A Ghana toddler sets a world record as the youngest male artist. His mom says he just loves colors

A Ghana toddler sets a world record as the youngest male artist. His mom says he just loves colors
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Ace-Liam Nana Sam Ankrah, who will turn two in July, paints amidst his own art work at his mother's art gallery in Accra, Ghana,on May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Misper Apawu)
A Ghana toddler sets a world record as the youngest male artist. His mom says he just loves colors
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Ace-Liam Nana Sam Ankrah, who will turn two in July, paints at his mother’s art gallery in Accra, Ghana, on May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Misper Apawu)
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Updated 03 June 2024
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A Ghana toddler sets a world record as the youngest male artist. His mom says he just loves colors

A Ghana toddler sets a world record as the youngest male artist. His mom says he just loves colors

ACCRA, Ghana: Meet Ace-Liam Ankrah, a Ghana toddler who has set the record as the world’s youngest male artist.
His mother, Chantelle Kukua Eghan, says it all started by accident when her son, who at the time was 6 months old, discovered her acrylic paints.
Eghan, an artist and founder of Arts and Cocktails Studio, a bar that that offers painting lessons in Ghana’s capital, Accra, said she was looking for a way to keep her boy busy while working on her own paintings.




Ace-Liam Nana Sam Ankrah, who will turn two in July, shows off his paint tubes at his mother’s art gallery in Accra, Ghana, on May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Misper Apawu)

“I spread out a canvas on the floor and added paint to it, and then in the process of crawling he ended up spreading all the colors on the canvas,” she said.
And that’s how his first artwork, “The Crawl,” was born, Eghan, 25, told The Associated Press.
After that and with his mother’s prodding, Ace-Liam kept on painting.
Eghan decided to apply for the record last June. In November, Guinness World Records told her that to break a previous record, her son needed to exhibit and sell paintings.

She arranged for Ace-Liam’s first exhibition at the Museum of Science and Technology in Accra in January, where nine out of 10 of his pieces listed were sold. She declined to say for how much the paintings sold.
They were on their way.
Then, Guinness World Records confirmed the record in a statement and last week declared that “at the age of 1 year 152 days, little Ace-Liam Nana Sam Ankrah from Ghana is the world’s youngest male artist.”
Guinness World Records did not immediately respond to an Associated Press query about the previous youngest male artist record holder.
The overall record for the world’s youngest artist is currently held by India’s Arushi Bhatnagar. She had her first exhibition at the age of 11 months and sold her first painting for 5,000 Rupees ($60) in 2003.




Ace-Liam Nana Sam Ankrah plays on a table at his mother’s art gallery iat his mother’s art gallery in Accra, Ghana, on May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Misper Apawu)

These days, Ace-Liam, who will be 2 years old in July, still loves painting and eagerly accompanies his mom to her studio, where a corner has been set off just for him. He sometimes paints in just five-minute sessions, returning to the same canvas over days of weeks, Eghan says.
On a recent day, he ran excitedly around the studio, with bursts of energy typical for boys his age. But he was also very focused and concentrated for almost an hour while painting — choosing green, yellow and blue for his latest work-in-progress and rubbing the oil colors into the canvas with his tiny fingers.
Eghan says becoming a world record holder has not changed their lives. She won’t sell “The Crawl” but plans on keeping it in the family.
She added that she hopes the media attention around her boy could encourage and inspire other parents to discover and nurture their children’s talents.
“He is painting and growing and playing in the whole process,” she says.
 


Bonjour Saudi presents fresh travel and culture experiences for tourists

Bonjour Saudi presents fresh travel and culture experiences for tourists
Updated 11 July 2024
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Bonjour Saudi presents fresh travel and culture experiences for tourists

Bonjour Saudi presents fresh travel and culture experiences for tourists

RIYADH: In the heart of Diriyah’s Samhan district is an old Najdi-style house that’s been given a new lease of life as Bonjour Saudi — a ‘travel and experience design house’ and a local offshoot of UAE-based Bonjour Middle East.

“At Bonjour Saudi we focus on being a bridge between foreigners, expats, tourists and Saudi culture by creating experiences that showcase different parts of that culture — like cuisine, art, and tradition,” French co-founder Cecilia Pueyo told Arab News. “It’s very important for me to work routinely with Saudis to make this happen.

Whether guests are signing up for a multi-day journey around historical sites or for a two-hour cooking or art workshop, though, the aim is the same: to leave them with a better understanding of Saudi culture and history. (AN Photo/ Abdulrhman Bin Shalhuob)

Pueyo is a crafting enthusiast herself, and noticed a gap in the market when she visited the Kingdom and found it hard to access workshops on traditional Saudi crafts such as Sadu weaving, palm weaving, or Kabsa cooking. So, she wanted to create a space for such workshops. It also includes House of Artisans — a store showcasing local handicrafts like candles, abayas, handbags, jewelry, and more, giving guests an opportunity to take a piece of Saudi home with them. 

And Bonjour Saudi also provides guided tours across the country to popular spots including Jeddah, Abha, and AlUla.

Whether guests are signing up for a multi-day journey around historical sites or for a two-hour cooking or art workshop, though, the aim is the same: to leave them with a better understanding of Saudi culture and history. 

In the heart of Diriyah’s Samhan district is an old Najdi-style house that’s been given a new lease of life as Bonjour Saudi. (AN Photo/ Abdulrhman Bin Shalhuob)

“Even though it’s relatively new for the Kingdom to welcome foreigners and expats, (it’s clear that) people want to showcase their culture and share it with you, as well as their hospitality and generosity,” Pueyo said.

“Now, we are in a very important moment and shift in Saudi,” she continued. “This is what I think Bonjour Saudi is about; how we want to make an impact on people. Even if they only have one hour, we can connect them with the right person to deliver a message about the country, about the culture — about their passion — and I hope the guests will understand his or her vision of the Kingdom.”


Immersed in lilies — ‘Imagine Monet’ brings art to life in Jeddah

Immersed in lilies — ‘Imagine Monet’ brings art to life in Jeddah
Updated 09 July 2024
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Immersed in lilies — ‘Imagine Monet’ brings art to life in Jeddah

Immersed in lilies — ‘Imagine Monet’ brings art to life in Jeddah
  • The tech-powered exhibition showcases more than 200 masterpieces

JEDDAH: Visitors have the chance to immerse in the ethereal artworks of Claude Monet as the “Imagine Monet” exhibition, created by renowned artists Annabelle Mauger and Julien Baron, debuts in Jeddah.

Part of the 2024 Jeddah Season 2024 until July 28, the exhibition is powered by large scale displays of the paintings of one of the foremost figures of the impressionist school of art.

The exhibition also features a dedicated section for children, designed to engage young visitors with a blend of fun and education. (Supplied)

“Imagine Monet” showcases more than 200 masterpieces and is organized into three distinct sections, each offering a deep dive into different aspects of Monet’s life and work.

The first section shines a spotlight on Monet himself, his family, garden, and the landscapes that inspired him. The second section is dedicated to his famous series, including “Haystacks,” “Rouen Cathedral,” and “Gare Saint-Lazare.” The exhibition ends in a breathtaking display of Monet’s garden in Giverny and his iconic “Water Lilies” series.

HIGHLIGHTS

• ‘Imagine Monet’ brings the artist’s masterpieces to life through the innovative use of 40 HD projectors and Image Totale technology.

• Developed by Albert Plecy and enhanced by Hans Walter Muller’s topo-projection, this technique allows Monet’s artworks to transcend their frames.

• The exhibition space is designed as a discovery room, offering 360-degree views on walls and floors to capture Monet’s artistic journey.

Abdullah bin Slaih, an educational guide at the exhibition, elaborated on Monet’s innovative use of light and nature in his work: “He loved to paint … he especially loved to paint nature as he saw it exactly. That’s why they call it Impressionism, because he impressions nature as it is right in front of him, spot on, without any single error.”

The exhibition also features a dedicated section for children, designed to engage young visitors with a blend of fun and education. (Supplied)

The exhibition showcases works from the 1872 “Impression, Sunrise” to the “Water Lilies” series painted between 1914 and 1926, Slaih noted. “Monet, with no assistance, was inspired very much by nature … the Japanese bridge, for example. He made different paintings of it. So, we can see it in variations, for example, where we can see the same scene but with different lighting effects.

“The water lilies from Japan fascinated him so much that he brought them back home to Giverny, France. He painted them in different variations, angles, and reflections of the sun and lighting. This exhibition allows us to see the same subjects in different settings, such as sunshine, sunset, and different seasons,” he explained.

The exhibition also features a dedicated section for children, designed to engage young visitors with a blend of fun and education. (Supplied)

The exhibition combines the authenticity of Monet’s art with the advancements of modern technology, providing an educational yet deeply engaging experience suitable for all ages.

Visitors to the “Imagine Monet” exhibition are invited to immerse themselves in a transformative experience where Monet’s masterpieces come to life through the innovative use of 40 HD projectors and Image Totale technology.

Part of the 2024 Jeddah Season, the exhibition is organized into three distinct sections, each offering a deep dive into different aspects of Monet’s life  and work. (Supplied/SPA)

Developed by Albert Plecy and enhanced by Hans Walter Muller’s topo-projection, this technique allows Monet’s artworks to transcend their frames, filling the exhibition space with high-definition projections. The exhibition space itself is designed as a discovery room, offering 360-degree views on walls and floors that provide a comprehensive perspective on Monet’s artistic journey.

Visitors can explore Monet’s works from various angles, engaging in an audio-visual experience that deepens their understanding of his artistry while following their own path through the art, discovering new details and connections at their own pace.

The exhibition also features a dedicated section for children, designed to engage young visitors with a blend of fun and education. This area includes a green grass maze where kids can explore and play, surrounded by art installations and plants that reflect Monet’s love for nature. Interactive activities, such as creating their own artworks inspired by Monet’s style, and Monet-themed storybooks that introduce them to the artist’s life and work, are also available for younger visitors.

Arwah Masoud, a local art enthusiast, said: “Walking through the ‘Imagine Monet’ exhibition felt like stepping into a dream. The immersive experience brings Monet’s masterpieces to life in a way I've never seen before. It's breathtaking to see the same scenes in different lights and seasons, and the music adds an emotional depth that truly transports you into Monet’s world.”

Mohammed Saud, visiting with his children, expressed: “This exhibition is ideal for all ages. My kids were fascinated by the vibrant colors and interactive elements. It’s more than just an art display; it’s an educational journey that deepened our appreciation of Monet’s genius.

“They especially enjoyed painting and creating artwork in the kids’ section, which allowed us to explore the space and discover new details in each painting. It’s a great way for parents to keep their children engaged while we enjoy the exhibition.”

 


AlUla unveils groundbreaking study on Neolithic settlements in northwest Saudi Arabia

AlUla unveils groundbreaking study on Neolithic settlements in northwest Saudi Arabia
Updated 09 July 2024
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AlUla unveils groundbreaking study on Neolithic settlements in northwest Saudi Arabia

AlUla unveils groundbreaking study on Neolithic settlements in northwest Saudi Arabia
  • Research, conducted under the auspices of the Royal Commission for AlUla, reveals a more sophisticated society than previously imagined
  • Jane McMahon from the University of Sydney explained that they have uncovered a complex community that engaged in cattle herding, crafted jewelry, and participated in extensive trade

RIYADH: New archaeological evidence reshapes the understanding of Neolithic life in northwest Saudi Arabia, according to a study published in the journal Levant.

The research, conducted under the auspices of the Royal Commission for AlUla, reveals a more sophisticated society than previously imagined, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Jane McMahon from the University of Sydney, working with a research team as part of an RCU-supervised excavation project explained that they have uncovered a complex community that engaged in cattle herding, crafted jewelry, and participated in extensive trade networks. The strategic location of these settlements facilitated commerce with distant regions, including eastern Jordan and coastal areas along the Red Sea.

The research team has presented its latest conclusions and observations on archaeological investigations of structures known as standing stone circles. These dwellings consist of vertically placed stone slabs forming circles with diameters ranging from four to eight meters.

The study examined 431 standing stone circles at various sites in Harrat Uwayrid in AlUla, with 52 undergoing field surveys and 11 being excavated.

Researchers found that stone slabs, arranged in two concentric rows, likely served as foundations for wooden poles, possibly made of acacia. These poles would have supported the structure’s roof. At the center of each circular dwelling, a single stone slab appears to have anchored the main wooden column. This architectural feature suggests a sophisticated understanding of weight distribution and structural support among the ancient inhabitants. The discovery of various tools and animal remains at the site has led archaeologists to propose that dwelling roofs were fashioned from animal hides.

McMahon explained that “this research challenges hypotheses about how early northwest Arabian inhabitants lived.” She emphasized that these people were not merely simple pastoralists but had distinctive architecture, domesticated animals, jewelry, and diverse tools. Based on the number and size of stone circles, their population was likely substantial and much larger than previously thought.

Rebecca Foote, who heads archaeology and cultural heritage research at the RCU, has emphasized the significant impact of the commission’s archaeological initiatives. Under the RCU’s supervision, what is described as the world’s most comprehensive archaeological program has yielded crucial insights into the lives of Neolithic inhabitants in the region. Foote underscored the commission’s dedication to continued research efforts aimed at highlighting AlUla’s diverse cultural heritage and ongoing work towards establishing a globally recognized hub for archaeological studies.

Researchers examining animal bones from the Harrat Uwayrid site have uncovered evidence of a robust prehistoric economy. The findings indicate that the ancient inhabitants relied on a mix of domesticated animals like goats and sheep, and wild animals such as gazelles and birds for their livelihood. This diverse approach to animal exploitation likely provided the population with resilience in the face of environmental fluctuations.

Excavations have unearthed tools linked to animal husbandry, including implements for wool shearing and sheep slaughter.

Arrowheads discovered match types used in southern and eastern Jordan, indicating clear interaction between the regions.

Small perforated snail and seashells, likely used as decorative beads, were found at the sites. These shells correspond to those from the Red Sea, 120 km away, suggesting import from the coast during the Neolithic period.

Other artifacts include sandstone and limestone ornaments and bracelets, as well as a piece of red sandstone chalk, possibly used for drawing.

Researchers concluded that the study “greatly clarified the connected (yet distinct) nature of the Neolithic period in AlUla.”

The research team included experts from King Saud University, local AlUla residents like Youssef Al-Balawi who provided ethnographic and cultural insights, and students from the University of Hail.


Resin art shines at third Hail House Festival

Resin art is a modern handcraft which involves blending liquid resin with a hardening agent to create shapes. (SPA)
Resin art is a modern handcraft which involves blending liquid resin with a hardening agent to create shapes. (SPA)
Updated 05 July 2024
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Resin art shines at third Hail House Festival

Resin art is a modern handcraft which involves blending liquid resin with a hardening agent to create shapes. (SPA)
  • The festival aims to introduce visitors to ancestral lifestyles, showcasing traditional food, clothing, housing and everyday life practices, while also presenting various regional and external folk arts and shows

RIYADH: The resin art pavilion at the “Hail House,” themed “Your Home Away from Home,” now in its third year, has become a major attraction at the Aja Park during its 30-day run.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that visitors of all ages, drawn to this distinctive art form, have flocked to the pavilion amid the festival’s traditional and artistic atmosphere.

Resin art is a modern handcraft which involves blending liquid resin with a hardening agent to create shapes. (SPA)

Resin art, a modern handcraft, involves blending liquid resin with a hardening agent to create solid, aesthetically pleasing shapes used in various applications.

Artist Layla Saleh Al-Shammari, who has been perfecting the craft for five years, showcased a diverse range of creations including women’s accessories, office and home decor, wall art, pens and serving platters.

HIGHLIGHT

The festival also features popular folk art performances, including the Saudi Ardah and Samri dances.

Her work incorporates techniques such as sea wave and shell imitations, geode stone replications, and the integration of natural materials such as plants and flowers. Al-Shammari also highlighted her use of local elements such as coffee, cardamom and the red sands characteristic of the Hail region, as well as palm fronds and Thamudic inscriptions.

Resin art is a modern handcraft which involves blending liquid resin with a hardening agent to create shapes. (SPA)

Al-Shammari outlined the financial viability of her craft due to its high demand, expressing gratitude to the festival organizers for the opportunity to exhibit these handcrafted items in a heritage setting.

The festival also features popular folk art performances, including the Saudi Ardah and Samri dances, which have captivated visitors with their traditional sword dances and chants.

Resin art is a modern handcraft which involves blending liquid resin with a hardening agent to create shapes. (SPA)

Marsal Al-Marsal, head of the Hail Folk Arts Group, said that “over 30 young performers present eight daily shows, incorporating national themes and traditional instruments like drums and swords.”

The performances showcased traditional Haili arts featuring aerial maneuvers, drums, swords and banners, reaffirming the enduring appeal of Haili folk arts at such festivals among enthusiasts of regional heritage.

Resin art is a modern handcraft which involves blending liquid resin with a hardening agent to create shapes. (SPA)

The festival aims to introduce visitors to ancestral lifestyles, showcasing traditional food, clothing, housing and everyday life practices, while also presenting various regional and external folk arts and shows.

This year, the Madinah region, represented by Yanbu governorate, is also participating with a special pavilion.

Faisal bin Salem Al-Juhani, the pavilion supervisor, explained that it featured Hijazi architecture, including two 150-year-old houses that demonstrated the distinctive and renowned “rawashin” (projecting oriel windows) of the region. These prominent windows, measuring between 60 cm to more than one meter, not only served ventilation purposes but also enhanced the aesthetic appeal and provided wide vistas for the household members.

The Madinah pavilion includes models of old Madinah neighborhoods, a fully equipped traditional fishing boat representing the western coast, and displays of traditional utensils, clothing and heritage models.

According to Al-Juhani, “the participation aims to promote Saudi cultural heritage, particularly that of the Madinah region.”

Al-Juhani thanked the organizers for providing the platform and opportunity for participation in these well-received events over the past three events. He said that he looked forward to future engagements at Hail House.

 


Saudi artist Ahmed Mater on his solo show at Christie’s London 

Saudi artist Ahmed Mater on his solo show at Christie’s London 
Updated 08 July 2024
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Saudi artist Ahmed Mater on his solo show at Christie’s London 

Saudi artist Ahmed Mater on his solo show at Christie’s London 
  • ‘Chronicles’ runs July 17 to August 22 and features a selection of work from the Nineties to the present day  

DUBAI: On July 17, Christie’s London will inaugurate a mid-career retrospective of one of Saudi Arabia’s most significant conceptual artists, Ahmed Mater. Showcasing photography, works on paper, and installation art, the “Chronicles” exhibition will feature a selection of Mater’s creations dating back to the Nineties, when he first started experimenting with painting.  

“Art is a time machine that everyone is looking for. Art can take us to the past and imagine the future, which is a powerful thing,” Mater tells Arab News.   

Mater was born in 1979 and worked as a doctor before rising to prominence in the art world with his X-Ray and magnet artworks, providing social commentary on changes happening within the Kingdom.  

Saudi contemporary artist Ahmed Mater. (Ela Bialkowska/Courtesy of Ahmed Mater and Galleria Continua)

“I always admired the work of Dr. Ahmed, who is from my generation and my age,” says the exhibition’s curator, Dr. Ridha Moumni, who is the chairman of Middle East and North Africa at Christie’s. “He’s an introspective artist that works on ideas, rather than mediums.  

“He’s an artist who can speak very well about his work, but, for me, he’s an artist who produces work that speaks to everyone in a different language,” Moumni continues. “His process of maturation can be seen on many layers — be it social, cultural, religious or political — that are present in his country and, by extension, in the Arab world.”    

Here, Mater discusses five pieces from his show, which runs until August 22. 

‘The Book of Magnetism’ 

This is a new artwork that I wanted to introduce in this exhibition. It is a continuation of an earlier magnet artwork I made, on a small scale, of the Ka’aba in Makkah. For me, “The Book of Magnetism” is important because it tells the story of knowledge and how it shapes our life and culture. The oldest invention known to mankind is the book. I presented this book in a way that emanates the holiness of religious books.  

‘Desert of Pharan’ 

This is one of the pieces in my “Desert of Pharan” series, a project related to Makkah, where I put hundreds of found objects, photographs and video art about the city into a single room. This photograph is called “Nature Morte.” The project as a whole tells the story of Islamic Makkah, one of the most visited cities on Earth, as well as showing a study of urban planning in the city. I’m showing how new urban phenomena has changed the city, and how Makkah will influence the future of Islamic cities around the world.  (Image courtesy of the Dalloul Art Foundation.)

‘Ashab Al-Lal’ 


This project is based on the idea of the mirage. It’s a project I’m creating for Wadi AlFann in AlUla. In the London exhibition, I’m showing this sculptural maquette of this upcoming artwork. It’s a form of public art. It’s a very environmental piece, connected to the land. I usually work with the ideas of exposure, the body and photography. This piece, using mirrors, reflects our bodies to the sky, like a real mirage. The idea is that you go inside a place in the desert, and when you are in the middle of this artwork, our bodies will reflect for other people to see. There is something theatrical about it too.  (Image courtesy of the Royal Commission for AlUla.)

‘Lightning Land’ 

“Lightning Land” is a photograph that has a very nice landscape with lightning happening in the middle. I took this photograph on the way to Dammam in Saudi Arabia. I was actually just taking a picture of the oil refinery and tent that you see in the image. On that afternoon, it was stormy and dusty, and I wanted to this take a picture for a dramatic effect. I didn’t edit anything. I kept it as it was. When the lightning happened, it felt like a good gift. It’s an image that says a lot. The image is poetic evidence of the transformation that is happening in Saudi Arabia.  

‘Our Mother House’ 

This is an old, patterned artwork that the curator Dr. Ridha found in my studio and decided to show in the exhibition. It’s not my painting, but my mother’s. She is a mural painter of ‘Al-qatt al-Asiri’ — painting on the walls of homes, which women do in the southern part of the Kingdom. It’s very symbolic and decorative. Each mural elegantly tells the story of a family and its social background.