New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage

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The Traditional Building Arts Exhibition showcase includes traditional painting techniques using natural pigments sourced from plants, insects and stones. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)
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The Royal Institute of Traditional Art and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts announced on Saturday the graduating of the first class from the Traditional Building Arts Diploma program in historic Jeddah. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
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Khaled Azzam, director, of the Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
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The Royal Institute of Traditional Art and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts announced on Saturday the graduating of the first class from the Traditional Building Arts Diploma program in historic Jeddah. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
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The Royal Institute of Traditional Art and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts announced on Saturday the graduating of the first class from the Traditional Building Arts Diploma program in historic Jeddah. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
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The Royal Institute of Traditional Art and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts announced on Saturday the graduating of the first class from the Traditional Building Arts Diploma program in historic Jeddah. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
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Suzan Alyahya, CEO of TRITA. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
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Updated 07 November 2023
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New Saudi graduates aim to revive Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage

  • Al-Balad exhibition showcases work of first diploma holders in Traditional Building Arts & Crafts
  • Students had to demonstrate proficiency in woodwork, gypsum carving, architectural drawing, decorative painting

JEDDAH: The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts and the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts have announced the first graduates of their inaugural diploma course, aimed at producing experts that can help protect and revive Jeddah’s cultural heritage.

The diploma in Traditional Building Arts & Crafts was completed by 11 students — 10 female and one male — from diverse backgrounds. Their names were announced at a ceremony in Al-Balad, Jeddah recently.

Their work is on display at the Traditional Building Arts Exhibition in Bayt Naseef, the museum and cultural center; and highlights the inspiration they drew from the architecture of Historic Jeddah, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.




The diploma in Traditional Building Arts & Crafts was completed by 11 students. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)

Suzan Al-Yahya, CEO of the institute, said during the ceremony: “Our aim at the Royal Institute for Traditional Arts is to foster a creative and inspirational setting that nurtures and highlights the national talents within the realm of Saudi traditional arts. These arts hold a significant place in our cultural identity and heritage, and we endeavor to engage individuals in preserving them and recognizing their economic, historical, scientific and social significance.”

Khaled Azzam, director of the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, said: “The Building Arts & Crafts Diploma program in Al-Balad, delivered by the foundation in partnership with the royal institute, engages future generations with their historic heritage as a living tradition.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Traditional Building Arts Exhibition in Bayt Naseef is being held until Nov. 18.

Historic Jeddah’s architecture relies on three primary raw materials: wood, gypsum and natural pigments.

• The royal institute’s program is aimed at producing experts that can help protect and revive Jeddah’s cultural heritage.

The graduates had to demonstrate proficiency in a variety of traditional techniques, encompassing woodwork, gypsum carving, architectural drawing, nabati designs, color harmony, and decorative painting with natural pigments. They had to also participate in local heritage projects in Al-Balad, and offer perspectives on preserving tradition in modern times.

Graduate Mustafa Hassan told Arab News: “We grew up in the enchantment of the historical city, and now it’s our turn to discover the secret behind its astonishing architectural charm.




Suzan Al-Yahya, Royal Institute of Traditional Arts CEO

“I am a huge fan of Historic Jeddah and its architecture. The program has been fantastic (in) providing us with an opportunity to delve into the world and intricacies of the architectural design unique to Historic Jeddah, starting from the smallest architectural components.”

Historic Jeddah’s architecture relies on three primary raw materials: wood for a wide array of crafts and arts, gypsum for intricate sculpting and carving, and natural pigments for vibrant coloring.

Our aim at the Royal Institute for Traditional Arts is to foster a creative and inspirational setting that nurtures and highlights the national talents within the realm of Saudi traditional arts.

Suzan Al-Yahya, Royal Institute of Traditional Arts CEO

“Our education delved deep into the intricacies of Historic Jeddah’s architectural heritage. We meticulously studied, designed, and executed every facet of it, guided by our esteemed professors, who took great care to ensure the precision of the conveyed knowledge,” added Hassan.

One of the standout exhibits is a meticulously handcrafted wooden door created by several students. This showcases the art of “Tashiq” which includes woodwork, bone inlay, and brass work. “The endeavor was a month-and-a-half-long project that speaks to our dedication and craftsmanship,” Hassan explained.




The Traditional Building Arts Exhibition showcase includes traditional painting techniques using natural pigments sourced from plants, insects and stones. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)

Another graduate Hanan Bucklain, an architect, said: “During these two years at the royal institute, our horizons expanded as we discovered new crafts we were previously unaware of and acquired remarkable skills.

“Before embarking on the grand projects we have showcased, we learned to apply every existing craft by visiting the actual historical site through field trips. These excursions allowed us to witness the precision of execution in detail, and from there, we proceeded with drawing and application.”

The qualification equips designers and craftspeople with the knowledge and professional skills needed to deliver high-quality traditional work relevant to contemporary life.




The Traditional Building Arts Exhibition showcase includes traditional painting techniques using natural pigments sourced from plants, insects and stones. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)

Another highlight of the exhibition is the creation of a “Roshan” wooden architectural feature crafted by the students. It serves to filter light and air, and can be used to maintain privacy.

Students also showcased an intricate form of wood-carved screens, known as “Mangour,” that can be used to replace walls.

The exhibition also features traditional painting techniques using natural pigments sourced from plants, insects and stones.

The exhibition is open to the public until Nov. 18.

For more information about the royal institute’s courses, visit trita.edu.sa.

 


Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project

Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi cultural center to launch reading, anti-desertification project

  • Ithra in Dhahran hosts event which includes Alexandria and Rabat
  • Goal is to read 500,000 pages and plant 5,000 trees in 3 Arab cities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture launches Thursday a three-day reading marathon and anti-desertification project, that will take place in three Arab cities.

Also known as Ithra, the center will host the event in cooperation with the Library of Alexandria and the Moroccan National Library. It will be held simultaneously in the Kingdom’s city of Dhahran, Alexandria in Egypt and Rabat in Morocco, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The center is promoting reading, especially in public libraries, and all three cities will ensure a tree is planted for every 100 pages read.

The aim is to have participants read 500,000 pages and plant 5,000 trees.

To plant the trees, the Ithra center is working with the National Center for Vegetation Development to Combat Desertification in Saudi Arabia, and authorities in Egypt and Morocco.

Each reader will receive a commemorative medal for participating.

Bronze medals will be awarded to those who read 100 pages, silver for 200 pages, and gold for 1,000 pages.

The first edition of the marathon was held inside the Ithra library, achieving 162,000 pages read and 1,622 trees planted. The second edition was also held in the Ithra library and two libraries in Riyadh and Tabuk, with 422,000 pages read and 4,222 trees planted.

The planting of seedlings took place in October in the Al-Ahsa National Park with the participation of several readers.


Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh

Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi crown prince meets with Ukraine president in Riyadh

  • Saudi-Ukrainian relations, latest developments in Ukrainian-Russian war were discussed
  • Crown prince stressed Kingdom’s support for all international efforts aimed at resolving crisis

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in Riyadh on Tuesday.

During their meeting, aspects of Saudi-Ukrainian relations were reviewed, and the latest developments in the Ukrainian-Russian war were discussed, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The crown prince stressed the Kingdom’s support for all international endeavors and efforts aimed at resolving the crisis and achieving peace, and continuing efforts to alleviate the humanitarian repercussions of the war. 

Zelensky wrote on social media platform X that he would discuss prisoners of war and deportees with the crown prince.

“The Kingdom’s leadership has already contributed to the release of our people. I am confident that this meeting will also yield results,” he wrote. 

The crown prince was involved in securing the release of 10 foreign prisoners captured in Ukraine in September 2022 which then enabled a major prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine.

The president added that he will discuss “promising areas of economic cooperation and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Ukraine’s reconstruction” during his visit. 

Zelensky left Riyadh later on Tuesday evening and was seen off by deputy govenor of Riyadh Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz.


Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy

Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi, Qatari communications ministers discuss joint initiatives to support growth of digital economy

  • The parties discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the countries in digital government

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha on Tuesday met his Qatari counterpart Mohammed Al-Mannai in Doha, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The parties discussed ways to expand the strategic partnership between the countries in digital government and the digital economy, and techniques to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship system.

“This is in line with the aspirations of the Saudi-Qatari Coordination Council to support and strengthen the partnership between the two brotherly countries,” the SPA’s statement said.

The meeting was attended by several leaders of national technology companies in the fields of business, digital transformation, and digital health solutions, along with other representatives from both parties.


Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law

Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi Cabinet approves new railway law

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved on Tuesday new regulations that govern the railways in the Kingdom.

The decision “supports achieving the goals of the National Transport & Logistics Strategy, and contributes to the governance of the railway sector and regulates the relationship between the infrastructure owner, the operator and the beneficiary,” Minister of Transport and Logistic Services Saleh Al-Jasser said.

The new regulations will ensure that railway services providers continue to apply the highest standards and requirements for safety and quality, and will develop policies and legislation that ensure fair competitiveness, the minister added.

In 2023, the number of railways passengers exceeded 11.2 million, a 55% increase compared to 2022. Trains also transported 24.7 million tons of goods and minerals, an increase of 6% during the same year.

Al-Jasser stated that regulations will contribute to encouraging use and ensure the protection of railways, their infrastructure, and facilities in accordance with internationally approved standards. 

The new law also specified penalties to protect railway tracks from violations and damage to the network.

The minister thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the new law.


Saudi Cabinet calls for an end to escalation of military operations in Gaza

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet held a meeting in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi Cabinet calls for an end to escalation of military operations in Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet called for an end to the escalation in military operations in Gaza and the dire humanitarian crisis that it is causing, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The Cabinet also reviewed the outcomes of the Kingdom’s participation in a two-day meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Rio de Janeiro and its vision regarding the group’s role in dealing with existing international tensions and restructuring global governance.

The Cabinet also reiterated the Kingdom’s support for regional and international efforts to ban all types of weapons of mass destruction as was expressed during its participation in the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

The Cabinet also praised the outcomes of a recent Arab Interior Ministers’ Council held in Tunisia and stressed the Kingdom’s constant keenness to support and enhance joint Arab action in all fields in a way that contributes to establishing the foundations of security, stability, and prosperity in the region.