23 sculptors take part in Tuwaiq symposium


By Arwa Al-Mohanna

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

Saudi Arabia has opened its doors to international art, specifically sculpture, through the cultural activities of the First International Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium 2019 in Riyadh, which was inaugurated at Tuwaiq Palace in the Diplomatic Quarter (DQ) in Riyadh on Monday.

This is the first event of its kind in Saudi Arabia and is being held under the auspices of Minister of Culture and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority of the Diplomatic Quarter Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Farhan.

As many as 23 sculptors are taking part in the event, including 20 from abroad and three Saudi artists. They are specialists in sculpting directly on rocks. Each sculptor will contribute with his/her creativity with works, which their followers are eagerly waiting for.

Saudi sculptor Ali Al-Tekhaiss told Okaz/Saudi Gazette: “I am happy to take part in this event. It is an honor for me to participate among some of the world’s most famous sculptors. The work I am participating with in the event speaks about cordial relations between relatives and the brethren in the Arab and Muslim world. My work will be in the form of a sculpture made of smooth and coarse texture rocks that embrace at the top but rise from the same base.”

He added: “The patronage of the Minister of Culture for this arts event is a positive step for the existence of sculpting in this distinctive way and in this gathering of artists from all over the world in one place in an international event. The sculptures in the city are giving a magnificent impression to the beholder in the public parks or the roundabouts.”

Al-Tekhaiss further said: “My contribution to the symposium will be a distinctive addition. Usually, in such gatherings the artists exchange experiences and knowledge and gain skills. Today we are experiencing a big cultural and arts renaissance that is giving a unique impression on the Kingdom and is acquainting the world with the Saudi artistic experience.”

Meanwhile, Anna Crowfer, a sculptor from New Zealand, described the event as “unique”. She said the event brought her together with sculptors from different parts of the world.

She added: “This gathering of big and famous names in sculpting from different parts of the world, in the Kingdom, is a good thing. I’m happy to meet them once again as they are my friends for quite a long time. I will participate with a work on women, but I won’t disclose its name. I will leave it as a surprise.”

Iraqi artist Ali Jaber told Okaz/Saudi Gazette: “The Kingdom’s initiative is an indication of openness and a new culture. It will be recorded in the dossier of the Saudi cultural history as an initiative taken by Minister of Culture Prince Badr Bin Farhan. I am very happy, as I’m the main organizer for all the artists in Tuwaiq Symposium 2019. I have selected them from all over the world. They represent the frontline with high techniques. I have great confidence in their experiences.”

Jaber added: “I focused on projects that suit the Kingdom’s culture. I chose Omani stone or white rock that is known as ‘Al-Jawhara Al-Baida’ (The White Jewel). We have converted the large dead masses to monuments that breathe during the day with change in light direction and shadow.”

As to his contribution to the event, Jaber said: “I’m participating with a sculpture that blends architecture and sculpture. The relationship between the two goes back far into history and it has been harmonious since a long time. I’m of the view that the tall towers in different parts of the world have been taken from sculpture.”

Dalia Al-Mandeel, a female sculpting enthusiast, said her presence at the venue of the Tuwaiq Symposium emanates from her astonishment at the great attention given to culture and art. She also wants to be close to artists and the world of sculpture.

She added: “I’m happy about the historic changes the Kingdom is witnessing, especially in the field of culture and art. Today we are witnessing an astounding cultural and arts movement. I came here so as to be closer to this activity.”