Ithra and Dammam Culture and Arts Association present From Earth show - GulfToday

Ithra and Dammam Culture and Arts Association present From Earth show

A view of the exhibition.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

The relationship with nature is the subject of From Earth, an art exhibition presented by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in collaboration with the Dammam Culture and Arts Association. The exhibition (on till September 26), showcases varied artworks by 32 Saudi artists who explore their personal connection to their land, in their preferred style and medium. With the exhibit’s various art-forms ranging from sound art and acrylic paintings to video and graphic installations, visitors can experience unique perspectives on nature and its impact.

The various pieces showcased in From Earth may inspire the audience to reflect on the different natural landscapes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and what they mean to the artists. Khlood Alamri’s Doors and Windows is a bright oil painting depicting nostalgic scenes in the old streets and homes of Jeddah — a familiar sight to anyone who lived in the city during the ’60s and ’70s. “These homes are an important part of our land and need to be preserved in our artistic memory, so that we do not forget where we came from,” says Alamri, whose work usually sheds light on the traditional homes found in the central and southern parts of Jeddah.

“The idea for Doors and Windows came from the stories my parents and grandparents used to tell me about life back then, and through the photographs they had kept from those good old days.” She is a graduate of Taif University from the College of Designs and Arts, majoring in interior design with a Bachelor’s degree. Elsewhere in the exhibit, psychologist and artist Abdulkarim Qassim illustrates the agricultural heritage of the people of Asir.

 An objet d’art from the exhibition.

Titled Al Diba, his installation explores the oral history of one of the old folktales in Asir about the farming traditions of people in the area. Says Qassim: “The process of creating this contemporary artwork took rigorous artistic research, and a long period of trial and error in order to reach the final desired result. “Al Diba documents the relationship between society and agricultural heritage, which carries within it the cultural heritage of Asir’s people. The work focuses on the agricultural astronomy practices of people in Asir, through the stories told about how they used to look to the stars as their guide in choosing the best time to start farming and cultivating.”

The Asir region is situated on a high plateau that receives more rainfall than the rest of Saudi Arabia and contains the country’s highest peaks, which rise to almost 3,000 metres. Among the displayed photographs in From Earth, Mohammed Al Jubran’s Mashmoom Portrait centers the aromatic Mashmoom plant, which means “to be smelled” and is used in Al-Ahsa for happy and sad occasions alike. “I chose to highlight the Mashmoom plant in this photograph because of its rich spiritual and cultural significations,” says Al Jubran. “It has a beautiful and soothing smell that helps people relax, and it is also quite common in the area where I live.

By highlighting the Mashmoom plant, I am trying to remind people to take a break from the constant stress of modern life by smelling it.” Al Jubran is a photographer and life coach who has been passionate since his teenage years about self-discovery and experiencing his surroundings through the lens, searching for moments to immortalise. He specialises in portrait photography and has been inspired by world-class photographers such as Fan Ho. The connection with nature and earth has a different, more emotional expression in Lama Al-Ajlan’s The First Time.

  Our relationship with Nature is the subject of the exhibition.

In this artwork, Al-Ajlan presents Earth as a loving mother capturing her baby’s early memories, through 70 pieces painted with modern interpretations of rock inscriptions found in the southwest of Saudi Arabia. Explaining her reason for choosing rock inscriptions to convey this concept, Al-Ajlan says: “First of all, I love abstract art as an art style, and second, I’m very interested in past civilisations and early humans. “I specifically chose the Bir Hima area in the southwest because it is the sixth location in the Kingdom to become registered as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, for its extensive collection of petroglyphs and rock inscriptions.

It was also the focus topic of my graduation thesis. Like a mother does with her child’s first moments, the Earth’s mountains and rocks have witnessed the entirety of human history, and captured humans’ first attempts at activities such as writing and hunting, among many others.” She is a visual artist who received a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from Princess Nora Bint Abdul Rahman University in 2022. She has participated in many Saudi and international art exhibitions and her abstract artworks are characterised by simple lines.

They are inspired by rock inscriptions and mountains of Saudi Arabia as she attempts to encapsulate the historical legacy of the Kingdom. From Earth features many other artworks that tell people’s fascinating stories of nature, encouraging audiences to ponder the world around them and provoking an awareness of and love of their roots. Ithra — meaning “enrichment” in Arabic — was built as part of Saudi Aramco’s vision to be an ambitious initiative for the public.

It is the Kingdom’s leading cultural and creative destination for talent development and cross-cultural experiences. Since its opening in 2018, its attractions serve as windows to global experiences, empowering creativity. Ithra’s pillars include culture, creativity, community, art and knowledge. Ithra offers workshops, performances and events. 



Related articles