Rahma Zein and Nasser alongside Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot, award-winning journalist Ahmed Eldin, surgeon Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sitta, and Israeli-British historian Avi Shlaim.

The panelists tackled a wide range of issues on Israel’s war in Gaza, which has killed over 30,000 people. Eldin spoke on the democratization of the media and its role in challenging Western narratives about Palestine, while Abu-Sitta shared harrowing experiences of treating patients under siege in Gaza, including Israel’s bombing of hospitals.

The event drew 450 attendees, with tickets sold at between £150 to £250.
 


Dhahran Art Group presents diverse works at 70th show

Dhahran Art Group presents diverse works at 70th show
Updated 03 March 2024
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Dhahran Art Group presents diverse works at 70th show

Dhahran Art Group presents diverse works at 70th show
  • Themed ‘Araaqa: Deep Rootedness,’ the artists presented works in various media inspired by their culture, heritage

DHAHRAN: For four days this week, the lavender carpet was rolled out in front of the iconic Ad Diwan Hall in the Aramco compound leading into the 70th annual Dhahran Art Group show which concluded on March 2.

During the show, the Aramco community came together to listen to live piano, enjoy tasty hors d’oeuvres and mingle with local artists showcasing. This year’s theme was “Araaqa: Deep Rootedness.”

Among the participants was Jordanian artist Suad Sami, a familiar face in the local art scene. Armed with a degree in interior design and an insatiable desire to further her creative passions in every form and medium, she completed a jewelry design course 13 years ago, which inspired her to create a small collection of carefully-curated and thoughtfully sourced stones.

Jordanian artist Suad Sami is among the artists who presented works at the 70th annual Dhahran Art Group show which concluded on March 2. (AN photo)

After teaching art classes locally for a time and realizing she would rather make art than teach it, Sami took a leap of faith and invested in herself by become an entrepreneur.

Arab News spoke to Sami a decade ago when she was only a few years into her jewelry business. At that time, she was known for her horoscope pieces.

As an artist, you always want to sprinkle in a bit of your essence into your pieces, something that is distinctly you.

Suad Sami, Jordanian artist

“I design pieces that can be worn on an everyday basis which is simple yet extravagant, casual yet fancy, simple yet extravagant enough to complement women’s beauty and enhance their style,” she told Arab News in 2014.

Serene Rana. (AN photo)

Fast-forward to 2024, she feels she has evolved and improved on her craft — but her inclination to design elegant bespoke pieces in a sort of curated capsule collection remains. She unveiled two necklaces at the Dhahran Art Group’s annual fine art show.

Discussing one of her jewelry designs on display, she told Arab News: “The sword has been a well-known tangible symbol of strength for Arabs. I designed this one specifically for Founding Day and wanted to bring in something new to the table — not something already available in any shop.

“I always strive to design something timeless and unique, not something the eye has seen. As you know, the gold market in Saudi Arabia is huge so I needed to make something to stand out. As an artist, you always want to sprinkle in a bit of your essence into your pieces, something that is distinctly you.”

Art by Serene Rana. (AN photo)

Also, in an artful symbol of solidarity, Sami showcased a series of paintings she crafted showcasing tatreez, the Palestinian-style stitch. She also showcased paintings of birds perched on a bench.

The Dhahran Art Group show is a cornerstone of the local art community, and to Sami it is about more than just showcasing her works. “I love art in all its forms. My daughter is also a designer and used to display her work alongside me at this show in the past. She moved to Dubai now and became a mother and couldn’t be here today — but I’ll keep the tradition going,” she said.

Because of my heritage — I’m from Afghanistan — I wanted to make art that would reach people and would give meaning and change the way people think.

Serene Rana, Artist

Serene Rana, a towering eighth-grader, found out about the show through her mother, who bought her a small set of acrylic paints and a fresh white canvas a few summers ago. Rana found it to be a fun way to pass the time and to express herself.

Jordanian artist Suad Sami is among the artists who presented works at the 70th annual Dhahran Art Group show which concluded on March 2. (AN photo)

At 13-years-old, this was her first big show. She told Arab News: “I think I’m the youngest one here, so it’s kind of intimidating, but at the same time, it feels like I belong here.”

The self-taught artist proudly displayed multiple paintings as people stopped by to ask her about her process and what each piece meant.

“I had a dream and it kind of looked like this — it was in the galaxy so I painted that,” she said of one of her paintings.

Jordanian artist Suad Sami is among the artists who presented works at the 70th annual Dhahran Art Group show which concluded on March 2. (AN photo)

Her early works were mostly void of people but soon after, she started to insert more of her emotions into the pictures.

“I first painted a landscape; it was like a fairytale almost. But as I kept progressing in my art, I realized that because of my heritage — I’m from Afghanistan — I wanted to make art that would reach people and would give meaning and change the way people think,” she explained.

Her pieces, inspired by pop art and surrealism, represent her journey navigating the delicate and dramatic space balancing teen angst with female empowerment and everything in between.

“I was influenced a lot by the pop art style. I feel every color has a certain emotion, so when I want to convey sadness and when I want to convey anger, I use a different color,” she added.

It took Rana about a year to paint the canvases on display, and she is already planning for the next show.

“I think a lot of these pieces hanging here were influenced by my culture — the cultural richness — but I want to go back to solidifying that one idea. I think in my next painting, I would want to go to my heritage more,” she added.

There were also a wide variety of artists on display of both genders, some seasoned figures like Sami and others new-time artists, like Rana. The diverse works ranged from paintings, large and small sculptures to accessories and mixed-media pieces.

As in the previous 69 iterations, the group show was curated locally by the Dhahran Art Group and each participating artist had the option to include a for-sale sticker on their displayed work.