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MENAFN - Arab News - 14/02/2014

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(MENAFN -Arab News) For the second year in a row, the Jeddah Art Week (JAW) has been a successful event, exhibiting more than 50 different works of art made by local, regional and internationally celebrated artists.

The event kicked off on Feb. 1, with a turnout of more than 12,000 during its six-day run.

The event was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture and Information and the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives.

The Saudi Society for Culture and Arts, in collaboration with Sotheby’s, Edge of Arabia Projects and Arabian Wings, intend to build on the success of last year’s inaugural event, which saw 1,500 people attend.

On display was one of the biggest calligraphy and graffiti pieces made by Tunisian calligrafitti artist, Elseed.

The artist used a Saudi poem and different shades of pink spray paint and worked his magic on one of the old buildings located on the Jeddah downtown area.

Hundreds of Jeddawis attended the event.

“I used the help of five Saudi street artists to help me with filling the color. My main goal is to to inspire them to go bigger and I want to tutor them. This is my way of giving back to the community,” he said. “This, to me, is more interesting than the project itself,” he said.

The audience also attended the unveiling of Jeddah’s open-air museum on the same day. The initiative was launched by Abdul Latif Jameel Community and the Jeddah Municipality, which worked hand in hand to restore the sculptures that dot the waterfront in a bid to improve the visual ambience of Jeddah’s Corniche.

The sculptures include the works of famous artist Henry Moore (UK), Victor Vazarelly and Cesar Baldicini (France), Joan Miro (Spain), Alexander Calder (US) and Jane ARB (Germany), and Arab artists, including Mustafa Sunbul (Egypt) and Rabia Al-Akhras (Syria). The sculptures have been around since the 1980s.

The second day marked the grand opening of JAW 2014 at the Park Hyatt Al-Furusiyah, which featured 12 different exhibitions.

Kakaibang Jeddah, Filipino for “unique Jeddah,” stole the spotlight with their work, which was made by the Filipino community living in Jeddah.

The photography exhibition showcased photos taken around Jeddah, where 15 Filipino photographers exhibited their work for the first time to the public. Even the minister of Labor praised their artistic talent. “I was pleasantly surprised with the various artwork that was presented by Filipino workers. I think it is one of the things that we should work on more,” Fakeih said.

“We want to encourage our guest workers to share their experiences living in Saudi cities and encourage cultural interaction with our society,” he said.

He said this would enrich their lives. “This is a step in the right direction and the Ministry of Labor is going to further encourage various communities to participate in Saudi Arabia’s cultural activities.”

Khalid Zahid hosted his first solo exhibition entitled “I Dream Kingdom,” with five different art pieces that expresses the artist’s opinion about social issues in Saudi Arabia. “It reflects what I see happening in Saudi Arabia in the future. I see a better and positive direction with the Saudi labor force and women rights, including women driving,” he said.

“JAW combines very strong international galleries and artists with local talents and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to launch my first solo exhibition,” he added.

Another solo exhibition that caught the eyes of the audience was the work by Wasma Mansour titled Single Saudi Women, which is an ongoing photographic study of single Saudi women living in London. It is an interrogation of the stereotypical representation of women from her native country.

Artist and writer Saad Bin Mohammed contributed to JAW with a piece entitled “heaven is a state of mind, only freedom proves it.”

The artwork is part of a collection called “rebelling heaven.”

“In this specific painting, I’m saying heaven is just a state of mind that only freedom proves it. This man in the painting is standing in his own heaven with his knowledge and his wisdom, which is what the awl represents, and he is giving his back to his own heaven seeking freedom,” he said.

“I am associating freedom with heaven; there is no absolute freedom unless there is heaven. The mirrors are there to emphasize the main concept of the painting for you to put yourself in his shoes. If you find your freedom, you are in heaven,” he added.

JAW also presented Sotheby’s Exhibition Highlights from its upcoming contemporary art auction in Doha, including works by Ali Bandisadr, Jannane Al Ani, Mounir Fatmi, Damian Hirst, Hayv Kahraman, and Khalil Rabah.

The third day began early, where Dar Al-Hekma University and Ibraaz, an online publishing forum initiated by the Kamel Lazaar Foundatio, hosted a one-day conference on contemporary art and its historical development.

There was an international gathering of speakers that looked at the background behind contemporary art and its global development, specifically in the MENA region. The five-hour conference discussed markets for contemporary art, collecting art and the development of new institutions across the MENA region.

All discussions were chaired by Dr. Anthony Downey, director of the Master’s Program in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, and Lina Lazaar, founder of JAW and deputy director and international contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s London.

That same day, the audience moved to the Ayyam Gallery to attend the “Contemporary Kingdom,” an exhibition of six contemporary Saudi Arabian artists. Spanning three generations, each artist in the show was specifically featured for their creative dynamism and consistent development in pushing the boundaries of contemporary and conceptual art in Saudi Arabia. In “Contemporary Kingdom,” Faisal Samra, Maha Malluh, Abdulnasser Gharem, Rashed Al Shashai, Shaweesh and Huda Beydoun exhibited artworks addressing, as well as embodying, the spirit of rapid modernity and its impact on Saudi Arabia.

Day number four of JAW was a celebration of Saudi Art at Al Alamia Gallery and then Abdulaziz Bube Asher solo exhibition, Saudi art center that was curated by Arabian Wings gallery north Jeddah.

On the fifth day, Jeddawis went to Palestine street to see the Saudi colors exhibition at the house of artists. They also attended Shift, a new perspective at the Dama art gallery.

On its final day, the JAW audience attended a miniature and contemporary art event from the Middle East at Rochane Gallery.

The art week ended with the Al-Corniche exploration, art and culture association.

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