MANAMA, 31 March 2006 — An ambitious plan to bring Saudi and Gulf women artists to the world by giving them wider exposure has been launched by a Saudi princess.
Princess Nouf bint Bandar Al-Saud said Wednesday during a press conference here that she hopes the art exhibitions for Saudi women she has been endorsing evolve into a venue to promote Gulf women artists globally.
“I am hoping that an exchange between the different Gulf and Arab cultures in the field of the arts would take place during these events, helping us to reach the same standing with the global arts movement,” she said. “My dream is to have art pieces from the Gulf that have a global touch displayed in museums and private galleries worldwide.”
Princess Nouf is in Bahrain to promote a five-day art exhibition for 25 Saudi women artists that will open on Sunday.
She added that Saudi women had been taking more of an active role in all aspects of society, which is reflected by their contributions to the fine arts movement there. “Fine arts does not play a big part in the life of people here as does poetry and writing. It is a relatively new phenomena in the Gulf,” she said. “We are hoping to change that as more and more people take notice of this cultural reflection of society.”
Princess Nouf, who is the director of the Riyadh-based Lahd Gallery of Fine Arts that opened in December 2005, pointed out that she found being a woman director of the gallery has made it easier for other Saudi women to approach her to promote their work.
“We are a large country with a conservative society. That is why women find it easier to deal with women to promote their works,” she said.
The five-day exhibition “Eye on Jeddah” will feature more than 50 pieces by Saudi women artists from Jeddah and the Eastern Province.
“We have a mixture of known and unknown names at the gallery because the aim is to encourage the fine arts movement and give exposure to those who are lesser known,” she said.
The pieces in the upcoming exhibition had already gone on show in Riyadh and Kuwait.
Princess Nouf said that she was pleased that Bahrain’s Deputy Secretary for Culture and National Heritage Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa, who has been the driving force behind promoting Bahrain as a cultural hub, will be opening the exhibition.
“She is someone who has a deep appreciation for culture and arts that is why I happy that she would be the one opening it,” she said.
Princess Nouf — who studied genetics at Kings College in London and currently works as a doctor — is an artist herself.