Swiss artist pays homage to heritage in Riyadh show

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Swiss artist Vlad Pocol based the exhibition in Riyadh around three ideas: heritage, transition, and vision. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Swiss artist Vlad Pocol. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Swiss artist Vlad Pocol. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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In Vision, we are immersed in a beacon of optimism, linking the artist’s hopefulness for the future to the promise of Saudi’s Vision 2030. (Supplied)
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Swiss artist Vlad Pocol. (Supplied)
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(Left to right): The Ambassador of Switzerland in the KSA, Yasmine Chatila Zwahlen, Gallery Director of Ahlam Gallery Saif Youssef, Swiss artist Vlad Pocol. (Supplied)
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Photo/Supplied
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At Ahlam Gallery’s latest solo exhibition by Swiss painter Vlad Pocol, art connoisseurs and enthusiasts are taken on an exciting journey of the artist's nuanced narrative. (Supplied)
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Saudi artist Mohammed Al-Ajlan at the exhibition opening alongside Pocol's painting titled JA DEU TU CERTO. (Supplied)
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Updated 12 May 2024
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Swiss artist pays homage to heritage in Riyadh show

  • ‘From Roots to Vision’ by Vlad Pocol is inspired by Saudi Vision 2030 and his own personal journey

RIYADH: In Ahlam Gallery’s latest solo exhibition, Swiss painter Vlad Pocol examines the ties that link past, present and future — with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 as a reference point.

“If you could explain your artworks in one word, what would it be?” one listener asked. “Intuition,” Pocol replied, explaining the basis of his first show in the Kingdom.

The artist relied on intuition when he decided only a few months ago that Saudi Arabia would be his new home, leading him to create an exhibition based around three ideas: heritage, transition, and vision.

The immersive exhibition titled “From Roots to Vision: A Migration” urges observers to think about heritage, and challenge the possibilities of the future as we weave our past legacy for generations to come.  




Ambassador of Switzerland to the Kingdom Yasmine Chatila and Pocol discussing a patched installation made of discarded materials salvaged from artwork waste. (Supplied/AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

Pocol told Arab News: “It’s great to evolve, but it’s also important to stay rooted in our own heritage. I’ve taken Saudi Arabia as an example. Everyone is so excited with what’s happening with the Vision (2030), but everyone is still so rooted and respectful and inspiring in a collective way … that can also inspire us in an individual way.”

Within the “Heritage” collection, “Identites” delves into the themes of self-reflection and outsider perceptions. Four papier mache panels woven together by rope encourage the viewer to see alternative versions of themselves as they are layered in complexity with oil paint.

It is great to evolve, but it is also important to stay rooted in our own heritage.

Vlad Pocol, Swiss artist

“Legacite” is a series of six artworks that explores the themes of circularity, continuity, and generational cycles. In a single dot, each painting prompts a reflection on the viewer’s part within these continuous loops.  




Swiss artist Vlad Pocol based the exhibition in Riyadh around three ideas: heritage, transition, and vision. (Supplied)

The highlight of the show, “Sans Fin,” is a mirage of moving images constructed by strokes of paint. The piece is inviting, yet mysterious, prompting us to question our capability to grow using the metaphor of a black hole — you never know what may lie in the unknown.  

In 2018, when Pocol was a lawyer, he was invited by a colleague to a workshop centered around recreating the work of a contemporary artist. After an accident that resulted in a damaged painting, he developed a technique to repair the artwork.




Swiss artist Vlad Pocol based the exhibition in Riyadh around three ideas: heritage, transition, and vision. (Supplied)

“My technique gives structural movement. When you see my paintings, you enter a world … it’s moving. My energy also comes up in the artwork,” he said.

In “Transition,” the works invite viewers to consider what lies beneath the surface, with more sculptural works coming into play.

Another installation is made of discarded materials salvaged from artwork waste. What we deem as undesirable is turned into something valuable, and even beautiful, challenging us to reconsider sustainability practices and our role in global consumption.  

In the “Vision” collection, the artist’s optimism about the future is linked to the promise of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

His work “Dessen” is based on a childhood memory of winning his first drawing contest, and celebrates the impact of early creative expressions on future artistic development.  

While “Elles” is a tribute to femininity and the women in his family, nearby twin works are inspired by the artist’s migration from Romania to Switzerland.  

Pocol describes the green-colored “Ja Deu Tu Certo” as “one of the most personal” works in the collection.

“Any pieces I’ve offered to my mom have been green because I really believe in the power of healing and the green (color). My mother has been fighting metastatic cancer for two years now,” he said. The work conveys his belief that “she will be well.”

He said the color also holds significant meaning in Saudi culture, as it stands for pride and patriotism.

Reflecting on showcasing his works in the Kingdom, Pocol said: “It’s so significant to have my exhibition here. While I have roots from Romania, 30 percent of my genes are Middle Eastern. Being here in Saudi Arabia is very subconscious. I feel at peace, like I’m coming back to something.  

“I’ve traveled a lot in my life and it’s the first time I’m able to find a new home outside of Switzerland … once you follow your intuition, it gets you to whatever is meant for you. That’s why I’m here in Saudi Arabia. It’s meant to be.”

The exhibition will run until June 2.

 


King Abdulaziz Foundation organizes Saudi-Chinese relations seminar in Beijing

Updated 37 sec ago
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King Abdulaziz Foundation organizes Saudi-Chinese relations seminar in Beijing

  • Seminar discussed maritime trade between two countries, role of Chinese libraries in caring for Arabic manuscripts

LONDON: The King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives, organized a scientific seminar on cultural and economic relations between Saudi Arabia and China from June 19-23 in Beijing, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The seminar was held as part of the Beijing International Book Fair, which featured the Kingdom as the guest of honor. It discussed a variety of topics, including maritime trade between the two countries and its cultural and economic implications, the role of Chinese libraries in caring for Arabic manuscripts and preserving Arab heritage, and Arab heritage in China.
Numerous agreements of cooperation in the fields of energy, trade, and investment have strengthened the two countries' strategic partnership. Both countries participated in initiatives aimed at boosting global trade, including joint projects to develop ports, railways, and industrial zones.
Cultural exchanges and academic programs have helped to improve understanding between the two peoples, and Saudi Vision 2030 has broadened the scope of economic cooperation with China in areas such as technology, renewable energy, and infrastructure development.
 


Saudi Arabia to host 56th International Chemistry Olympiad

Updated 32 min 11 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia to host 56th International Chemistry Olympiad

  • Participation of more than 340 students expected 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to host the 56th International Chemistry Olympiad, with participation from more than 340 students and 400 university professors and chemistry teachers from 90 countries, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The prestigious event, which will run from July 21-30 at King Saud University, is organized by the Ministry of Education, and King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, and boasts exclusive sponsorship from the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation.

The event is a global chemistry competition in which talented high-school students from around the world compete in the subject. It aims to inspire interest in the subject through the solving of complex and creative chemistry problems; promote international communication in the field; and foster friendships among young science enthusiasts from diverse nationalities.

It will mark the first time Saudi Arabia has hosted the event.

Secretary-General of Mawhiba Amal bint Abdullah Al-Hazzaa said Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the olympiad was testament to the Kingdom’s commitment to supporting talent, science, and innovation, in line with the goals of Vision 2030.

Al-Hazzaa added that Mawhiba had prepared for the event through several parallel tracks, including strengthening coordination with partners to ensure an exceptional hosting experience; preparing talented students for strong competition; and aiming to achieve new milestones for the nation.

Members of the International Steering Committee for the International Chemistry Olympiad praised the Kingdom’s comprehensive preparations during a recent visit to Riyadh.

Their visit included meeting the Saudi minister of education, who launched the awareness campaign for the event in January.

The Kingdom has collected 14 silver and 25 bronze medals at the event in the past, and the Saudi team secured four prestigious awards at the 2023 International Chemistry Olympiad in Switzerland.
 


MAWANI and REVIVA establish recycling and industrial waste complex at Jeddah Islamic Port

MAWANI signed on Sunday a SR30million contract with Reviva to establish a complex for recycling marine and industrial waste.
Updated 57 min 41 sec ago
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MAWANI and REVIVA establish recycling and industrial waste complex at Jeddah Islamic Port

  • Contract is part of the efforts exerted by MAWANI to promote environmental sustainability and maintain the safety of the marine environment

RIYADH: The Saudi Ports Authority, MAWANI, signed on Sunday a SR30million ($8 million) contract with the Global Environmental Management Services Ltd., or Reviva, to establish a complex for recycling marine and industrial waste at Jeddah Islamic Port.

The president of MAWANI, Omar bin Talal Hariri, and the CEO of of the Saudi Investment Recycling Co., Ziad bin Mohammed Al-Shiha, signed the contract in the presence of a number of other officials.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the contract is part of the efforts exerted by MAWANI to promote environmental sustainability, maintain the safety of the marine environment, and build a sustainable maritime sector that enhances the Kingdom’s position as a global logistics center and a hub connecting three continents.

The implementation of the contract comes in line with the National Transport and Logistics Strategy and the Green Port Initiative. The new complex will contribute to enhancing the transformation of waste into valuable resources while building a thriving circular economy in the Kingdom.

According to SPA, these objectives can be met by providing comprehensive waste management and recycling solutions, industrial maintenance and transportation services, and recycling by-products. As such, waste volume is significantly reduced while waste management and environmental conservation improves.

The strategic cooperation scales up the outcomes of efforts exerted to achieve waste management goals in the Kingdom in line with Saudi Vision 2030. It also increases the private sector’s contribution to supporting economic development and listing Jeddah Islamic Port under the Top 10 ports in the world.

MAWANI is keen to introduce pioneering initiatives directly related to the Saudi Green Initiative which aims to reduce emissions, address climate change, and enhance the partnership between the public and private sectors to expand the related scope of work and thus, improve the commercial attractiveness of the Kingdom’s ports in the eyes of the whole world.


National Cybersecurity Authority joins UN Security Council talks

Updated 23 June 2024
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National Cybersecurity Authority joins UN Security Council talks

  • The Kingdom emphasized the importance of striving to create a safe and reliable cyberspace

RIYADH: The Saudi National Cybersecurity Authority participated in a high-level open discussion session held by the UN Security Council titled “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Addressing Evolving Threats in Cyberspace.”

Senior officials and permanent representatives of member states of the UN, as well as the secretary-general of the organisation, Antonio Guterres, participated in the session.

Leading the Saudi delegation was the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Wasil. The delegation included representatives from the cybersecurity authority, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The session addressed developing a common understanding among states on enhancing the role of the Security Council in addressing cyberthreats, in light of the Security Council’s primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, taking into account the potential threat to international peace and security posed by malicious activities in cyberspace.

The Kingdom emphasized the importance of striving to create a safe and reliable cyberspace that enables growth and prosperity, especially since enhancing cybersecurity is essential to protect the vital interests of countries as well as national security.


Jeddah Season 2024 launching June 27

Jeddah Season 2024 will launch next week under the slogan “Once Again.” (@JEDCalendar)
Updated 23 June 2024
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Jeddah Season 2024 launching June 27

  • Jeddah Season 2024 will offer a variety of entertainment, tourism and cultural activities

JEDDAH: Jeddah Season 2024 will launch next week under the slogan “Once Again,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The opening ceremony will be held on June 27 at 9:30 p.m. in the Art Promenade area located within the Jeddah Waterfront.

According to the SPA, Jeddah Season 2024 will offer a variety of entertainment, tourism and cultural activities. Events will be held in several designated areas, including the City Walk, which offers a diverse mix of interactive experiences, motor and skill games, Arabic plays, concerts, restaurants, cafes and shops.

The season will feature Warner Bros. Discovery: Celebrate Every Story, held for the first time in the Kingdom, offering a mix of games and entertainment shows. The family-friendly attraction features renowned stories and characters under one roof.

The 2024 Jeddah Season will also host numerous events at Imagine Monet and Prince Majid Park, as well as international concerts.

The event map, set to be unveiled, includes activities such as live artistic and cultural performances, and entertainment, sports and tourism activities.