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اخبار وثقافة

Saudi National Museum welcomes Ukraine’s deputy culture minister

UK Embassy hosts evening of culture, heritage spotlighting Saudi, British artists

RIYADH: The UK Embassy in Riyadh on Tuesday hosted a reception celebrating Saudi and British art and heritage.

The event included displays of work by several designers and artists.

British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Neil Crompton told Arab News: “The UK and Saudi Arabia have a very longstanding relationship, but one of the new dynamics is what I would call cultural cooperation.

“We think people-to-people contact is very important and art brings us together in a very wonderful way.”

The reception highlighted the work of some of the Saudi 100 Brands designers, including Shouq Almubarak’s Pavone. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The UK reception took place on the sidelines of the 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, chaired by Saudi Arabia, and was hosted in honor of Stephen Parkinson, the British parliamentary undersecretary of state for arts and heritage, and Department for Culture, Media, and Sport Lords minister.

One of the attendees, UK envoy to UNESCO, Anna Nsubuga, spoke about attending the committee sessions of the governing body of protected sites.

She told Arab News: “It’s been wonderful to be welcomed so warmly by the Saudis and by the Saudi government.

Anna Nsubuga, UK envoy to UNESCO. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

“We are incredibly grateful to the Saudi government for hosting this event, and such an important meeting, and we are glad that we are able to come together and discuss so many important issues together in one place.

“We are particularly enjoying some of the extra cultural experiences we are being offered along the way,” Nsubuga added.

On Sunday’s opening ceremony of the UNESCO meeting, hosted at Riyadh’s National Museum, she said: “It’s so great to see so much talent, and people celebrating the culture, history, heritage, and identity of Saudi Arabia.”

The reception highlighted the work of some of the Saudi 100 Brands designers, including Shouq Almubarak’s Pavone. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The reception also highlighted the work of some of the Saudi 100 Brands designers, including Shouq Almubarak’s Pavone. She displayed two of her designs inspired by Al-Ahsa. One, called Lina — meaning noble palm tree in Arabic — carries the authenticity of the Hasawi heritage throughout its components.

Almubarak said: “The details of the piece are inspired by palm fronds, palm fruits, and palm trunks. It also contains Al-Ahsa bisht (a cloak worn by men) inspirations. We wanted the design to remind us of the heritage of the country and be inspired by the aesthetic things in the country.

“No matter how much I try to summarize all these elements in one piece, I cannot. Every time I feel that there is something new.”

She described taking part in the embassy reception as a great experience.

“It added value to my brand. I appreciate all the opportunities provided by the Ministry of Culture and the Fashion Commission. They literally marked a paradigm shift in my career.

“It was a distant dream, but I am getting closer to achieving it thanks to the Fashion Commission. I can now dream, knowing that my dreams will come true. Indeed, many things have been achieved at a pace I wouldn’t have imagined possible.”

She added: “Saudi Arabia has a rich aesthetic repertoire, featuring all the elements of art heritage, the ones that you can think about and the ones that don’t come to mind. I hope that everyone will pay attention to these elements and will discover them.”

British artist Simon Mortimer, who also exhibited at the reception, said: “I use a lot of mixed media in my work and that on display here deals with high and low art and also the Arabic influence.

“I don’t speak Arabic, but I am fascinated by the culture and the language and the actual forms of the writing.”

Mortimer, who moved to Saudi Arabia three weeks ago and was an artist in residence at a gallery in Qatar, added: “Every Saudi we have met has been lovely, lovely, lovely, so thank you.”



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