Art Residency Al-Balad showcases concludes 2022 edition with Jeddah art exhibition 

The Art Residency Program Al-Balad concluded its 2022 edition with an art exhibition organized by the Ministry of Culture in Tamer House, Al Sharafiyah district, on Jan 25, in Jeddah. (Supplied)
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Updated 28 January 2023

Art Residency Al-Balad showcases concludes 2022 edition with Jeddah art exhibition 

JEDDAH: The Art Residency Program Al-Balad concluded its 2022 edition with an art exhibition organized by the Ministry of Culture in Jeddah’s Tamer House, Al-Sharafiyah district, on Jan. 25.

The show, which runs until Feb. 4 features the works of more than 30 artists who took part in the four residency cycles held in Al-Balad from March to October 2022.

Launched in the same period as the Islamic Arts Biennale, the exhibition aims to promote Jeddah as a top destination in the art world and encourage cultural conversations on tradition, innovation, harmony and conflict, as well as urban and natural environments.

A distinguished group of Saudi, Arab and international artists presented their works and interacted with the public to discuss their visions for the transitional state of Jeddah.

The show features the works of more than 30 participants who took part in the four residency cycles held in Al Balad from March to October 2022. (Supplied)

Mohamed Ali Ghomriani, managing director of Hafez Projects, said: “The Art Residency Al-Balad was a unique experience for all of us. Hafez Projects as the operator of the program was very fortunate to be able to witness this wonderfully creative and inspiring journey. It facilitated residents, artists, curators and writers to share and exchange what goes on within the walls of the Jeddah historical district with the wider public and vice-versa.

“Now we can only celebrate the success of this important process and engage by showcasing the art projects produced thanks to the art residencies through a final exhibition,” he added.

Speaking to Arab News, Andrea Alkalay from Argentina, a visual artist in photography, said: “It is lovely to revisit my friends’ works by seeing them in an exhibition and also to discover the work of other residents. This exhibition definitely consists of a highly rich and diverse range of works, all inspired by the same location but in very different ways.”

Alkaly is exhibiting her project, “The Rock Cycle,” with three pieces from her work representing the cycles of change, the idea of demolishing to transform. The remains of Al-Balad houses served as her inspiration, and she used materials, collages, gold leaves and other techniques in her work.

Andrea Alkalay from Argentina, is exhibiting her project, “The Rock Cycle,” with three pieces from her work representing the cycles of change, the idea of demolishing to transform. (Supplied) 

She said: “The Art Residency Program Al-Balad and the Ministry of Culture allowed me to discover the Kingdom in an absolutely inspiring atmosphere. The ability to freely develop my creativity and materialize it at no cost enabled me to expand my imagination without boundaries. I was able to start a new project, which I am excited to investigate and develop further. Being offered this incredible opportunity with a studio place for six weeks in such a unique location has been a dream.

“This kind of community building is fundamental to my own enhancement within the arts. There are many artists I was introduced to who have shifted ideas on how I think about art-making, and what I make,” she added.

Some of the pieces created during the residency were shown in Argentina and also during Miami Basel week. For Alkaly, the residency was an integral and rich learning experience.

Nahla Khogeer, a wooden sculpture visual artist from Jeddah, said: “I discovered Al-Balad from a different perspective as if I had never been there. I learned new things from the community and the residents. I’m thankful to the Ministry of Culture and Hafez Projects for this opportunity to showcase my talent.”

Taking part in the exhibition with her artwork “Roads to Memory,” Khogeer documents the four historical neighborhoods of Al-Balad using wooden screens (Al-Mangour) that feature architecture from the district. The original mangour pieces embody the pathways of these areas.

"Roads to Memory" by Nahla khogeer documents the four historical neighborhoods of Al-Balad using wooden screens. (Supplied)

Donia Al-Shetairy, a multidisciplinary visual artist from Yemen, said: “During the residency, I was given important educational opportunities. Most importantly, space and support were provided to focus on my art practice and to develop a new project.”

Her work, “Speech of the Stone,” reimagines the city of Al-Balad through sound to focus on the importance of reviving and preserving the auditory memories of the city. “This exhibition offered me a chance to present my work in a bigger space and attract a larger audience, unlike the open studio. The previous period (between the end of my residency and the final show) was a continuation of my research on recordings and oral heritage, which enriched the discussion with the audience,” Al-Shetairy added.

The exhibition will feature a poetry reading session by author Bakr Al-Jaber, a clay sculpting workshop with artist Maan Alabbadi and an outdoor projection by artist Ahmed Al-Sindi.

As part of the Ministry of Culture’s Advancing Cultural Entrepreneurship initiative and Saudi Vision 2030’s Quality of Life Program, and operated by Hafez Projects, the second edition of the Art Residency Program Al-Balad 2022 edition offered opportunities to several emerging artists, curators, writers (critics and art historians), and those in the middle of their careers in the field of visual arts, from the Kingdom and around the world.

The free exhibition is open to visitors until Feb. 4.

Global industry leaders to descend on Riyadh for entertainment, amusement summit, expo

Updated 23 February 2024

Global industry leaders to descend on Riyadh for entertainment, amusement summit, expo

  • The event will showcase innovation and industry trends, bringing together global experts and sector leaders
  • This year’s SEA Expo aims to highlight the Kingdom’s entertainment and leisure plans

RIYADH: The Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Summit and Expo is set to return to Riyadh from May 7 to 9 with exhibitors from around the world showcasing the latest advances in the sector.
Organized by dmg events, SEA 2024 will run alongside the Saudi Light and Sound Expo and will be held at the Riyadh Front Exhibition and Conference Center.
The event will showcase innovation and industry trends, bringing together global experts and sector leaders.
At a recent advisory board meeting in Riyadh, members identified key trends for 2024 that would be used to shape the agenda of the SEA Expo. These included exploring global investment strategies, understanding the next-generation market, empowering the Saudi workforce, embracing green entertainment, and examining crypto tech.
Developing next-generation talent emerged as a priority, recognizing the sector’s potential to contribute more than $23 billion (3 percent) toward the Kingdom’s gross domestic product by 2030 while creating at least 100,000 jobs.
Advisory board member and executive director of attractions at Saudi Entertainment Ventures, Doug Stagner, said: “What’s happening in Saudi Arabia has never been done before in the attractions industry.
“There are ground-breaking attractions and rides that have never been built before, and there are new concepts and ideas that will come out of Saudi Arabia, including discussions at this year’s Expo which will end up in other parts of the world, so what’s happening here has a much larger impact that extends beyond the borders of Saudi Arabia.”
This year’s SEA Expo aims to highlight the Kingdom’s entertainment and leisure plans and create opportunities in the industry to drive the country toward achieving its goals under Vision 2030.
With hundreds of international and local brands from more than 40 countries, SEA Expo will act as a platform to showcase new and innovative products from its 350 exhibitors.
Advisory board officials noted that the SLS Expo 2024 would focus on tourism, curating events that capture Gen Zs, and deep diving into the potential of technology.
The SLS Summit, a focal point of the Expo, will delve into the impact of tourism on the entertainment and events realm, looking at how the influx of global visitors was reshaping the industry and inspiring innovation.
Sarkis Kahwajian, portfolio director at dmg events, said: “We are witnessing exponential growth in the entertainment and live events’ space industry in the Kingdom, and it’s driving a demand for the latest technology coupled with a hunger to understand changing market dynamics in the pro light and sound landscape across the country.
“This year, the SLS Expo will set the stage for innovators, manufacturers, and lighting and sound professionals as they generate leads, forge connections, and usher in a new era in our industry.”

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

Updated 22 February 2024

Hail deputy governor joins Zubaida Trail for Founding Day

HAIL: Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Hail region, took part in a Zubaida Trail caravan on Thursday to mark Founding Day celebrations.

The caravan, overseen by the Heritage Commission and organized by the Caravans Trails Association, began its journey from the historic city of Fayd to Sumaira’ Province.

Prince Faisal honored the sponsors and partners, and along with hikers, horseback riders, camel riders and cyclists, took part in the caravan journey.

Along the route, the deputy governor spoke to groups taking part in the event, including Saudis and foreigners in the Kingdom.

Prince Faisal praised the government’s support for the heritage sector, and commended the dedication of all parties involved in the caravan program.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Obeida, general supervisor of the Zubaida Trail, praised the support given to the initiative by the Saudi leadership, as well as the Hail governor and his deputy.

He said that the scheme aims to revitalize the ancient route, which is one of many in Saudi Arabia dating back over 1,000 years.

Al-Obeida highlighted the importance of community involvement in sustaining and developing the trail route for economic, cultural and tourism purposes.

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

Updated 22 February 2024

Endangered native animals released in Saudi reserve

AL-ULA: Fourteen Arabian oryxes and 40 Arabian sand gazelles have been released into the Gharameel nature reserve by the the National Center for Wildlife.

The conservation effort at Gharameel, located 60 km north of AlUla, took place with cooperation from the Royal Commission for AlUla.

The reserve features unique biodiversity throughout its rock and sand formations, and hillsides.

Resettlement of endangered native species is a key target of the center, as well as restoring biodiversity and environmental balance as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Animal reintroduction also promotes the RCU’s plan to activate six nature reserves while regenerating AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage.

The formations of rocky pillars in the area were created through wind and rain erosion over thousands of years.

AlUla is also a popular stargazing destination for tourists from around the world.

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

Updated 22 February 2024

Saudi honeybee program achieves 200% productivity boost

RIYADH: The honeybee breeding program — spearheaded by the Sustainable Agricultural Rural Development Program “Saudi Reef” in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture — is poised to make a substantial impact on bee populations.

A select group of model beekeepers has achieved an impressive 200 percent increase in productivity by implementing the program.

According to the “Saudi Reef” program, the surge in production is attributed to a strategic focus on expanding queen bee rearing within the breeding and propagation program.

Additionally, the adoption of innovative production techniques and best practices, including hive management and organic beekeeping, has played a key role.

These practices have been documented in a booklet distributed to beekeepers and have yielded significant production boosts in several model farms established by the project.

Expanding on its success, the program plans to roll out projects for “bee queen breeding and nuclei production” across eight centers spanning regions such as Jazan, Najran, Asir, Baha, Makkah, Madinah, Hail and Tabuk.

Each center is expected to produce 5,000 queen bees annually, characterized by purity and high-production specifications.

This will enable beekeepers to expand queen bee breeding and bee colonies while preserving favorable genetic traits for enhanced production and resilience against diseases and environmental factors.

The honeybee development and honey production sector is a key focus of the “Saudi Reef” program. Since its inception, the program has had significant increases in production, enhancing the income and living standards of its beneficiaries.

To increase food security and agricultural self-sufficiency, Saudi Arabia unveiled an ambitious initiative in August last year to produce more than 7,500 tons of honey annually as part of the Saudi Reef.

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

Updated 22 February 2024

Makkah expo focuses on next steps for hotel, culinary sectors

  • Saudi employees trained at top schools bringing skills back to the Kingdom

MAKKAH: The Makkah Expo for Hotels and Restaurants, held at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Exhibition Center, ended on Wednesday evening.

The exhibition’s fifth edition was inaugurated by Vice Chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce Mustafa Rajab and involved officials, business owners and company representatives.

A large number of companies and institutions representing the hotel and culinary sectors, specialized in serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors, attended the three-day exhibition, which was held in collaboration with the Unit for Exhibition Organization.

Abdullah Haneef, the acting secretary-general of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce, told Arab News: “The exhibition provided an opportunity to access the best practices in the hotel and restaurant sectors, as it brought together a select group of people specialized in this field in Makkah, a pioneer in the hotel sector field attracting large numbers of visitors from around the world.”

He added that industry officials exchanged business ideas and showcased modern tools and technology, food products and hotel and restaurant supplies, and took part in several accompanying events.

Haneef added: “The exhibition offers an opportunity for investors, interested parties, specialized companies and experts in the hotel and restaurant sector from inside and outside the Kingdom, to display their products to investors and interested individuals and exchange expertise, as well as engage in commercial deals between exhibitors, participants and individuals interested in the hotel and restaurant sector.”

The exhibition also hosted a salon for culinary arts and live cooking demonstrations.

Khalid Al-Ghamdi, an investor in the hotel sector, said that the Saudi industry has begun a strong post-pandemic recovery, and is fulfilling its role in serving visitors.

He added that intensive training programs Saudi employees are undertaking in top international hotel schools are helping them apply their knowledge back in the Kingdom.

Al-Ghamdi said that the restaurant sector is facing significant challenges but also opportunities, including smart digital solutions.

Makkah is one of the most significant and holiest places worldwide, drawing millions of Muslims for religious rituals such as Hajj and Umrah, he added.

The city should therefore focus on enhancing future innovation plans and smart marketing to make the hospitality sector a top performer, through innovative solutions and major investment, he said.