Saudi artistry blooms in floral sculptures

Sara Abdullah’s two art collections, Alstroemeria (2024) and Anemone (2023), are each dedicated to the spotlighted flower. (Supplied)
Sara Abdullah’s two art collections, Alstroemeria (2024) and Anemone (2023), are each dedicated to the spotlighted flower. (Supplied)
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Updated 20 May 2024
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Saudi artistry blooms in floral sculptures

Sara Abdullah’s two art collections, Alstroemeria (2024) and Anemone (2023), are each dedicated to the spotlighted flower.
  • To the artist, nature signifies creativity, inspiration and deep magical meaning, she told Arab News

RIYADH: Saudi artist Sara Abdullah’s delicate floral sculptures find inspiration in the nuances and harmony between humanity and nature.

To the artist, nature signifies creativity, inspiration and deep magical meaning, she told Arab News.

“Both (art and nature) are means of exploring the deeper aspects of the human existence. As artists, we can capture and express the intangible aspects of our lives that defy simple verbal descriptions,” she said.




Sara Abdullah’s two art collections, Alstroemeria (2024) and Anemone (2023), are each dedicated to the spotlighted flower. (Supplied)

Abdullah credits her artistry to her role model, her father, who introduced her to a multifaceted world of art at a young age.

“My story is like my dad’s — we started by painting characters and self-portraits but eventually transitioned to creating nature artwork,” she said.

“My father’s deep love for art and trying to convey his artistic message to the world is what makes me continue to search more for the deep meaning between art and nature and how to transform my ideas into a valuable work of art that includes a purposeful message that touches people.”




Sara Abdullah’s two art collections, Alstroemeria (2024) and Anemone (2023), are each dedicated to the spotlighted flower. (Supplied)

Her two art collections, Alstroemeria (2024) and Anemone (2023), are each dedicated to the spotlighted flower.

In the Alstroemeria collection, her sculptures begin with the design of the wood base, which is curved to reflect the feeling of containment and support.

She handcrafts pieces of the flower with twisted and connected edges, representing the petals from the beginning of their life until their flowering.

“Its distinction lies in its longevity among the flowers, and this is what adds to the true meaning of the artwork, which is connection, stability, love, friendship … feelings and bonds that are established after a long period of relationship,” the artist explained.

The message of the artwork is the “close connections and depth of feelings between people and the ability to support and contain each other as we go through life’s experiences.”

Abdullah describes her Anemone collection as “nature embodied in abstract sculptures … a harmonious dance between light and shadow.”

The wildflower has long inspired artists and storytellers, appearing in various works of Arabic literature, including in poems, stories and folk tales.

Anemone flowers generally grow open and wide, with a dark center.

Through this collection of sculptural works, Abdullah embodies the feeling of joy accompanied with dancing.

“When something happy happens in your life, then you start dancing as if you seem to be dancing lightly in the open air and you feel that you are open to the world due to the influence of this happiness. This simile reflects when you see the cold and light wind between the flowers, making them sway between each other lightly,” she said.

“When I prepare to create an art collection, I always try to choose pastel colors that are calm and comfortable to look at as natural colors, in addition to using materials to highlight some pieces or lines in the painting, which adds a three-dimensional touch to the artwork.”

Abdullah also described her outlook on life: “Try to deal with life as if you are like a flower that grows in its beautiful shape … and no matter how the wind blows on her at the end, she blooms beautifully again. Be always like flowers bloom.”

 

 


Award-winning Saudi film ‘Norah’ premieres in theaters across the Kingdom

A special screening of award-winning Saudi film “Norah”  was held on Wednesday night at Roshn Front’s Vox Cinema.
A special screening of award-winning Saudi film “Norah” was held on Wednesday night at Roshn Front’s Vox Cinema.
Updated 6 sec ago
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Award-winning Saudi film ‘Norah’ premieres in theaters across the Kingdom

A special screening of award-winning Saudi film “Norah”  was held on Wednesday night at Roshn Front’s Vox Cinema.
  • “Norah” achieved great success at the 78th annual Cannes International Film Festival
  • Film was first screened last December at the Red Sea International Film Festival, where it won the “Best Saudi Film” award. (Abdulrhman Bin Shalhuob)

RIYADH: The award-winning Saudi film “Norah” made its premiere in the Kingdom on Thursday after its international success at the Cannes Film Festival.

A special screening was held on Wednesday night at Roshn Front’s Vox Cinema, where director Tawfik Al-Zaidi was in attendance alongside the film’s star, Maria Bahrawi, and her acclaimed co-stars Yaqoub Al-Farhan and Abdullah Al-Sadhan.

Al-Farhan told Arab News: “To be accepted in Cannes is an indication of how important this film is, and also an indication of how much progress the film industry (has made) here.

“Although it’s still the beginning of it, we’re starting to see the results of the huge work that’s happening right now.

“I’m very positive about the future. If this is the beginning, I think after five or 10 years, we’ll be seeing a lot of great films from Saudi.”

“Norah” achieved great success at the 78th annual Cannes International Film Festival, where it was the official selection for the “Un Certain Regard” competition, one of the most critical titles of the event. It also received the Special Mention from the jury, making it the most notably recognized Saudi film at Cannes.

The film takes place in a remote Saudi village in the 90s, where Norah (played by Bahrawi) dreams of seeing horizons beyond her small village. As a new teacher, Nader (played by Al-Farhan) makes his way to her hometown, and Norah’s world begins to open up through art, knowledge and creativity, leading her to discover more about her own family history.

“The fact that they chose me for the role only two weeks before production was a surprise for me. But, thankfully, my first role in a film was a success and reached international audiences. I’m very proud and happy that today it’ll be in cinemas and the world can see it, and I’m excited to see people’s reactions,” Bahrawi told Arab News.

While it was first screened last December at the Red Sea International Film Festival, where it won the “Best Saudi Film” award, the nationwide cinema premiere is a culmination of the film’s journey to its intended audience: the Saudi public.

Bahrawi said: “The fact that they chose me for the role only two weeks before production was a surprise for me. But, thankfully, my first role in a film was a success and reached international audiences. I’m very proud and happy that today it’ll be in cinemas and the world can see it, and I’m excited to see people’s reactions.

“Since I was young, I’ve always dreamed of being an actress, and today I can say that I’ve reached that and acted in my first film as a lead role… AlUla was the city that made my first dream come true.”

Taking public participation even further, a competition was presented to the public last Thursday inviting all girls named Norah to play a part. About 500 girls took part, and two winners received tickets to the special pre-screening event.

“Norah” is the first Saudi feature to be filmed entirely in AlUla. “The city itself and its locations really complemented the film’s story, so that was a wonderful choice for the location,” Bahrawi said.

While the film is both Bahrawi’s debut on the big screen and Al-Zaidi’s first feature film, it was also a personal experience for Al-Farhan, who is widely known for his role in the TV mini series “Rashash.”

“There’s so many similarities between me and the character, which is why it’s a very personal project for me and it’s so dear to my heart, especially after the achievement of the Cannes Film Festival,” he said.

In preparation for the role, Al-Farhan spent time with a professional sketch artist in order to learn the craft for his role — even simple things like holding a pencil the right way.

He said that the beginning sketches featured in the film were his own work, but the final results were “by a real artist.”

Production was supported by the Film Commission through Daw, a national initiative to support and encourage Saudi filmmakers. The film also received support from Film AlUla, the Red Sea Film Fund and Generation 2030.

The inspiration for “Norah” came to Al-Zaidi in 2015 from his need to express something within him. In the same way that Al-Farhan’s character, Nader, portrays his feelings on sketchbooks and canvases, Al-Zaidi uses the big screen.

He told Arab News: “I’m a lover of art in all its forms, whether its music, drawing or visiting museums, cinema encapsulates all of these arts and shows them beautifully through a film’s crew.

“I wanted to create these emotions between two people who love art, Norah and Nader. Art is a means of communication between people, and a means of expression as well.”

As the Saudi film scene continues to develop and grow toward global horizons, Al-Zaidi is confident that the industry can overcome challenges.

“Challenges will always be there, but as they say, ‘success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan’ ... if you believe in yourself, you will get there,” he said.


OIC marks World Refugee Day

OIC marks World Refugee Day
Updated 25 min 36 sec ago
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OIC marks World Refugee Day

OIC marks World Refugee Day
  • Hissein Brahim Taha called for prioritizing the humanitarian needs of vulnerable people forced to flee their homes due to wars, conflicts and natural disasters
  • Brahim Taha said that offering aid and protection to migrants is not only a humanitarian obligation, but also an Islamic duty

JEDDAH: Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha has reiterated the OIC’s support and solidarity with world refugees.

He called for prioritizing the humanitarian needs of vulnerable people forced to flee their homes due to wars, conflicts and natural disasters.

In a statement released on Thursday to mark World Refugee Day, observed annually on June 20, Taha expressed deep gratitude and admiration toward OIC member states for their efforts in providing refuge to displaced people.

He said that offering aid and protection to migrants is not only a humanitarian obligation, but also an Islamic duty.

Taha acknowledged that OIC member states shoulder the largest share of global responsibility in hosting more than half of the world’s refugees. He urged the international community to stand in support of the OIC member states and highlighted the importance of establishing equitable partnerships.

The secretary-general praised the pivotal role played by UNRWA in alleviating the suffering of Palestinian refugees.

He called on the international community to exert concerted efforts to hold the Israeli occupation accountable for its disregard of international laws.


Authorities at Halat Ammar crossing see off departing Hajj pilgrims

Saudi authorities at the Halat Ammar border crossing, in the northwest of the Kingdom, continue to bid farewell to pilgrims.
Saudi authorities at the Halat Ammar border crossing, in the northwest of the Kingdom, continue to bid farewell to pilgrims.
Updated 32 min 31 sec ago
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Authorities at Halat Ammar crossing see off departing Hajj pilgrims

Saudi authorities at the Halat Ammar border crossing, in the northwest of the Kingdom, continue to bid farewell to pilgrims.
  • Worshippers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi government after being offered copies of the Qur’an, SPA said

RIYADH: Saudi authorities at the Halat Ammar border crossing, in the northwest of the Kingdom, continue to bid farewell to departing pilgrims.

Pilgrims expressed their gratitude to the Saudi government after being offered copies of the Qur’an, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Hajj 2024 ended on Tuesday and those pilgrims who visited Madinah before the annual pilgrimage have started to leave the Kingdom.  


Ministry supervises Riyadh slaughterhouses for Eid

Slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
Slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
Updated 20 June 2024
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Ministry supervises Riyadh slaughterhouses for Eid

Slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
  • Ministry said its technical teams carried out 277 regulatory tours of markets and slaughterhouses in Riyadh and 510 visits to shops, stalls and yards

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said that slaughterhouses in the Riyadh region received 8,623 slaughters on the fourth day of Eid Al-Adha.

This was through both fixed and mobile slaughterhouses supervised by the specialized teams from the ministry’s branch in the region, conducting regulatory operations and providing veterinary inspection services for all livestock.

The ministry said that its technical teams carried out 277 regulatory tours of markets and slaughterhouses in Riyadh and 510 visits to shops, stalls and yards in the region’s markets. These activities resulted in issuing 14 warnings and one violation for non-compliance with health regulations and requirements in slaughterhouses.

In addition, citizens and residents continued to respond positively to the community initiative, “One-third of the sacrifice,” contributing to meat donations for families in need. 

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture’s branch in the Riyadh region has made significant efforts during this year’s Eid Al-Adha season.

These included early preparations for organizing the main and temporary sheep markets, as well as the regular and mobile slaughterhouses.


Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program visit historic Madinah sites

Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah
Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah
Updated 20 June 2024
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Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program visit historic Madinah sites

Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah
  • 2,000 pilgrims who are family members of Palestinians killed, injured, or taken prisoner by Israeli authorities are being hosted by the program this year

RIYADH: Pilgrims hosted by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for Hajj, Umrah, and Visit toured holy sites in Madinah on Thursday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The pilgrims visited the site of the Battle of Uhud, Rumah Mountain, the Cemetery of the martyrs of Uhud, and Quba Mosque as part of a cultural program planned by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance.

They were also informed about the religious significance of each of the sites.

3,322 pilgrims from 88 countries are being hosted by the program for Hajj this year. This figure includes 2,000 pilgrims who are family members of Palestinians killed, injured, or taken prisoner by Israeli authorities.