Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023 kickstarts 4th edition themed ‘Energy of Harmony’

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Updated 10 January 2023

Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023 kickstarts 4th edition themed ‘Energy of Harmony’

The fourth edition of Tuwaiq Sculpture began on Jan. 8, featuring 30 artists from around the world producing large-scale sculptures that will become permanent fixtures of Riyadh’s urban landscape as public art. Themed “Energy of Harmony,” this edition of the annual sculpture symposium will continue until Feb. 10 and features a live-sculpting event along with a public program of more than 65 activities, including panel discussions and interactive workshops that welcomes the public.

Participating sculptors for Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023 have been selected by a jury panel of experts from 650 applications received via open call. Hailing from 20 countries as far as Austria, China, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland, as well as a strong representation from Saudi Arabia, the artists have exhibited works internationally, with a number working as academics within the field of sculpture. Their proposed works consider concepts such as synergy, nature, and pose questions around the human experience, rendered in abstract and figurative forms.

Launched in 2019, Tuwaiq Sculpture is part of the broader Riyadh Art program, one of the largest public art projects undertaken in the world today. Riyadh Art seeks to turn the city into a “gallery without walls,” with more than 1,000 artworks to be displayed across Saudi Arabia’s capital. To date, Tuwaiq Sculpture has engaged with 90 renowned local and international artists and thousands of visitors.

For the first time since its launch, Tuwaiq Sculpture will be using stone sourced from Saudi Arabia, specifically granite and Riyadh stone, also known as sandstone. Sarah Al-Ruwayti, Tuwaiq Sculpture project manager, said: “The decision to use stones from our local quarries poses symbolic significance for Tuwaiq Sculpture, specifically to highlight Saudi Arabia’s rich history with the medium, from ancient artifacts to rock carvings and modern-day sculpture. In addition, we wanted local and international artists to connect with material drawn directly from the country’s environment. These granite and sandstone, once transformed into beautiful artworks, will fill Riyadh’s public spaces, from parks to cultural and commercial areas for residents and visitors to see and appreciate.”

The sculptors began working on the stones on Jan. 8, with the public invited to witness the sculpting live on a dedicated site in Durrat Al-Riyadh, located in the north of the city. After the sculptural works have been completed, Tuwaiq Sculpture will culminate in an exhibition that runs from Feb. 5 to 10. 
In parallel to the creative process, more than 65 community engagement events will take place, including interactive workshops in the realms of calligraphy, lino print, wood sculpting, as well as stone and glass carving. A series of enriching panel discussions will explore a range of topics, from the techniques of sculpture and principles of design to urban ecology and the business of art. To reach a wide variety of audiences, Tuwaiq Sculpture’s community events will take place from January to February in two locations across Riyadh, Durrat and JAX District, with activities for beginner and intermediate levels conducted in English and Arabic.

“Energy of Harmony,” the theme of Tuwaiq Sculpture 2023, was developed by curator Marek Wolynski and reflects on the fundamental characteristic of human existence — the ongoing synthesis of opposing forces. It encourages artists to reimagine sculptural possibilities and capture manifestations of ephemeral processes of introducing, witnessing, and experiencing change.
Wolynski is also the chairperson of the jury panel that has selected the Tuwaiq Sculpture artists, consisting of Alaa Tarabzouni, co-founder of Very Public and an architect, artist, and curator, whose practice focuses on urbanism and the built environment; Ali Al-Tokhais, a sculptor with a practice spanning 40 years and an expert in stones originating from Saudi Arabia; Dr. Effat Fadag, an acclaimed academic whose work revolves around the arts, culture and heritage of Saudi Arabia; and Johannes von Stumm, a critically acclaimed sculptor, president of the Oxford Art Society and past president of the Royal Society of Sculptors in the UK.

Participating artists will contribute to Tuwaiq Sculpture’s community engagement program, which will host school and university visits, providing students direct exposure to various sculptural practices, as well as sculpting skills, tools, techniques, and materials.

The full artist list is as follows:

Agnessa Petrova Bulgaria
Aleksandre Phophkhadze Georgia
Ana Maria Negară Romania
Azhar Madlouh  Saudi Arabia
Bertha Shortiss Switzerland
Damjan Komel Slovenia
Fahad Aljebreen Saudi Arabia
Ikram Kabbaj Morocco
Javier Alvarez Germany
José Millán Spain
Liliya Pobornikova Bulgaria
Lyudmyla Mysko Ukraine
Marino Di Prospero Italy
Mohamed Elsayad Egypt
Mohammad Al-Faris Saudi Arabia
Mohammed Al-Thagafi Saudi Arabia
Nilhan Sesalan  Turkiye
Noha Alsharif Saudi Arabia
Qian Sihua China
Rajaa Alshafae Saudi Arabia
Rob Good United Kingdom
Roland Hoeft Germany
Sasho Sazdovski North Macedonia
Stefan Esterbauer Austria
Sylvain Patte Belgium
Talal Altukhaes Saudi Arabia
Tatsumi Sakai Japan
Vasilisa Chugunova Russia
Wafa Alqunibit Saudi Arabia
Yannick Robert France

Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Cultural District: A transformative, global, and diverse destination

SCD 3D render sunset (Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi)
Updated 22 May 2024

Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Cultural District: A transformative, global, and diverse destination

When it comes to how we see the world and our place within it, our outlook is defined by a whole host of factors: geography and history are fundamental, as is our economic situation, not least because they impact our sense of self, purpose and ambition. 

In a column for the Financial Times, journalist Janan Ganesh reflected on how different the world looks from the UAE and Europe, especially when it comes to the trends that define 21st century globalization. It is no longer tenable, Ganesh argued, to think of a globalist “as someone who knows London and Paris.”

Consider then, just how different the view is from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, where cross-cultural exchange and dialogue have been woven into the emirate’s history and heritage for millennia. Culture remains an integral and organic part of the community in Abu Dhabi, a legacy from the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, who set the cultural agenda in the 1950s through archaeological excavations near the ancient city of Al-Ain, where he also inaugurated the UAE’s first museum in 1971. That visionary legacy has positioned Abu Dhabi as a global center for cultural excellence and dialogue and led to the creation of the Saadiyat Cultural District Abu Dhabi.

Once completed, the diversity of Saadiyat Cultural District’s institutions will make the district one of the world’s most unique cultural platforms dedicated to intellectual exchange and transformative creativity. Home to museums, narratives, collections, and inspirational public programming, Saadiyat Cultural District has been created as a center where visitors can experience a journey of the world’s history and collective culture, seen from the perspective of the global south.

The district is already home to Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first universal museum in the Arab world showcasing artworks from different cultures side by side and telling a story of human connections. Nearby, Berklee Abu Dhabi offers music, and performing arts educational programs for talents throughout the wider region.

Manarat Al-Saadiyat serves as a center for creative artistic expression and is home to two significant initiatives in Abu Dhabi’s cultural calendar: Abu Dhabi Art and Culture Summit Abu Dhabi, both of which harness Abu Dhabi’s role as a global cultural hub, showcasing the city to the world and bringing international perspectives to the capital. The Abrahamic Family House welcomes people to connect, explore, and reflect, while deepening their understanding of our common humanity through mutual dialogue and knowledge exchange.

With construction at 76 percent, Saadiyat Cultural District will soon be home to the Zayed National Museum, the national museum of the UAE that celebrates the nation’s rich history and culture and honors Sheikh Zayed’s legacy. It will also host the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, which will take visitors on a 13.8-billion-year journey through the story of our universe and planet. Additionally, teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi will offer visitors an experiential journey into the future, transcending the limits of their imagination, and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will establish itself as the region’s pre-eminent museum for contemporary art and culture.

More than a cultural destination, Saadiyat Cultural District is a global platform, emanating from a rich cultural heritage, celebrating traditions, and advancing equitable culture. It is a place of opportunity, exchange and innovation coupled with an impact-focused mission to champion creativity and promote a diverse global cultural landscape.

With over 200 nationalities and known trading links stretching back for millennia, Saadiyat Cultural District embodies a vision of the future informed by a profound sense of commitment and responsibility. It is reaffirming Abu Dhabi’s position as a beacon of cultural innovation and intellectual exchange, connecting the UAE’s rich heritage with the world’s diverse cultures, to enhance mutual understanding and position Abu Dhabi as a vital player on the global cultural stage.

For more information, visit:

Disclaimer: The [buildings] depicted in these images are conceptual illustrations. Actual buildings and layouts may differ from the representations shown here by the time of completion. All rights to the images and their contents are reserved. Unauthorised use, reproduction, or distribution of these images is strictly prohibited.


‘Party with Pepsi’: Pepsi unveils closing show for ROSHN Saudi League

Updated 21 May 2024

‘Party with Pepsi’: Pepsi unveils closing show for ROSHN Saudi League

  • Pepsi Becomes First Ever Brand to Take Center Stage at a Major Football Event in Saudi Arabia
  • Mystery DJs from MDLBEAST and superstar Fouad Abdulwahed to perform at the closing ceremony.

Pepsi will host the “Party With Pepsi” show, featuring the sensational singer Fouad Abdulwahed and a lineup of DJs, on May 23 at a major football closing ceremony in Saudi Arabia. This groundbreaking event marks the first time a brand will take center stage at a football event in the Kingdom. The unprecedented spectacle of light, sound, and celebration, in partnership with the ROSHN Saudi League, will not only showcase Pepsi’s bold new identity but also cement its position as a cultural vanguard, resonating with multiple generations through an electrifying musical journey from past to present.

The event will take place at the heart of Saudi cultural life, intertwining the excitement of football with the universal language of music, creating a platform where athletic passions and musical creativity collide. Through this event, Pepsi embodies a relentless quest for innovation and engagement, offering audiences not just a show but an experience that leaves them craving more. The motto “Thirsty for More” drives the event’s narrative, from the suspenseful reveal of mystery DJs blending iconic musical eras to a special performance by the superstar Fouad Abdulwahed, the finale promises continued innovation and excitement.

Pepsi has long stood as the sound of every generation, and “Thirsty for More” is more than just a brand slogan; it is a declaration of Pepsi’s commitment to pushing boundaries and pursuing excellence. By featuring a diverse lineup of artists who bridge the gap between generations, Pepsi demonstrates its unique ability to resonate with audiences both old and new. The show’s musical journey, meticulously curated by MDLBEAST, will transition from classic hits to contemporary anthems, illustrating Pepsi’s evolution while staying true to its roots.

Speaking about the campaign, Karim El-Fiqi, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at PepsiCo AMESA, said: “Recently, we launched our new identity and promised to keep delivering immersive and engaging experiences for our consumers. As part of the same, Pepsi will be the first brand to partner to create a never seen like before show at Roshn Saudi League. This event is a strategic move to solidify Pepsi’s standing as the premier brand that evolves with and supports the dynamic culture in Saudi Arabia. By aligning with the country’s burgeoning entertainment industry and rapidly expanding sports sector, Pepsi not only taps into the national zeitgeist but also sets the stage for future cultural engagements. This event is part of a broader strategy to embed the brand deeply into the cultural fabric of the markets it serves, making Pepsi synonymous with youthful energy and innovative experiences.”

Speaking about the collaboration, Ramadan Alharatani, chief executive of MDLBEAST, said: “This collaboration represents a powerful fusion of sports and music, igniting the passion of football enthusiasts through the universal language of music. With our meticulous curation of the musical journey, we aim to create an electrifying experience that resonates with multiple generations. Together with Pepsi, we are pushing boundaries, delivering innovation, and offering audiences an unforgettable experience that leaves them thirsty for more.”

Pepsi remains dedicated to supporting the growth and popularity of football in Saudi Arabia. Pepsi will not only deliver a spectacular finale but will also set a new standard for brand involvement in cultural events. This show will be a testament to Pepsi’s vision of staying at the forefront of cultural trends, delivering unmatched experiences that resonate across generations, and continuously inspiring audiences to remain “thirsty for more.”

Stay tuned as Pepsi continues to innovate and inspire. Follow @pepsi_Saudi for exclusive behind-the-scenes content and upcoming surprises. Join the conversation using #ThirstyForMore and share how Pepsi inspires you.

Two Saudi startups join climate action accelerator

Updated 19 May 2024

Two Saudi startups join climate action accelerator

Two Saudi startups are among the eight companies from the Middle East and North Africa region selected by PepsiCo, SABIC, AstroLabs and partners for their Mega Green Accelerator. The selected participants have all submitted an innovative solution focused on either advancing the circular economy, transitioning to clean energy, or mitigating climate change through technologies to improve water use and agricultural processes. Timed to coincide with this year’s GPCA Plastics Conference, themed “Innovating for Sustainable Growth,” the selected startups also presented to industry leaders who are accelerating the development of a circular economy in the region.

Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, PepsiCo and International Beverages

The Mega Green Accelerator will nurture the next generation of innovators as they develop solutions to address both regional and global sustainability challenges. For the next six months, the eight promising change-makers will receive funding, mentorship with industry experts, and market access to scale their innovative solutions. At the end of the program later this year, one winning company will be awarded $30,000 in funding to continue its expansion.


For the next six months, the eight promising change-makers will receive funding, mentorship with industry experts, and market access to scale their innovative solutions.

A total of 363 submissions were received from sustainable startups in the region during the applications phase. The eight shortlisted companies that will proceed in the program are:

•Mrüna, UAE: A consulting and distribution company dedicated to developing innovative urban solutions.
•The Surpluss, UAE: A climate technology startup that helps SMEs reduce their greenhouse gas emissions profitably through resource sharing via a digital sustainability exchange.

Startups can act as epicenters of innovation, and reshape, disrupt, and define our future.

Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, PepsiCo and International Beverages

•Mirai Solar, Saudi Arabia: A solar technology startup that specializes in expanding solar energy use beyond conventional applications, improving the energy use efficiency of food production and smart buildings for a sustainable future.
•Ahya Technologies, Saudi Arabia: A climate software and AI startup building a unified platform for scaling climate action across the Middle East North Africa and Pakistan.
•YY ReGen, Lebanon: The startup provides innovative solutions through the promotion of renewable energy, sustainable water management, and regenerative farming.
•Viridia Tech, Egypt: The startup offers a platform for crop analytics at scale for industrial agricultural companies, leading to significant improvements in yield, unit economics and sustainability metrics.
•P-VITA, Egypt: A biotechnology hub that specializes in producing natural raw materials for cosmetics, and food and beverage industries using AI and IoT technologies to reduce carbon footprint through automated processes.
•Kumulus, Tunisia: A water tech startup that turns air into fresh drinking water through innovative AWG machines — aiming to make drinking water more accessible, sustainable, and economical for hotels and businesses across MENA and Southern European regions.
“With solutions spanning agriculture, water, and the energy sectors, this is an opportunity for us to accelerate the development of practical climate technologies crucial to address the MENA region’s challenges and strengthen our position as a testbed for climate innovation globally. Startups can act as epicenters of innovation, and reshape, disrupt, and define our future. The Mega Green Accelerator provides the incentive to bolster this through cross-sector collaboration and nurture the region’s next generation of entrepreneurs by providing the needed mentorship, funding, and market access,” said Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, PepsiCo and CEO of International Beverages.
“Over 300 fast-growing sustainability companies from all over the MENA region have applied to the program, showcasing a healthy influx of sustainable solutions and rapid growth in the sector. The selection of these eight companies underscores their readiness for scale, marking a pivotal time in the sector’s development. The Mega Green Accelerator is setting the stage for a robust sustainability infrastructure, bridging the gap between these companies, and the resources necessary for them to thrive, scale, and translate their innovative solutions into regional impact,” said Roland Daher, CEO of AstroLabs.
Strategic investment partners like Dubai Future District Fund, Venture Souq and Shurooq Partners will provide platforms for investment opportunities, mentorship in raising capital, and networking opportunities throughout the term of the Mega Green Accelerator. Schneider Electric will support the Mega Green Accelerator as a prize partner alongside participating in the final selection of the winner.


SEREDO 2024 showcases housing projects

Deputy Minister of Municipal Rural Affairs and Housing Talal bin Mohammed Al-Khunain inaugurated the exhibition in Jeddah.
Updated 19 May 2024

SEREDO 2024 showcases housing projects

Deputy Minister of Municipal Rural Affairs and Housing Talal bin Mohammed Al-Khunaini on May 14 inaugurated the second edition of the Saudi Real Estate Development and Ownership exhibition in Jeddah.
Held at the Jeddah International Exhibition and Convention Center, the four-day event explored promising opportunities in the real estate development sector, while offering a platform for exchanging expertise, transferring best practices and experiences among professionals in the field, and strengthening local and international partnerships. The exhibition brought together leading real estate developers, providing an opportunity for companies to showcase their real estate products to specialists and interested individuals in the sector, and to foster new partnerships.
The exhibition covered a variety of topics related to the sector through its diverse sessions, notably including discussions on real estate sector developments and analysis of modern market trends, the utilization of geospatial data and its impact on shaping new horizons in real estate, methods and strategies to professionalize real estate auctions, entrepreneurship and innovation in the real estate market, real estate funds, and negotiation techniques for real estate brokers.

 These sessions featured the participation of officials, speakers, and specialists in the sector.
SEREDO 2024 witnessed the participation of several major real estate development companies, banks, and financial institutions. The event showcased the latest housing projects and financing offers for citizens, contributing to the development and sustainability of the real estate sector and enhancing housing diversity and financing solutions to support the goals of the housing program — one of the key initiatives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, aiming to achieve a 70 percent homeownership target.


DCAA spotlights air transport enablement at Airport Show 2024

Photo (@DcaaDubai)
Updated 19 May 2024

DCAA spotlights air transport enablement at Airport Show 2024

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority highlighted its pivotal role in advancing the aviation industry in the emirate during the 23rd Airport Show. Under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of DCAA, chairman of Dubai Airports, and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, the event saw participation from over 150 exhibitors from more than 20 countries worldwide.
One of the key achievements showcased was the significant growth in commercial activities in the aviation sector during the first quarter of 2024, totaling 11,990 activities, a 21 percent increase compared to the same period in 2023. This growth has led to a surge in permit requests by 72 percent and permit renewals have grown by more than threefold.
Meanwhile, requests for landing permits for aircraft (private, passenger, and cargo) at Dubai International Airport and Al-Maktoum International Airport to operate all types of non-scheduled and designated flights (commercial and non-commercial) have also increased, reaching more than 4,000 permits in the first quarter of 2024. Building and elevation permits in air easement zones have increased significantly as the emirate’s construction industry has grown, reaching two and a half times the previous level.
Mohammed Abdulla Lengawi, director general of DCAA, said: “The aviation industry of Dubai continues its sustainable growth thanks to the directives of our wise leadership represented by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, ruler of Dubai.”
He added: “Our participation in the Airport Show underscores our significant achievements in industry development, illustrating our mission and role within this framework.”
The authority’s pavilion at the Airport Show attracted considerable attention from visitors and partners keen to understand its role in advancing Dubai’s aviation industry and its shift to fully digital, paperless services. This digital transformation simplifies customer access, enabling them to complete transactions anytime and anywhere via the authority’s website.
DCAA is dedicated to close collaboration with federal authorities, international, and regional bodies to enhance air transport relations and attract investment in Dubai’s aviation industry. It aims to maintain security and safety, and enhance infrastructure to solidify Dubai’s position as a global aviation hub.