Naila Art Gallery’s ‘Saudi Crafts’ exhibition reflects a changing nation

RIYADH: In honor of the 92nd Saudi National Day, Naila Art Gallery organized the “Saudi Crafts” exhibition, bringing together 30 studios, artists and craft brands to showcase their creative projects from September 20-30.

Prominent names in the Saudi art scene, such as Abdullah Hammas and Najla Al-Saleem, include May Hamdan, whose works fuse traditional aspects and techniques with contemporary ones in her first exhibition. She titled her work “Mader”, which is a combination of the two Arabic words for “past” and “present”.

For his growing series, which currently only includes two artworks, the artist uses the Kingdom’s traditional Sadu weaving technique alongside his contemporary, crystalline resin elements.

Saudi Scenes is an art and souvenir shop, offering a wide range of creations perfect for a special gift from home. From art collections to pottery and handmade jewelry, the shop proudly showcases its heritage.

Rashed Al-Debas is another artist incorporating resin with string art into his work to create powerful portraits, claiming the work is the first of its kind in the world. One of his portraits is a heartfelt tribute to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the late King Abdulaziz, reflecting the changes Saudi Arabia is currently experiencing from the emerging nation it was nine decades ago.

“I chose this idea because we all see the Crown Prince as another version of King Abdulaziz in his qualities, determination, political savvy and values. His character is a by-product of his grandfather,” Al-Debas told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

Prominent names in the Saudi art scene, such as Abdullah Hammas and Najla Al-Saleem, include May Hamdan, whose works fuse traditional aspects and techniques with contemporary ones in her first exhibition. She titled her work “Mader”, which is a combination of the two Arabic words for “past” and “present”.

While the execution took three to four hours a day for four weeks, it was worth it for the emerging artist to represent the country’s growth and express his patriotism.


Saudi Scenes is an art and souvenir shop, offering a wide range of creations perfect for a special gift from home. From art collections to pottery and handmade jewelry, the shop proudly showcases its heritage.

“National Day is an event cherished by all Saudi citizens and residents,” he said, recalling how far the Kingdom has come over the years.

The work of artist Muneerah Al-Ogla, meanwhile, is a tribute to Saudi women. Bursting with shades of blue and green and depicting a young girl against spiral shapes, with doves and palm trees above, the painting “symbolizes the things that go on in the life of a Saudi woman”, said Al-Ogla.

“Regardless of what is happening in her life, she is able to hold her head up high, overcome difficulties and set goals,” the artist told Arab News.

In the two-part oil painting, the dove symbolizes inner peace, Al-Ogla explained, signifying the subject’s ability to balance the difficulties of their past and reinvent a life within the borders of the Kingdom. .


Saudi Scenes is an art and souvenir shop, offering a wide range of creations perfect for a special gift from home. From art collections to pottery and handmade jewelry, the shop proudly showcases its heritage.

“This is our time as creatives in Arabia as the whole community now understands the importance of art. Now is the time for us to really deliver our creativity as it plays a part in reflecting the image of the Kingdom abroad, not just locally,” Al-Ogla said.

Catching the attention of visitors and other artists is the work of Hams Muryh, who aspires to document traditional Southern craftsmanship. It incorporates Al-Haseer, a traditional hand-weaving technique using date palm leaves, and Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, a Saudi style of art that is typically painted by women in the southern region of the Kingdom.

“These are symbols of our southern authenticity. This is the culture we inherited,” Muryh told Arab News, explaining how she combined and tried to balance the different techniques to achieve a modern effect.

“Saudi Crafts” also brought together a number of local craft studios and designers, such as Desert Designs, Herfa Association, Sadu Tarha, Wuhah Studio and others.

Keramos Studio is a Saudi brand created by Morouj Al-Shatri that aims to revive the ancient craft of pottery in the region, inspired by elements of Islamic art, Saudi folklore and local heritage.

While the brand name and clay are imported from European countries, Greece and Italy respectively, all products are designed and produced by Saudis using traditional Saudi styles such as Sadu, Al-Qatt and Hijazi Rawashin.

Along with its products, the company also offers workshops in which it teaches the techniques of its craft throughout the year.

Saudi Scenes is an art and souvenir shop, offering a wide range of creations perfect for a special gift from home. From art collections to pottery and handmade jewelry, the shop proudly showcases its heritage.

In this particular exhibit, his go-to items were local, traditional images hand-painted on Daf, a Middle Eastern frame drum made from genuine leather. The scenes featured are interpretations of traditional Saudi desert settings, such as tent celebrations, horseback riding and the historic Diriyah wall.

“I transformed the Daf from a musical instrument into a work of art, adding an element of light on the back to better highlight the details on the canvas. In daylight, it’s the original painting, and dim light at night can give off a different aesthetic,” featured artist Duaa Al-Badr said of the artwork.

William E. Bennett