Artist Manal Al-Dowayan prepares for Venice Biennale by inviting hundreds of Saudi women to collaborate on art project

Manal Al- Dowayan allows a participant to speak at her participatory workshop for the Venice Biennale Commission in Alkhobar. (Photos by Iman Al-Dabbagh)
Manal Al- Dowayan allows a participant to speak at her participatory workshop for the Venice Biennale Commission in Alkhobar. (Photos by Iman Al-Dabbagh)
Short Url
Updated 21 January 2024
Follow

Artist Manal Al-Dowayan prepares for Venice Biennale by inviting hundreds of Saudi women to collaborate on art project

Manal Al- Dowayan allows a participant to speak at her participatory workshop for the Venice Biennale Commission in Alkhobar.
  • “The Eastern province, specifically Alkhobar, is where I found the support and encouragement that allowed me to take my first steps as an artist,” Al-Dowayan told Arab News

ALKHOBAR: Saudi artist Manal Al-Dowayan conducted a workshop for art enthusiasts at the Fatat Al-Khaleej Society in her hometown of Alkhobar on Jan. 16.

It was the first of three workshops Al-Dowayan is hosting this month, with Jeddah and Riyadh still to come. The resulting artworks will form part of Al-Dowayan’s contribution to the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia at the Venice Biennale in April.

For the last 20 years or so, Al-Dowayan has made a habit of bringing Saudi women together to work on her projects. Fatat Al-Khaleej, otherwise known as the Gulf Girl Charity Association, has been a landmark in the Eastern Province since it opened its doors in 1968 with the mission to offer a safe space to vulnerable Saudi women, including orphans. It was the perfect space to host the event, not least because it was the venue for Al-Dowayan’s first workshop back in 2012.




Participatory workshop for the Venice Biennale Commission. Photos by Iman Al-Dabbagh. (Photos by Iman Al-Dabbagh)

“The Eastern province, specifically Alkhobar, is where I found the support and encouragement that allowed me to take my first steps as an artist,” Al-Dowayan told Arab News. “It is only natural that I start this three-city tour for my Venice Biennale artwork here, having my family, my friends and my community help me kick off this exciting project.”

Aside from her sister and mother, many friends whom Al-Dowayan has known for years joined her at the workshop, which was attended by a wide range of art enthusiasts, from girls as young as six to women in their eighties, all coming together with a common goal: to create empowered Saudi women-centric art alongside Al-Dowayan, who has the ability to weave many voices into one, without losing the essence of any.

One of the artist’s friends who participated in the Alkhobar workshop was Mona Hassan, who also took part in many of Al-Dowayan’s earlier workshops, including the one in the same space 12 years earlier.

HIGHLIGHTS

• There was a sense of camaraderie and an encouraging atmosphere at the workshop, ensuring that each woman felt at ease expressing herself creatively and helping Al- Dowayan realize her vision.

• After completing her January workshops and prepping for the Venice Biennale, Al-Dowayan will be busy preparing for two upcoming exhibitions in AlUla.

“Manal’s workshops are always lighthearted and fun,” Hassan told Arab News. “It’s been really special to be a part of Manal’s many art projects over the years. I love that I could share this experience not only with Manal and all of our friends, but also with my two daughters, who have taken part in three of Manal’s workshops: ‘Suspended Together,’ ‘Esmi,’ and ‘Tree of Guardians.’”

For local multidisciplinary artist Afaf Aljishi, meanwhile, it was her first time working with Al-Dowayan.

“We are all connected, so today it was really a great opportunity to exchange this energy between us as women. As Saudi citizens and as Saudi women, we are empowered from within,” Aljishi told Arab News.




Participatory workshop for the Venice Biennale Commission. Photos by Iman Al-Dabbagh. (Photos by Iman Al-Dabbagh)

“Today was very inspirational for me because she (Al-Dowayan) took and gave; we exchanged energy and we exchanged our inspiration. This was my first time to meet Manal and sit with her,” she continued, adding that she hoped it would not be the last.

The workshops include breathing exercises and singing, which Al-Dowayan has introduced as ways of breaking the ice and helping the group feel more comfortable together. Ileana Yasmin, a professional singer who works at the Music Commission in Riyadh, is one of the group of women leading the workshops alongside Al-Dowayan, and focuses on helping the participants find their voices.

“Everyone gave from her heart, which was amazing,” Yasmin said of the Alkhobar event. “We had women from different age groups and different generations. It was good. I thought maybe some would be shy but it was very cozy, very friendly.”

There was a sense of camaraderie and an encouraging atmosphere at the workshop, ensuring that each woman felt at ease expressing herself creatively and helping Al-Dowayan realize her vision.

After completing her January workshops and prepping for the Venice Biennale, Al-Dowayan will be busy preparing for two upcoming exhibitions in AlUla.

Her next workshops take place in Jeddah at Hayy Jameel on Jan. 22 from 6-10 p.m. and in Riyadh on Jan. 25 at Al-Nahda Society from 4-8 p.m. Women and girls interested in participating can register via the Saudi Pavilion website or social media channels.

 


900,000 copies of the Quran for pilgrims at Madinah airports

900,000 copies of the Quran for pilgrims at Madinah airports
Updated 16 sec ago
Follow

900,000 copies of the Quran for pilgrims at Madinah airports

900,000 copies of the Quran for pilgrims at Madinah airports
  • Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs has meticulously prepared the Al-Khandaq, Sayyid Al-Shuhada, and Qiblatain mosques with an integrated service system
  • Ministry has arranged for the distribution of copies of the Quran — a gift from the Saudi leadership — to the departing pilgrims.

MADINAH: Osama Madkhali, director of the Madinah branch of the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, said preparations are ongoing to assist departing pilgrims, especially those who quickly proceed to visit Madinah and leave through its airports.

He highlighted that coordination with the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran in Madinah has ensured the allocation of more than 900,000 copies of the Quran to the region. These copies have been stored and distributed to locations at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah and Prince Abdulmohsen bin Abdulaziz Regional Airport in Yanbu, where the departure halls at both airports have been prepared to assist pilgrims.

The ministry has also completed its preparations to receive the first group of Hajj pilgrims, especially those departing quickly after fulfilling their Hajj rituals.

The ministry’s branch in Madinah has meticulously prepared the Al-Khandaq, Sayyid Al-Shuhada, and Qiblatain mosques with an integrated service system. This includes thorough cleaning, maintenance, air-conditioning units, water coolers and effective crowd management.

In addition to distributing guidance and awareness books to pilgrims visiting the large mosques, the ministry has arranged for the distribution of copies of the Quran — a gift from the Saudi leadership — to the departing pilgrims.


Paramedics in Makkah saving lives amid scorching heat

Paramedics in Makkah saving lives amid scorching heat
Updated 33 min 44 sec ago
Follow

Paramedics in Makkah saving lives amid scorching heat

Paramedics in Makkah saving lives amid scorching heat
  • Doctor Nawaf Karshami: It’s an amazing feeling to be able to help the pilgrims that need the help, and especially the elderly persons who are unable to walk
  • Doctor Loui Al-Sulimani said that pilgrims can avoid heat exhaustion through proper hydration, self-cooling and avoiding the outdoors during peak heat hours

MAKKAH: Doctors and paramedics are saving the lives of pilgrims in Makkah amid scorching summer temperatures.

Arab News interviewed a Disaster Medical Assistant Team from the Ministry of Health. The team of doctors, who arrived from hospitals around Saudi Arabia, are putting their skills to use for Hajj.

Nawaf Karshami, a doctor and emergency medicine specialist, told Arab News that most of the pilgrim patients treated by the team are suffering from exhaustion due to high temperatures.

“We have very high degrees, especially here in Makkah. So, most of the pilgrims came in need of hydration and needed to be covered from the sun with ice bags.

“Thankfully, we did our best to help the pilgrims, to smooth the way of the pilgrims to do their Hajj and perform their Hajj. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to help the pilgrims that need the help, and especially the elderly persons who are unable to walk.”

Doctor Loui Al-Sulimani, a consultant in emergency and disaster medicine, said pilgrims can avoid heat exhaustion through proper hydration, self-cooling and avoiding the outdoors during peak heat hours.

He also advised pilgrims to “wear protective, cool clothes, and also use an umbrella and any coverage for your head.”

The unit has received many cases of foot injuries, Al-Sulimani said, adding: “Because of the hot weather, most of the cases related to the suboptimal shoes.

“We are glad that we are participating this year and the previous year, and high season, with all responding agencies here to provide the best care for our pilgrims.”

Doctor Abdulqader Salman, a doctor and emergency specialist, described the “incredible experience” of helping pilgrims.

“We did not face any difficult challenges, thank God. As the Disaster Medical Assistant Team, we really worked together to help out the pilgrims.”

Health services provided to worshipers include medical and specialized clinics, pharmacies, dialysis centers, intensive care units and isolation units, the Health Ministry said in a report quoted by the Saudi Press Agency.

The ministry also has 250 employees and health practitioners on hand to aid pilgrims, including 50 doctors specialized in intensive care, cardiology, emergency, internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, family and community medicine, and fighting infections.

The Saudi health system seeks to provide the highest levels of care for pilgrims with health facilities across Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites.

Before the beginning of the Hajj season, the ministry urged people in Saudi Arabia to receive vaccinations and to register them via the Sehhaty app, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Mandatory vaccinations include a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and one of the influenza vaccines taken this year, along with a dose of the meningitis vaccine taken within the past five years.


Pilgrims cast stones at Jamarat on first day of Tashreeq

Pilgrims cast stones at Jamarat on first day of Tashreeq
Updated 48 min 12 sec ago
Follow

Pilgrims cast stones at Jamarat on first day of Tashreeq

Pilgrims cast stones at Jamarat on first day of Tashreeq
  • Numerous designated pathways across the various floors of the Jamarat facility ensured a smooth flow of pilgrims
  • Innovative, multilevel structure was engineered to distribute pilgrims efficiently during the throwing ritual

MINA: Hajj pilgrims began the ritual stoning of the devil, throwing pebbles at the Jamarat, three stone pillars, on the first day of Tashreeq, which also coincides with the second day of Eid Al-Adha.

The ritual stoning began with Jamarat Al-Oula (the small pillar), continuing with Jamarat Al-Wusta (the middle pillar) and finally Jamarat Al-Aqaba (the large pillar), following in the Prophet Muhammad’s footsteps, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Numerous designated pathways across the various floors of the Jamarat facility ensured a smooth flow of pilgrims and eased crowd management. The innovative, multilevel structure was engineered to distribute pilgrims efficiently during the throwing ritual.

Pedestrian bridges connect the Jamarat to the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro Line and surrounding pilgrim camps in Mina, allowing for safe and convenient movement, SPA reported.


Egyptian president leaves Jeddah after performing Hajj

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi leaves Jeddah on Monday after performing Hajj. (SPA)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi leaves Jeddah on Monday after performing Hajj. (SPA)
Updated 17 June 2024
Follow

Egyptian president leaves Jeddah after performing Hajj

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi leaves Jeddah on Monday after performing Hajj. (SPA)

RIYADH: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi left Jeddah on Monday after performing Hajj, Saudi Press Agency reported.

El-Sisi arrived in the Kingdom on Thursday and prayed in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah before performing his Hajj rituals. 


Ensuring Hajj safety, security from the skies

Ensuring Hajj safety, security from the skies
Updated 17 June 2024
Follow

Ensuring Hajj safety, security from the skies

Ensuring Hajj safety, security from the skies
  • The patrols are crucial for monitoring the density of pilgrim crowds
  • The helicopter also includes medical rescue and care devices that can be installed inside the cabin as needed

MINA: Saudi authorities are carrying out helicopter surveillance flights around the clock to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims during Hajj.

Under the Hajj Security Forces, the Security Aviation Command, operating under the Presidency of State Security, in collaboration with the Royal Saudi Air Force, this Hajj season is witnessing the deployment of advanced aircraft to oversee the movements of pilgrims in Makkah and its surrounding holy sites.

Speaking to the Interior Ministry’s Snapchat account, Col. Shaker bin Sulaiman Al-Tuwaijiri, deputy commander of the Hajj Security Forces’ aerial surveillance operations, said that the Hajj security forces are supervising the movement of pilgrims from the sky day and night.

“Flights of the General Security Aviation Command and the Royal Saudi Air Forces are deployed using top-tier helicopters, the latest technological enablers and artificial intelligence,” he said, adding that staff members are highly qualified due to their cumulative experience.

Saudi authorities are carrying out helicopter surveillance flights around the clock to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims during Hajj. (Ministry of Interior)

The patrols are crucial for monitoring the density of pilgrim crowds, ensuring that potential disruptions and dangers are swiftly identified and addressed, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The mission is closely integrated with the Hajj Command and Control Center, which receives live videos and images for prompt analysis and responsive action on the ground.

The information helps ground personnel manage the movement of vehicles and pilgrims between locations.

Some security helicopters, such as the S-92, are equipped with 270-foot rescue winches, thermal cameras operating in infrared and laser wavelengths, and a cargo hook capable of lifting more than 4.5 tonnes.

The helicopter also includes medical rescue and care devices that can be installed inside the cabin as needed. Passenger cabin seats can be configured for evacuation purposes.

The S-92 features an autopilot system and flight management and planning controls, according to the Interior Ministry’s website.