‘Two Kingdoms’ initiative celebrates shared Saudi-UK artistic legacy

May 21, 2024

Saudi Gazette Report

RIYADH — The ‘Two Kingdoms’ initiative, held in Riyadh and London last week, impressively celebrated the shared artistic legacy between Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. The events were held in the capitals of both kingdoms, facilitating a cultural exchange through traditional artistic practices.

The initiative, which was launched by Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts (Wrth), made significant strides through a series of immersive events held in Riyadh and London, fostering cross-cultural exchange and dialogue through traditional artistic practices.

The cross-cultural exchange was held at Wrth headquarters in Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District on May 18, where British artist Harriet Frances held an immersive jewelry embroidery workshop at Wrth headquarters. The session was conceived to empower local Saudi artists and artisans by introducing them to new cultural traditions, while continuing to foster greater artistic understanding between the two kingdoms.

The workshops were a resounding success. Subsequent to the Riyadh event, the campaign made its way to London for Crafted in the UK's “London Craft Week”. The woodcraft workshop at the Victoria & Albert Museum drew significant interest, with renowned artist Jan Hendzel providing insights into traditional Saudi woodworking techniques and even participating in the craft process.

The timing of the ‘Two Kingdoms’ campaign coincided with World Cultural Diversity Day on May 21, lending further resonance to the campaign's core tenet of paying tribute to the deep-rooted artistic legacies that define both nations.

By providing platforms for artists to share their skills and for audiences to experience different cultural art forms, Wrth hopes to inspire creative dialogues that transcend borders. The “Two Kingdoms” initiative reinforces the institute’s commitment to authentically representing Saudi Arabia’s heritage while championing global cultural exchange. As the campaign concluded, its clear success paves the way for more such opportunities to connect nations through their intertwined artistic legacies in the future.

For over 30 years, Wrth has played a leading role in promoting Saudi Arabia's unique cultural heritage through traditional arts education, exhibitions, and global exchange programs. The institute contributes to the dissemination and global recognition of traditional arts, drawing attention to the shared human values between all peoples regardless of their languages, cultures, and different customs. Wrth remains committed to authentically representing the Kingdom’s rich legacy, supporting and nurturing emerging local talent as well as encouraging those interested in learning, mastering, and developing them.

The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts (Wrth) is an independent governmental entity, chaired on an honorary basis by Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman. The institute is concerned with providing quality education and training services in the field of traditional arts, and promoting them, encouraging and strengthening national capabilities in these fields.

In line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, Wrth seeks to represent the culture of Saudi Arabia by storytelling the artistic history and stories of traditional artworks, and telling the stories of artists, while preserving the originality of these arts and encouraging those interested in them to learn, master, and develop them.

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