Hai Vogue spotlights creativity and youth at Al-Balad

Hai Vogue spotlights creativity and youth at Al-Balad
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Al-Balad was filled until the small hours with mini activations and expertly curated spaces showcasing talks, performances. (Supplied)
Hai Vogue spotlights creativity and youth at Al-Balad
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Popstar Mishaal Tamer entertains the crowd. (Supplied)
Above, Saudi cover stars Sarah Taibah and Lina Malaika. (Supplied)
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Above, Saudi cover stars Sarah Taibah and Lina Malaika. (Supplied)
Hai Vogue spotlights creativity and youth at Al-Balad
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Al-Balad was filled until the small hours with mini activations and expertly curated spaces showcasing talks, performances. (Supplied)
Hai Vogue spotlights creativity and youth at Al-Balad
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Al-Balad was filled until the small hours with mini activations and expertly curated spaces showcasing talks, performances. (Supplied)
Hai Vogue spotlights creativity and youth at Al-Balad
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Al-Balad was filled until the small hours with mini activations and expertly curated spaces showcasing talks, performances. (Supplied)
Hai Vogue spotlights creativity and youth at Al-Balad
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Al-Balad was filled until the small hours with mini activations and expertly curated spaces showcasing talks, performances. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 February 2024
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Hai Vogue spotlights creativity and youth at Al-Balad

Hai Vogue spotlights creativity and youth at Al-Balad
  • Music, live performances and panel talks marked the event held at the intersections of Saudi heritage and future
  • Over 2,000 visitors attended the debut Hai Vogue event at Al-Balad

JEDDAH: Al-Balad, Jeddah’s historic district, was alight with youthful energy as Vogue Arabia magazine’s first block party, Hai Vogue, came to town.

On Feb. 8 and Feb. 9, the space was filled until the small hours with mini activations and expertly curated spaces showcasing talks, performances and, of course, the big reveal of the February cover of the magazine, which was shot just steps away in Al-Balad.

“Tonight is the culmination of years of effort and work from Vogue Arabia here in the Kingdom. Nearly six years ago, we started this special journey that actually began with Jeddah. And so, coming back to Jeddah for our first-ever Vogue brand event is a very special moment for us, and we’re very, very excited to be here,” Shashi Menon, CEO and founder of Nervora, the publisher of Vogue Arabia, told the crowd.

Saudi spoken-word artist Amal Al-Harbi began the festivities with her distinct booming voice and sharp wit, presenting a delicate poem on stage inspired by the beauty of Jeddah. Hejazi dancers entertained the crowd with traditional folk dance and singing throughout.

With Instagram-worthy spots aplenty, ticket-holders were invited to join a friendly game of mini-golf, basketball or to play at Jimmy Choo’s ping pong table. Other brands to create installations were Michael Kors, Birkenstock’s, Steve Madden, Aigner, Dyson, House of Creed, Kiko Milano, Asteri Beauty, among others.

One of the most photogenic spaces was the wall presented by Jazeera Paints, decorated in original graffiti by artist Noura bin Saidan.

There was also a fun installation that mimicked a bathroom scene from Netflix’s “AlRawabi School for Girls” — perfect for mirror selfies. The young actresses from the show flew into Jeddah from Jordan for Hai Vogue to speak about their upcoming season on a special panel.

The actresses are the stars of the first February 2024 cover, which was revealed on the Vogue Arabia Instagram account shortly before the event began.

The second February 2024 cover, which was revealed for the first time on stage during Hai Vogue, featured 11 Saudi millennials.

Shot in the picturesque streets of Al-Balad, the cover lit up the stage in honor of the surroundings where it was captured. The cover stars are designer sisters Alia and Abeer Oraif of Atelier Hekayat; designer Arwa Al-Banawi; CEO of fashion consultancy Basamat Arabia, Aisha Almamy; Olympian rower Husein Alireza; entrepreneur and filmmaker Lina Malaika; designer Mohammed “Moe” Khoja; entrepreneur and popular personality, Nojoud Al-Rumaihi; actress Sarah Taibah; model Fay Foud; and the only Gen-Z on the list, boxer, Ziyad “Zizo” Almaayouf.

In addition, Saudi designers Yousef Akbar, Mohammed Khoja of Hindamme and Alia and Abeer Oraif of Atelier Hekayat were in conversation with Saudi media personality Lama Al-Akeel to discuss their personal journeys in the industry and their thoughts on fashion in the region and beyond.

There was plenty of music on both days. On the first day, Saudi pop star Mishaal Tamer serenaded the crowd while rapper Dafencii got the audience jumping. Saudi DJs Hifi, Cosmicat and Malkin filled the space on each of their sets with pulsing beats that had the crowd swaying in their seats. There were also food trucks offering an array of choices.

On day two, DJ Lujain Albishi, who is known professionally as Biirdperson, as well as DJ brothers, Abbas and Hassan Ghazzawi of Dish Dash, played songs on their independent sets. Saudi singer TamTam offered her empowering lyrics to the listeners, who sang along. Saudi’s own Hatoon Idrees filled Al-Balad with the distinct sound of her electric oud guitar and the Saudi-American rapper known as $kinny performed his debut show in Jeddah.

After his set, $kinny took time to interact with fans for a special meet-and-greet session that lasted until 2 a.m. Many of the performers and artists — as well as the cover stars — were there to mingle with the community.

Editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia, Manuel Arnaut, told Arab News: “I love this combination of doing something historic in a place that is historical, and then doing something for the youth. So, I felt that (Al-Balad) was really the perfect venue that would allow us to speak about the past, but also to project the future … it could not be more magical than this.” 

Arnaut said that the logo of Hai Vogue includes a silhouette of a cat because of the number of felines that roam around Al-Balad. They are, in a sense, the unofficial mascot of the city.

“I had this commitment and this passion to really to speak about the creativity that was happening here in Saudi Arabia. Since then, we’ve been thinking of what would be the perfect event to do to showcase it. And one day, with this friend of mine from Jeddah, we were walking in Al-Balad and I was like, ‘Wait!’”

The block party was created on the same space that Arnaut pointed out to his friend.

Vogue Arabia, which launched in 2017, was created as a response to the Arab world’s appetite for fashion, and has frequently featured Saudis within its pages. It is published in both Arabic and English and has become a leader in amplifying Saudi voices — and faces — for most of the past decade.

The publication had hosted formal events in Dubai for the past several years and it felt like the youthful energy of Saudi could do with a more casual vibe. It also, for the first time, invited the public to join in by purchasing tickets to attend one or both days, with a VIP pass for those interested in access to the rooftop after-party.

Hayat Oustki, who has lived in Jeddah for the past five years and works in the spray tan and beauty industry, came to Hai Vogue with her French friend, Tata Fatia, who is known in Paris as the “queen of spray tan.”

“I came to Saudi Arabia for the very first time just for this Hai Vogue event. My friend, Hayat, whom I trained in Paris in the spray-tan technique, brought me. I do Fashion Week and Cannes Festival and have spray-tanned many American stars,” Tata Fatia told Arab News.

“I came to see the Saudi market because I am thinking to launch my business here. Saudi women are so beautiful and fashionable — I was so happy to see. I want to meet Saudi influencers like Lama Al-Akeel, she is incredibly beautiful — as are all women here,” she said.

As the number of visitors started to trickle down, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia said that it was not the end.

“We want to do it definitely next year. The idea is, it’s ‘Hai Vogue,’ so it’s the neighborhood. We want to also explore other neighborhoods; we would also love to do one in Riyadh. This would also let us explore different areas to show our readers about different places in Saudi Arabia — kind of like a postcard,” Arnaut said.


How the adoption of electric vehicles is driving Saudi Arabia’s green agenda

How the adoption of electric vehicles is driving Saudi Arabia’s green agenda
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How the adoption of electric vehicles is driving Saudi Arabia’s green agenda

How the adoption of electric vehicles is driving Saudi Arabia’s green agenda
  • Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund wants to produce half a million electric vehicles by 2030
  • The Kingdom has installed charging outlets in public areas in Diriyah to encourage EV ownership

Did you know?

* The Kingdom has invested at least $10bn in US electric car manufacturer Lucid Motors.

* With 61% of shares, Saudi Arabia is the majority owner of Lucid Group through its Public Investment Fund.

* PIF aims to produce 500,000 EVs annually by 2030.

* In Riyadh, the EV share is targeted to increase by 30% in 2030.

 

 

RIYADH: Around the world, electric vehicles are already revolutionizing leisure, public transportation and logistics, shrinking the carbon footprint of travel, improving air quality and reducing pollution in the air, on land and in the sea.

As Saudi Arabia embarks on a range of environmental initiatives designed to address the challenges posed by climate change and foster sustainable economic development, EVs have become an important focus area.

The shift from traditional combustion engine vehicles to new electric models has accelerated worldwide as companies and consumers opt for greener modes of transport. Saudi Arabia is no exception.

Saudia, the Kingdom's national flag carrier, has signed an arrangement to acquire 100 electric-powered jets from Lilium, developer of the first all-electric vertical take-off and landing (“eVTOL”) jet. (Supplied)

The transition from regular cars to electric vehicles in the Kingdom is flourishing. The EV trend has gone beyond personal vehicle ownership, with the proliferation of everything from e-scooters to electric buses.

There are even discussions around whether EV technology will soon be applied to aircraft and perhaps space travel.

Stephen Crolius, former climate adviser at the Clinton Foundation and current president of Carbon-Neutral Consulting, supports the idea of EV ownership due to its environmental benefits.

Although it might still be a challenge to educate the public in some societies about the benefits of transitioning to EVs, Crolius says the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

“For mass transition to occur on any front, there has to be a set of circumstances that cause it to happen,” he told Arab News.

“Through government encouragement, we can continue to build volume (and) cause industries to mature, like, for example, the battery industry, which has done a lot of maturing over the last 15 years … the cost of batteries and the prices of batteries have come down to an extraordinary degree.

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“We are developing renewable generation for electricity. Are we developing fast enough to head off the climate crisis? I don’t know. But compared to new generations of technology getting rolled out, we are deploying a lot of renewable electricity generation, in historical terms, really fast.”

Companies such as CEER and Lucid, which are heavily funded by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, are at the forefront of driving growth in Saudi Arabia’s electric vehicle industry.

US electric car manufacturer Lucid signed a contract with the PIF two years ago to build a factory in the King Abdullah Economic City on the Red Sea. Today, PIF shares a little over half of the ownership of the group in the Kingdom, and aims to produce almost half a million EVs by 2030.

Since last year, the use of electric vehicles in the Kingdom has expanded to include electric buses as a sustainable alternative to traditional fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

Electric buses have zero emissions and therefore significantly reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases in urban areas, especially during the Hajj season, when pilgrims flock to the Kingdom and make use of its mass transit network.

An electric bus service connecting the airport to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah was launched by the region’s governor Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz during the last Hajj season.

The route connecting the two locations enabled high operational efficiency, with a bus able to travel 250 km on just a single charge.

Electric buses offer a variety of benefits, including reduced noise, improved energy efficiency and lower maintenance costs. In addition, they have a smaller carbon footprint, which is a crucial step toward sustainability.

Saudis committed to protecting the environment have also included EVs in their daily commute, with e-scooters now found in Riyadh and other cities. E-scooters provide an eco-friendly solution to local transport by cutting toxic emissions and lowering noise pollution.

Offering e-scooter services in various locations in Riyadh is a clear sign of the Kingdom’s eagerness to not only set regulations and promote electric vehicles, but also lead society in adopting a positive attitude toward sustainable living.

Gazal's e-scooter services have become a popular option for those traveling specially in crowded places in Riyadh. (Photo courtesy of Gazal)

Furthermore, with advancements in battery technology and the development of charging infrastructure, electric vehicles are becoming a viable option for companies aiming to decarbonize their operations.

For example, in public areas in Diriyah such as Albujairi and At-Turaif, standard wall outlets are available for EV owners to charge their vehicles while enjoying a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site.

As the aviation industry is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions, the concept of electric aircraft may offer a promising solution to global decarbonization.

Three years ago, British automobile maker Rolls-Royce broke records when its “Spirit of Innovation” aircraft reached 628 km per hour, making it the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle.

At the time, Warren East, the company’s then-CEO, said that electric aircraft could make “jet zero” a reality and help decarbonize all forms of transport.

Compared to existing commercial aircraft, which rely on petroleum and synthetic fuel blends, electric planes produce less noise, have lower operating costs and emit significantly fewer greenhouse gases.

However, there are still several obstacles to the widespread adoption of electric aircraft — in particular the sheer expense of adapting the existing infrastructure needed to support their use.

Though governments and private companies worldwide could collaborate and build a comprehensive network of charging stations to meet growing demand, this may burden the economies of some countries.

Nevertheless, the growing importance of electric vehicles beyond cars, such as buses, electric scooters and airplanes, holds great promise for a decarbonized future.

Utilizing alternative sources of energy in these areas can change the carbon emissions game for the better, fight air pollution, and pave the way for sustainable transport systems in the Kingdom and around the world.

To realize the full potential of electric vehicles, however, governments and businesses will first have to address challenges such as the provision of sufficient charging infrastructure as well as range limitations in battery technology.

Through continued innovation and investment, electric vehicles will play a key role in creating a greener and more sustainable future.
 

 


Art is ‘translating feelings,’ says 16-year-old Saudi artist

Art is ‘translating feelings,’ says 16-year-old Saudi artist
Updated 19 April 2024
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Art is ‘translating feelings,’ says 16-year-old Saudi artist

Art is ‘translating feelings,’ says 16-year-old Saudi artist
  • Jawad Al-Omair has established himself as a painter, drawing inspiration from the beauty and pain surrounding him

RIYADH: While his classmates took part in sports activities, Saudi teenage artist Jawad Al-Omair daydreamed about the next time he would pick up a paintbrush or pencil to draw again.

At only 16 years of age, Al-Omair has established himself as an artist, drawing inspiration from the beauty and pain surrounding him.

Jawad Al-Omair said he noticed a dramatic change in his artistic abilities after being introduced to a group of local artists who taught him painting techniques to implement in his artworks. (Supplied)

He told Arab News that his breakthrough moment came when he discovered his artistic abilities in the third grade.

“All the kids used to go to play. I always found myself opening my notebook and just drawing. I remember one day, I drew something at school, and when I got home, I showed it to everyone. I told myself, ‘I should do this more often.’”

HIGHLIGHT

Jawad Al-Omair views color as an arsenal to communicate emotion in his artworks.

He uses acrylic paint to portray his vivid ideas on canvas.

Jawad Al-Omair said he noticed a dramatic change in his artistic abilities after being introduced to a group of local artists who taught him painting techniques to implement in his artworks. (Supplied)

“With every painting I do, I usually have a vision of what the color palette is going to be and the composition, and most importantly what message and feeling I am trying to deliver through the painting.”

The young artist views color as an arsenal to communicate emotion in his artworks. “If I wanted to paint something that conveys the feeling of being lost, I would usually use cool toned colors like greys and blues.”

Jawad Al-Omair said he noticed a dramatic change in his artistic abilities after being introduced to a group of local artists who taught him painting techniques to implement in his artworks. (Supplied)

Al-Omair said that he noticed a dramatic change in his artistic abilities after being introduced to a group of local artists who taught him painting techniques to implement in his artworks.

“Dana Almasoud is one of my best friends who has helped me so much. Three years ago, I used to be a completely different artist. I used to be unable to draw small portraits, but she taught me how to. I can’t picture how my life would be if I had not met them,” he said.

Jawad Al-Omair said he noticed a dramatic change in his artistic abilities after being introduced to a group of local artists who taught him painting techniques to implement in his artworks. (Supplied)

In a recent artwork, Al-Omair painted a large-scale self-portrait inspired by the style of John Singer Sargent, an American artist renowned for his portrait paintings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He described Sargent as one of his favorite artists. “If you see his self-portrait, It is similar to mine. I was looking at his artwork while I was painting so I could capture that same vibe.”

It took Al-Omair about 12 hours to complete the self-portrait, which emphasizes his prominent features.

“I get commented on my nose a lot, so I painted it in the center. I wanted to immortalize my 16-year-old self, because who knows what I will look like five years from now?”

The young artist aims to turn all sorts of experiences — even those of friends or family members — into art.

“How would life be if we did not have music or anything beautiful to look at? When you think of an artist, people usually imagine someone with a brush, but it is much bigger than that.

“Art is translating feelings with a certain skill. Movies taught humanity so much because you get to learn about people. Writing, songs and music are emotional things that we share. Art is one of the most important parts of life. Everyone has an artistic side to them that they may have not found yet,” he said.

 


Saudi development fund agrees $50m loan deal with St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Saudi development fund agrees $50m loan deal with St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Updated 19 April 2024
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Saudi development fund agrees $50m loan deal with St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Saudi development fund agrees $50m loan deal with St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Funding will help rebuild and repair facilities damaged by natural disasters in the Caribbean island nation

RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development signed a $50 million loan agreement with St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday to assist communities affected by natural disasters, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The deal was signed by SFD CEO Sultan Abdulrahman Al-Marshad and Camillo Gonsalves, finance minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, during the 2024 spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington.

According to the World Bank, the southern Caribbean nation faces a host of natural threats, including floods, hurricanes, droughts, landslides, and volcanic eruptions.

The agreement will fund a project to rebuild and repair buildings and facilities damaged by natural disasters in the island nation.

This initiative includes the restoration and construction of essential infrastructure, such as housing, healthcare, educational, and sports facilities, aimed at boosting their durability and resilience against future disasters and climate change impacts.

The project will also include establishing four healthcare centers, building primary and secondary schools, renovating government buildings, and restoring homes damaged by volcanic activity.

The loan is in line with the SFD’s commitment to supporting vulnerable communities around the globe.

Since its inception in 1975, the Saudi fund has financed over 800 development projects and programs worldwide, with total funding exceeding $20 billion.
 


Art Jameel announces open call for Hayy Jameel Facade Commission

Art Jameel announces open call for Hayy Jameel Facade Commission
Updated 19 April 2024
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Art Jameel announces open call for Hayy Jameel Facade Commission

Art Jameel announces open call for Hayy Jameel Facade Commission
  • Antonia Carver, director of Art Jameel, said: “At Art Jameel, we are committed to fostering the role of the arts in public life

JEDDAH: The Hayy Jameel Facade Commission is inviting new and established artists in Saudi Arabia to reimagine the facade of the Hayy Jameel art building in Jeddah.

In its fourth year and third open call process, the commission will select a winning artwork that serves as conversation starter between the complex, the community it serves and the broader public.

Antonia Carver, director of Art Jameel, said: “At Art Jameel, we are committed to fostering the role of the arts in public life.

“Through this annual commission which positions the facade as the first point of contact with the Hayy Jameel community, we are providing a platform that propels mid-career artists forward and challenges them to produce a large-scale, highly imaginative work that remains in-situ, front and center in Jeddah, for around 10 months.”

The commission encourages artists to consider the site-specific nature of the project and the technical requirements of a public work.

Sustainability considerations are also appreciated in managing the carbon footprint of the artwork and its installation.

Eligibility is open to all Saudi and Saudi-based artists and collectives, with at least one member required to be a Saudi citizen or resident if applying as a collective.

The commissioned artists will receive a work fee and a production budget managed by Art Jameel.

The jury, consisting of local and international art professionals, curators, artists and museum directors, will select a single work for production.

Applicants are required to submit a concept statement (200-500 words), up to four sketches and diagrams, and an estimated production schedule through the application portal.

The deadline for the facade submission has been extended to May 1, with the launch scheduled for October. Following the unveiling, there will be a public viewing period from October 2024 to September 2025.

Previous works displayed on the building have showcased the talent of artists such as Nasser Al-Mulhim, Tamara Kalo, Mohammad Al-Faraj and Dr. Zahrah Al-Ghamdi.

 


Saudi universities participate in Geneva’s International Exhibition of Inventions

Mohammed Al-Sudairi
Mohammed Al-Sudairi
Updated 19 April 2024
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Saudi universities participate in Geneva’s International Exhibition of Inventions

Mohammed Al-Sudairi
  • More than 1,000 inventions from over 40 countries showcased at event

RIYADH: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, the Saudi deputy minister of education for universities, research and innovation, opened the Kingdom’s pavilion at the 49th Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions.

Some 26 Saudi Arabian universities are taking part at the event — including 19 government universities, two independents and five private bodies — and a total of 113 inventions have been produced, in scientific, theoretical, medical, and biological specializations, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Among the universities taking part is Qassim University, which is showcasing a display that highlights innovations and several inventions.

Abdulaziz bin Bani Alharbi, a faculty member at Qassim’s College of Agriculture and Food, said that the college was showcasing a patent registered with the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property: a method for desalinating salt water using a halophyte plant.

He said the invention involved introducing water and placing the plant in a closed system that allowed the collection of water from the plant after the transpiration process.

Alharbi added that gas exchange followed and then desalination to obtain salt-free water.

Fahad Alminderej, a faculty member at the College of Science, said his group had obtained a patent for extracting materials from date waste, and was then using them in pharmaceutical manufacturing in an innovative manner. This patent had also been registered with the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property.

Abdullah Almohaimeed, the head of the Innovation Center and Intellectual Property at the university, said that Qassim was participating in the exhibition as part of the Ministry of Education’s initiative to enhance the international presence of Saudi universities, in line with national objectives.

He added that the university’s participation aimed to highlight its role in supporting the innovation system and entrepreneurship, as well as showcase many inventions.

The exhibition, which is taking place until April 21, is displaying more than 1,000 inventions from over 40 countries. Some 800 exhibitors are featured at the event and 30,000 visitors are expected to attend, in addition to 650 journalists.

It is the world’s largest annual event devoted exclusively to invention.