Saudi art expo highlighting ‘humanity’ opens in New York

Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, center, with the exhibition’s volunteers and guests on the opening day. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 10 October 2019

Saudi art expo highlighting ‘humanity’ opens in New York

  • The event is being sponsored by Arab News along with Saudi Signatures, a nonprofit association

NEW YORK: A Saudi art exhibition putting “humanity” under the spotlight has been launched in New York to coincide with UN talks.

While humanitarian discussions take place at the UN headquarters in the city, a quaint gallery in Manhattan’s Chinatown will be showcasing Arab-made art pieces that focus on the important issue.

The event is being sponsored by Arab News along with Saudi Signatures, a nonprofit association that seeks to share the Kingdom’s culture and promote Saudi artworks.

Saudi students from New York City universities have volunteered their time to guide visitors around the expo.

The top floor of the venue will be dedicated to paintings created by female Saudi artists, while the ground floor will display photographs of Saudi residents taken in the Kingdom. A large screen will show a video created by Arab News.

Saudi Signatures founder, Dr. Mariam Al-Eissa, holds a Ph.D. in molecular genetics of complex disorders and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She launched Saudi Signatures during her studies in the UK and expanded it to the US after moving to America.

“We are a group of artists who organize events trying to promote Saudi and Arab artists. ‘Humanity’ is a very sensitive topic but usually nobody draws a lot about humanity unless you ask for it.

“What we present is a different visual language where it’s self-explanatory. Because art is the language that everyone speaks, I think this is the best way to deliver the message that we need to stimulate the humanitarian part of every person by this event,” Al-Eissa told Arab News.

Perhaps the most unique part of the exhibition is an interactive art piece titled “You,” which involves visitors being invited to playfully dip their hands in white paint and imprint their fingers on a dark wall canvas.

Accomplished international artist Mohamad Hafez, who lived in Saudi Arabia for 15 years before settling in the US for studies and work, visited the space on the opening night to offer his support.

“Art is a very powerful tool. It was very heartwarming to see the beauty and complexity of the rich Arab culture displayed here,” he said.

“As a Syrian artist, I empathize with everything. The role of the artist is not to justify politics, but we should just highlight the humanity and the global message that surpasses the biases.

“Politicians want to build walls, but it is the artists’ responsibility to destroy these walls. Art is to build bridges. When cultures realize how much we all have in common, it is hard to then paint us with one wide brushstroke.

“In this exhibition, we are humanizing the population and we are giving a taste of Saudi. If you don’t believe us, see for yourself,” Hafez added.

The exhibition runs until Oct. 11 at Novo gallery at 263 Bowery, New York, NY 10002.

Egyptian president inaugurates King Salman International University in Sharm El-Sheikh

Updated 01 November 2020

Egyptian president inaugurates King Salman International University in Sharm El-Sheikh

RIYADH: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inaugurated King Salman International University in Sharm El-Sheikh on Saturday, in the presence of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, governor of Tabuk region.

Prince Fahd headed the Kingdom’s delegation at the opening ceremony on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Upon his arrival at Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, Prince Fahd was received by Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports Dr. Ashraf Sobhi and Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Osama Nugali.

At the opening ceremony the Egyptian president welcomed Prince Fahd and the accompanying delegation.

Then a documentary film was presented, tracing the building of the university in the Sinai Peninsula. The new establishment consists of 16 faculties and 56 programs related to three smart branches, at Tur, Ras Sedr and Sharm El-Sheikh, to meet the needs of the international labor market and the fourth industrial revolution.

The building of King Salman International University falls in line with the Kingdom’s program to develop the Sinai Peninsula.

Prince Fahd was accompanied by Minister of State Dr. Issam bin Saad bin Saeed, Minister of State for African Countries Affairs Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Qattan, Minister of Education Dr. Hamad bin Mohammad Al-Sheikh, and the vice president and managing director of the Saudi Fund for Development, Khaled Al-Khudairi.