At Jeddah’s Qasr Khuzam, Argentina art event BIENALSUR enthralls with sight, sound and shadow

The exhibition titled ‘Echoes: A World Between Analogue & Virtual’ is composed of immersive works, which play with the visitors’ shadows, the echo of their voices, and the reverberations of the surrounding sounds. (Supplied)
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Updated 03 December 2021

At Jeddah’s Qasr Khuzam, Argentina art event BIENALSUR enthralls with sight, sound and shadow

  • More than 30 creative contemporary artworks, including 5 by Saudis, highlight a wide range of themes

JEDDAH: BIENALSUR 2021, the second edition of the cultural event of contemporary art from Argentina to the world, arrived in Jeddah, and residents are in for a breathtaking cultural experience.

Twenty artists from 13 countries are showcasing their work at the exhibit that opened its doors on Dec. 1 at Qasr Khuzam. Hosted by the Ministry of Culture, the exhibition titled “Echoes: A World Between Analogue & Virtual” is composed of immersive works, which play with the visitors’ shadows, the echo of their voices, and the reverberations of the surrounding sounds.

Qasr Khuzam served as the first residence in Jeddah for King Abdulaziz Al-Saud. The palace is characterized by its unique architectural style featuring art nouveau and art deco influences, with large entry halls and symmetrical staircases succeeded by interconnected wings. These attributes serve as a striking backdrop for the exhibition, addressing the acoustic phenomena of echo and reverberation, utilizing them as metaphors for how people naturally move in the world between analog and virtual situations. 




Saudi artist Ahaad Al Alamoudi displays her artwork at the exhibition.

With more than 30 works by artists being showcased, including five by Saudis, the display deals with themes ranging from environmental awareness, artistic politics to transit and migrations.

Organized by the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero in Buenos Aires under the direction of its rector and passionate art collector, Aníbal Jozami, and the event’s creative director, Diana Wechsler, the second edition of the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of South America was based on a global network of institutional collaboration that erases distances and borders, as well as upholding singularity in diversity.

Both Wechsler and Jozami told Arab News that its presence in Saudi Arabia is part of the dialogues for peace and international integration through art and culture, which BIENALSUR contributes to.

It will be the first time that an exhibition of visual arts, designed to converge with other ways of thinking, is presented to the Saudi public. 

“We want to change the art map of the world, the paradigms. We believe that there are cultural and artistic expressions that have always remained,” said Jozami. “BIENALSUR is the proof that there’s still space for surprising and innovative ideas.”

Wechsler added: “The exhibition seeks to convey to the viewer a reflection on this way of inhabiting the present. This varied selection of artists and works aim to recreate such a flow of the contemporary individual from a poetic dimension. 

“We invite visitors to explore spaces that are not fully acknowledged and to identify images that will arouse surprise and reflection.”

The exhibition “recovering stories, recovering fantasies” occupied most parts of the restored Jeddah Regional Museum architecture building — considered one of the best museums in Jeddah — with works by Saudi artists Ahaad Al-Amoudi, Lina Gazzaz, Felwa Nazer, Muhannad Shono, and Daniah Alsaleh. 

There are also works by Tony Oursler and Chris Larson from the US, Darren Almond from Britain, Argentina’s Matilde Marin; Carola Zech, Hugo Aveta, from Spain. Daniel Canogar and Tanja Demanrom will feature from Croatia. From Switzerland, there is Sève Favre, and from Mexico, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Polish artist Angelika Markul will attend alongside French artists Anais Lelievre, Cecile Bart, and photographer Valérie Jouve. From South Korea there’s Sujin Lim, and Joel Andrianomearisoa from Madagascar.

Among all those international artists, Darren Almond’s work offers two altered modalities of one of the latest ways to display hours as a mode of expressing time digital clocks.

Saudi artist Ahaad Al-Amoudi tries to understand the correlation between light and darkness through her video. “In the piece itself, I am studying how sometimes light is projected to us whether through family or friendships or personal needs and how we stripe toward the light,” she said.

Al-Amoudi introduces the premises that give rise to her video installation, which are focused on how information is shared and at the same time defines us as subjects in society.

South Korean artist Sujin Lim explores the dimensions of change in the natural environment and, along with it, the landscape on another horizon from another island.

While entering her dark exhibition room, Saudi artist Lina Gazzaz’s project “Shadow/Light Room” explores and seeks to capture the action of light on the elements to activate ideas from these lights in different manners.

“The room is part of a larger study that includes different artistic applications such as glass, sculpture, drawings, prints and experiments are still ongoing. The room also is arranged according to the echo system between the 40 images and the number of woods around 2,000 slow careful movements which is part of the experience,” she said.

The exhibitions travel the world to countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Paraguay, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, and others.


Saudi, Bulgarian foreign ministers hold talks

Updated 27 May 2022

Saudi, Bulgarian foreign ministers hold talks

SOFIA: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Thursday met his Bulgarian counterpart Teodora Genchovska during an official visit to Bulgaria’s capital Sofia.

During their meeting, they discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries in various fields and reviewed the latest developments on a number of regional and international issues.

Prince Faisal and Genchovska also talked about consolidating economic ties in relation to the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan, stepping up political cooperation, and promoting bilateral efforts to bolster international peace and security.

Saudi Ambassador to Bulgaria Khalid Fakih, and the director general of the office of the Saudi foreign minister, Abdulrahman Al-Daoud, also attended the meeting.

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AmChamKSA discusses women empowerment during 2nd Women in Business Committee meet

Updated 27 May 2022

AmChamKSA discusses women empowerment during 2nd Women in Business Committee meet

  • The main theme of the AmChamKSA’s diwaniya was women empowerment and leadership in the business world

JEDDAH: The American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia (AmChamKSA) has held its second Women in Business Committee diwaniya at Sunbulah Group’s head office in Jeddah.

In Saudi culture, a diwaniya is a gathering of people in a special room at home or casual setting, usually for tea or coffee, where different issues or friendly conversations on political and social issues affecting the community are discussed.

The main theme of the AmChamKSA’s diwaniya was women empowerment and leadership in the business world. Attendees enjoyed monologues from two guest speakers, Mrs. Kaya Ikuma, wife of the consul general of the US, and Dr. Abeer Bar, who focuses on educational leadership and policy studies. They shared their inspirational life experiences as career women and mothers. 

Dr. Abeer Bar

Dr. Bar briefed everyone with a well-received presentation about higher education, current research in female leadership under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plans, and how advanced education impacts empowering women and the mindset and policies in place to boost the country’s economy.

“Women from different sectors and around the world face similar challenges. It is important to celebrate women in their multiple roles in society and business and share experiences through such a platform that will help encourage and motivate women of different nationalities,” she told Arab News.

She added: “The Women in Business Committee spotlights women who have made it in their respective fields and recognizes those who go above and beyond in their work areas. Being an educator, I highly appreciate AmChamKSA for the warm welcome and for creating an inviting atmosphere to freely talk about the trials and triumphs in my career journey.”

The event was followed by an open dialogue that circulated around the topic, with a few attendees sharing their personal experiences and struggles in balancing careers and family life.

Some of them shared their experiences in changing sectors after many years so they could concentrate on family life.

Rozana Al-Tayyar, a professional mediator in business disputes, was one of the attendees who shared her amazing career-changing inspirational story from banking to arbitration during the open dialogue.

All of the attendees expressed how there is power in sharing stories for inspiration, education and uplifting others. The AmChamKSA members chose to share authentic stories from a diverse range of Saudi women in leadership roles. Each woman bravely contributed their story in the hope of encouraging others.

Among the many success stories, the members of AmChamKSA welcomed two iconic Saudi women who are excelling in their fields and climbing the stairs to leadership roles: Roaa Zaki, founder and CEO of the Design Studio, and Nouf Aldhahri, assistant F&B manager at the Jeddah Hilton. 

Nouf Aldhahri and Mohamad Tafesh

Rola Osta, the engagement manager of the chamber’s Jeddah chapter, said: “The AmChamKSA and Women in Business Committee members were highly interested in attending more of these insightful events, building the bilateral relationship between Saudi and US businesses while focusing on creating the engagement on the advancement of women as outlined in the Vision 2030 development goals.”

Mohammad Tafesh, vice president of the Jeddah chapter, said that these events help attendees build connections and enjoy thoughtful conversation on issues that focus on empowering, inspiring and motivating each other.

“As an organizer, we aim to hold more events, seminars, and panel discussions to bring in business leaders — both men and women — to share stories and to foster more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive workplaces. Through this event, I am hopeful that everyone will leave with clear ideas on how to empower women and create workplaces that empower them,” Tafesh said.

Decoder

Diwaniya

In Saudi culture, a diwaniya is a gathering of people in a special room at home or casual setting, usually for tea or coffee, where different issues or friendly conversations on political and social issues affecting the community are discussed.


French envoy praises Yanbu, as ancient port city looks to the future

Updated 26 May 2022

French envoy praises Yanbu, as ancient port city looks to the future

  • ‘The tourist potential of Yanbu is impressive. It is captivating, both the traditional architecture of its historic district, and the beauty of its coasts and exceptional rich seabed’

RIYADH: The French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ludovic Pouille, has highlighted Yanbu’s tourist potential during a visit to the ancient Red Sea port city in Saudi Arabia’s western region.

Pouille was welcomed by Yanbu Gov. Saad Al-Suhaimi, along with the consul general of France in Jeddah, Mostafa Mihraje, on Wednesday for discussions on industrial and tourist development in the governorate and the strengthening of ties with France.

Pouille told Arab News en Français: “The tourist potential of Yanbu is impressive. It is captivating, both the traditional architecture of its historic district, and the beauty of its coasts and exceptional rich seabed, as well as its surrounding mountains that offer promising perspectives in eco-tourism.” 

The French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ludovic Pouille, concluded his first day in the old town of Yanbu with a “very pleasant” visit to the traditional night souk. (Supplied)

Yanbu, a few hours’ drive west from Madinah, is the second-largest city on the shores of the Red Sea after Jeddah.

Pouille praised Yanbu’s gastronomy, saying that it “offers the best fresh fish in the country and the most delicious Sayadieh brown rice.”

The French envoy visited the Royal Commission in Yanbu and met with its CEO, Fahad Dhaifallah Al-Qurashi, and his team. 

On the second day of his tour in Yanbu, the Ambassador visited on Thursday the industrial and commercial port of King Fahad, one of the most important ports in the Red Sea. (Supplied)

Pouille and Al-Qurashi discussed the contribution of French companies to the economic development of the industrial city.

The ambassador also met with the mayor of Yanbu, Yasser Al-Rifai, for discussions that focused on the city’s promising industrial, energy, cultural and tourist outlook.

Pouille said that within the framework of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan, “the industrial development plans of the city and the port should double in the next 15 years, and also create many opportunities for strengthening Franco-Saudi economic relations.” 

Captain Ali Salem Al-Mehwari, Director General of King Fahd Industrial Port and Yanbu Commercial (right) and French ambassador Ludovic Pouille. (Supplied)

He ended his first day in the old town of Yanbu with a visit to a traditional night souq, where products made by the women’s cooperatives of the region are displayed and sold as part of the women’s empowerment policy steered by the governorate.

On the second day of his tour, the ambassador on Thursday visited the industrial and commercial port of King Fahd, one of the most important ports in the Red Sea.

Thanking Capt. Ali Salem Al-Mehwari, director general of King Fahd Industrial Port and Yanbu Commercial, for his warm welcome, Pouille said: “The greeting I received there from the authorities and the population confirms, if need be, the renowned Saudi hospitality.”

The French envoy ended his tour by visiting the industrial city, where he met with the CEO of the Yasref Refinery, Hicham Al-Adel, who established a strategic partnership with the French multinational Air Liquide group in the field of hydrogen production.


The Gulf-European Parliamentary Committee holds 5th meeting

Updated 26 May 2022

The Gulf-European Parliamentary Committee holds 5th meeting

  • The Gulf-European Parliamentary Committee is one of the permanent committees emanating from the periodic meeting of the heads of the Shoura, Representatives, National and Nation Councils in the GCC

RIYADH: The Shoura Council hosted today the fifth meeting of the Gulf-European Parliamentary Committee. The meeting was held virtually with the participation of several members of the Shoura, Representatives, National, and Nation Councils in the Gulf Cooperation Councils.

The meeting began with the committee offering its deepest condolences to the government and people of the UAE for the passing of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The committee also congratulated and sent its sincere blessings to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on his election as president of the UAE, wishing him and the country more success, progress and prosperity.

In his speech, Shoura Council member and Chairperson Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nahas stressed the importance of coordinating Gulf stances to unify parliamentary diplomatic efforts towards all Gulf-European issues.

The committee agreed that the presiding state will work with the GCC General Secretariat to initiate a bilateral meeting with the European Parliament delegation for relations with the Arabian Peninsula.

The committee will also coordinate between the presiding state and the General Secretariat regarding communication with the European Parliament to determine the date of the mutual visits.

The Shoura Council delegation participating in the meeting included council member and chair of the meeting, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nahas, the secretary-general of the Shoura Council, Mohammed Al-Mutairi, and council member Dr. Tariq Al-Shammari.

The Gulf-European Parliamentary Committee is one of the permanent committees emanating from the periodic meeting of the heads of the Shoura, Representatives, National and Nation Councils in the GCC.

The committee is concerned with studying issues related to parliamentary relations between the legislative councils in GCC countries and the European Parliament.


Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

Updated 26 May 2022

Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

RIYADH: Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, met Jonathan Kerr, the director-general of the Middle East and Africa Department at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues relating to human rights and the development of bilateral cooperation.

Also present at the meeting was Barney Riley, New Zealand’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

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