Saudi artist reimagines Jeddah through ’80s pop art

Time: 09 August, 2020

Photo/Supplied
  • Zaina Hassan feels that love and belonging we feel toward the coastal city are very real and deserve to be illuminated
  • Deep Blue is an artwork that portrays a girl walking along the new Corniche with the sea as her background. It speaks of moments when you feel melancholic or blue for reasons unknown to you

JEDDAH: Every Jeddawi has an obsession with their city; the elderly reminisce about historic Jeddah in the old days, while the youth romanticize the modern city through photography and social media.

One Saudi artist, Zaina Hassan, 23, who goes by the name ZHA on social media, chose to express her attachment to Jeddah by reimagining it through ’80s pop art.
“To many of us, Jeddah is a city too familiar for words, for beautiful odes and formal praise. Yet, the love and belonging we feel toward it are very real and deserve to be illuminated,” she told Arab News.
She added: “My deep affection toward the city only grew while I was away, and all its beauty that was previously hidden in plain sight became visible to me in my nostalgia.”
The artist has completed eight pieces; the first artwork, shared on Instagram is called “Show You the World” and portrays two people walking toward the Globe Roundabout in northern Jeddah.

FASTFACTS

• Re-Imagine Exhibition opened on July 27 at Medd Cafe, and will continue until August end.

• Zaina Hassan’s artwork will be available for purchase.

“This piece is dedicated to people who dream of seeing the world but find themselves stuck in one place. A gentle reminder that there is much to see and feel, even without getting on a plane and traveling thousands of kilometers,” she said.
The other pieces follow the same idea, where the location reflects certain feelings or emotions of the characters in the artwork.
“Deep Blue” is an artwork that portrays a girl walking along the new Corniche with the sea as her background. “It speaks of moments when you feel melancholic or blue for reasons unknown to you,” Hassan said.


“Rosie” is another artwork that shows a couple standing together lovingly, with the old Saudi airplane monument behind them. The monument symbolizes how every relationship is a journey, she added.
Hassan chose ’80s pop art as her medium because it combines youthful content with a vintage appearance, which she is very fond of.
“For the love of everything vintage. Comic book art or ’80s pop art has a nostalgic yet youthful and modern look to it, so it was the perfect artistic style to merge the old with the new.”
The artist began sharing her work on Instagram during the difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
“I first thought of the theme behind the first few pieces in the midst of the COVID-19 avalanche, when isolation and uncertainty were still unexplored territories to most of us; the main incentive behind the theme was homesickness,” Hassan added.
She said it was not artwork by other artists that inspired her, but things from her daily life such as songs, movies and stories.
“I found that listening to certain songs inspires me so much more vividly than looking at or studying actual art pieces. Obviously, comic book illustrators have inspired me enough to use this specific style and guided me with regard to colors and composition, but I believe that the real inspiration behind my artworks’ ideas come from songs, as well as movie scenes, pictures and stories,” she said.
“Basically, anything that is able to transport you to an alternative reality for a period of time. So many things inspire me and influence me daily, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact source.”
Hassan said the illustrations were figments, romanticizing the streets people know well, but they exposed the genuine fondness Jeddawis carry in their hearts for this coastal city.
To many people, she said, the landmarks portrayed in Hassan’s artworks carry many memories of their youth — their favorite childhood place, where they used to hang out in their teenage years, or even a place they used to pass by on their way to their loved ones’ old houses. “It’s amazing how memories connect people to places on such a deep level.”
The main theme of her collection is not solely romantic as much as it is soulful, and it encompasses romance, friendship, adventure, and even melancholy.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Young Saudi woman takes pioneering role in male-dominated engineering industry

Time: 08 August, 2020

Rawan Abukhaled. (Supplied)
  • Rawan Abukhaled, 23, keen to provide digital solutions that help cut costs

JEDDAH: A young Saudi is setting the pace by becoming the only woman working at a manufacturing plant as a digital transformation consultant for GE Digital in the Kingdom.

Rawan Abukhaled, 23, has paved the way for hopeful young Saudi engineers to not be afraid of being the only woman in the room.

“I’m probably one of the first women to join the industry in the Kingdom,” she said. “I want to be the best representation of a female Saudi engineer in this field, so everyone around me thinks, ‘Hey, we need to hire more women.’ I’m constantly trying to get that idea through,” she added.

She is aware of how male-dominated the industry is, not just in Saudi Arabia but around the world. “When I got my first job in the US as a software developer, I was one of the very few females in the room as a software developer and now there are sometimes no other women in the room.”

Abukhaled is passionate about making change, and her job depends on it. She is keen on providing companies with digital solutions that help them to cut costs and raise productivity.

“Today, I’m learning in the field hands-on, rather than in an office. And for soft skills, this is a client-facing job. So, I am in situations that challenge me to grow, especially in my interactions with customers. I’m the only local or regional person on the ground, so the (GE Digital) team in the US relies on me to go to customer sites, and that helps me grow both my technical and soft skills.”

HIGHLIGHT

She is aware of how male-dominated the industry is, not just in Saudi Arabia but around the world. She has paved the way for hopeful young Saudi engineers to not be afraid of being the only woman in the room.

The industrial and systems engineering graduate gained a sense of how much she could do for women when she studied at Virginia Tech, US. She took part in a campaign to become the vice president of the Saudi Student Club and succeeded in becoming the first woman to be elected to the role in 80 years.

Abukhaled said that she was flabbergasted at the number of women approaching her to ask what it was like and the impact it left on female students around her. “I was the vice president of a student club. Even something that small inspired women.”

When she was growing up, Abukhaled wanted to get into medicine. “As I got older, I realized I wasn’t that great in biology and I was more interested in physics and math, so I knew engineering was a better fit for me.”

Her current job with GE Digital allows her to work in the two areas she feels strongly about: Technology and people. “There’s a geek side to me that likes the math and problem-solving, and the other side of me that loves the social network and interacting with people.”

Her father has supported her throughout. He was an industrial engineer, which ended up being a great asset as the two of them shared common interests. “We are a lot alike. He became an influential leader in a multinational organization, and I want to follow in his footsteps. He’s supported me every step of the way, ever since I was a little girl.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Maha Al-Nuhait, general manager at Saudi Telecom Co.

Time: 07 August, 2020

Maha Al-Nuhait

Maha Al-Nuhait is the general manager of the sustainability program at Saudi Telecom Co. (STC). She is a board member of public and private institutions and a member of the Youth Business Council in Riyadh.

Al-Nuhait has over 20 years of working with the public, private and third sectors, in addition to being a full-time mother, working as an entrepreneur, and mentoring at nonprofit bodies.

She is a board member of the Saudi Archery Federation at the General Sports Authority and the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a business mentor at the Dulani Business Center in addition to her work with STC.

She previously served as a corporate communications adviser at the Ministry of Energy in the field of mining. She co-founded Athar Consultancy, a Saudi firm specializing in building and operating social investment strategies, programs and initiatives. It was one of the first small and medium-sized enterprises in the region to specialize in social investing consultancy and impact measurement.

She used to work at Monshaat, the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (SMEA). She served as a governor’s adviser, consulting on sustainable development and excellence in community engagement with SMEA programs. She later went on to become the CEO of the Biban SME Forum and Exhibition.

Al-Nuhait holds a bachelor’s degree in English translation from King Saud University and a high diploma in business administration and management from the Institute of Public Administration.

She has a certificate from the Harvard Business School Executive Education program and a certificate from the Ashridge Executive Education Business School at Hult International Business School.

This article was first published in Arab News

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UK Ambassador welcomes appointment of first Saudi woman as cultural attache

Time: 07 August, 2020

Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia on Thursday welcomed the appointment of Dr. Amal bint Jameel Fatani as cultural attaché to the UK. (Supplied)
  • Fatani was appointed as one of the Kingdom’s first female cultural attaches
  • She holds a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Strathclyde

RIYADH: Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia on Thursday welcomed the appointment of Dr. Amal bint Jameel Fatani as cultural attaché to the UK.

Fatani was appointed as one of the Kingdom’s first female cultural attaches by the Saudi Minister of Education Dr.Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheik earlier this month.

Ambassador Neil Crompton tweeted Thursday: “#Congratulations to Dr Fatani @FataniAmal for her appointment as Cultural Attaché to the #UK. Delighted she is a UK alumni herself. Wishing her the very best in her new role and looking forward to strengthening the people to people links between the UK and Saudi Arabia.”

Fatani holds a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Strathclyde. She obtained her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in pharmacology and toxicology from the College of Pharmacy at King Saud University (KSU), where she is currently an associate professor.

She has previously worked at the Ministry of Higher Education and KSU, and was among the first female pharmacy graduates in the Kingdom.

After receiving her doctorate she was appointed vice chair of the pharmacology and toxicology department. She is the first female dean of the nine scientific and medical colleges, and has worked with the rector, deputies, and deans of male colleges to build a unified strategic plan for gaining accreditation, a higher global ranking, and implementing best international practices in higher education.

Saudi Arabia and the UK have an important and long-standing relationship, strengthened through the strong individual connections that Saudis enjoy with the UK through their attendance at academic institutions. Hundreds of Saudi scholarship students have graduated from top UK educational institutions.

The two countries are key strategic partners in the Kingdom’s Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan, and have reaffirmed their commitment to building and developing trade and investment as well as achieving shared prosperity for their citizens.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Hanan Al-Hamad, Saudi educator

Time: 07 August, 2020

Hanan Al-Hamad

Hanan Al-Hamad is a Saudi educator and quality and excellence management consultant. She is also a certified European Foundation for Quality Management trainer and model assessor, a certified Trainer of Trainers, and a certified KPI practitioner.
Al-Hamad has developed English language curricula and provided teaching strategy training for the Ministry of Education and has been a judge for some of the ministry’s excellence awards. She has also helped establish numerous international schools in the Kingdom in accordance with the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.
Al-Hamad is also a popular public speaker and has conducted various workshops at institutions including the King Fahad National Center for Children’s Cancer and King Saud Medical City.
Al-Hamad holds a bachelor’s degree in teaching English as a second or foreign language from the College of Education at King Faisal University in Riyadh, and received her master’s degree in management and planning from the College of Social Sciences at Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh.
As Saudi Arabia prepares for the upcoming academic year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Al-Hamad said the debate over whether children’s education or health should take top priority has not been solved at a global level.
“The family’s education and financial status, as well as the parents’ technical literacy, will have an impact on each student’s experience with remote education,” Al-Hamad said in a recent interview on Al Arabiya.
“Moreover, not all parents have the freedom to devote their time to teach their children and follow up with them at home.”
She added: “I believe the educational experience should be flexible, and families should have the choice to send their children to school or not, while guaranteeing an equally efficient educational experience for both choices.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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UNESCO extends Saudi scientist’s goodwill ambassador role for another 2 years

Time: 05 August 2020

Dr. Hayat Sindi
  • Sindi was selected as one of Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Shake the World, was ranked second by Forbes on a list of the most powerful Arab women in Saudi Arabia and was again selected by Newsweek, and The Daily Beast, as one of 150 fearless women

JEDDAH: Saudi medical scientist Dr. Hayat Sindi’s prestige role as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador has been extended for another two years by the organization’s director general, Audrey Azoulay.
Makkah-born Sindi was given the title in recognition of her work to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and social innovation for scientists, technologists, and engineers in the Middle East and around the world.
Sindi was the first woman from the Gulf to obtain a Ph.D. in biotechnology from the University of Cambridge and was one of the first female members of the Saudi Shoura Council.
In addition, she co-founded and co-invented Diagnostics for All — a program to create affordable diagnostic devices for millions of people in impoverished regions — alongside a team from Harvard University.
In 2008, Sindi led the Diagnostics for All team to first place in Harvard Business School’s business plan contest, the social enterprise track, and also won MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Competition in the same year — becoming the only team to take top spot in both competitions in the same year.
She founded the i2 Institute that aims to empower and inspire the next generation of innovators to realize their dreams and contribute to the world. She also invented a low-cost diagnostic tool for early detection of breast cancer by converting light into sound, and holds nine patents.

HIGHLIGHT

It was an acknowledgement of the 52-year-old biotechnology research expert’s efforts to bring youth closer to innovators, promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, and for her dedication to the ideals and aims of UNESCO.

In 2017, Sindi was appointed chief scientific adviser to the president of the Islamic Development Bank and has since put science, technology, and innovation at the heart of bank’s work in driving economic growth and sustainable development.
Sindi was selected as one of Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Shake the World, was ranked second by Forbes on a list of the most powerful Arab women in Saudi Arabia and was again selected by Newsweek, and The Daily Beast, as one of 150 fearless women. In 2018, she was named by the BBC among the 100 most inspiring and influential women in the world.
In 2015, she was appointed as an honorary adviser to the UN Environment Program for the Eye on Earth Summit and the following year joined a 10-member group supporting the technological facilitation mechanism for sustainable development goals.
Recently, Sindi was appointed by the G20 as global ambassador for the health and development partnership of the group.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Dr. Yusra bint Hussain Al-Jazairy, Saudi Arabia’s acting cultural attache in Morocco

Time: 05 August, 2020

Dr. Yusra bint Hussain Al-Jazairy
  • Two other women were also appointed as cultural attache of Saudi Arabia in the UK and Ireland

Dr. Yusra bint Hussain Al-Jazairy was recently appointed Saudi Arabia’s acting cultural attache in Morocco.

Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh issued a decision to appoint the Kingdom’s first female cultural attaches on Sunday.

Other appointments include Dr. Amal bint Jameel Fatani as cultural attache in the UK, and Fahda bint Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh as cultural attache in Ireland.

The three women are all educators, and their appointments are part of a move to promote the Kingdom’s educational and cultural presence internationally.

Al-Jazairy received her master’s degree in dental materials in 1996 from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.

She also attained her fellowship certificate in esthetic dentistry in 1996 from the Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.

Al-Jazairy is a lecturer and researcher in the field of  dentistry. She strives to boost the quality of dental patient care at Sanaya Dental Clinic, Riyadh, and she envisions promoting the Kingdom’s dental and oral health.

Through her seminars and continuing education, she has served as a mentor and role model for many leading dentists.

Al-Jazairy praised the support of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Saudi women after her new appointment.

She said: “This assignment reflects the level of confidence that Saudi women have reached, and it translates the aspirations of our leadership in empowering women, and to enhance the successes achieved by Saudi women in many sectors in the service of the homeland.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Dr. Amal bint Jameel Fatani, Saudi Arabia’s cultural attache to the UK

Time: 04 August, 2020

Dr. Amal bint Jameel Fatani
  • Fatani holds a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Strathclyde

Dr. Amal bint Jameel Fatani was recently appointed Saudi Arabia’s cultural attache to the UK. Education Minister Hamad Al-Asheikh issued a decision to appoint the Kingdom’s first women cultural attaches on Sunday. Other appointments include Fahda bint Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh as cultural attache in Ireland and Dr. Yusra bint Hussain Al-Jazairy as acting cultural attache in Morocco.
The three women are all educators and their appointments are part of a move to promote the Kingdom’s educational and cultural presence internationally.
Fatani holds a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Strathclyde. She obtained her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in pharmacology and toxicology from the College of Pharmacy at King Saud University (KSU), where she is currently an associate professor.
Her previous roles include consultant and general supervisor of female affairs at the Ministry of Higher Education after spending two years as general supervisor of female sections in all sectors at the ministry.
Before joining the ministry she held several positions at KSU and was among the first female pharmacy graduates in the Kingdom.
After receiving her doctorate she was appointed vice chair of the pharmacology and toxicology department. She is the first female dean of the nine scientific and medical colleges, and has worked with the rector, deputies, and deans of male colleges to build a unified strategic plan for gaining accreditation, a higher global ranking, and implementing best international practices in higher education.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Lana Kamel Komsany, Saudi director, scriptwriter, actress and theater coach

02/08/20

  • Komsany completed her bachelor’s degree in theater from Northeastern University, Boston, in 2000, and has acted in and directed plays in Cairo such as “Al-Rahaya”

Saudi director, scriptwriter, actress and theater coach Lana Kamel Komsany took part in a Theater and Performing Arts Commission virtual conference in late July as part of plans to highlight Saudi talent, and reshape and strengthen the field.
Komsany discussed employing local talent and culture to produce high-quality contemporary theater that will represent Saudi Arabia internationally.
“We have an incredible mix of creatives, academics and experienced individuals. With proper collaboration and guidance, creative content can see the light,” she told Arab News. Komsany said that our local identity “is who we are and how we make art.”
“It’s a rich and complex identity, and deserves to be represented on stage locally and internationally,” she added.
Komsany completed her bachelor’s degree in theater from Northeastern University, Boston, in 2000, and has acted in and directed plays in Cairo such as “Al-Rahaya.”
She acted in and was part of the “Bussy” (“look“) initiative to shed light on women’s life stories.
Komsany supervised the theater department at the Visual Arts Club in Jeddah and directed plays enabling children to create actual productions.
Komsany played a major role in talent training at the Saudi Aramco program for the enrichment of knowledge at the “1001 Inventions” exhibition in Jeddah and Riyadh.
Her involvement in the 2019 Jeddah season with “Ozwa Street” boosted her theatrical career.
She later opened a private studio called I Stage, and created “I am Woman” as her first theatrical production as part of the activities of Dar Al-Hanan alumni on International Women’s Day.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi education minister appoints first women cultural attaches

02/08/20

The appointments are part of a move to promote Saudi Arabia’s educational and cultural presence internationally. (Photo: MOE/Twitter)

RIYADH: Three Saudi women have been appointed as cultural attaches, another first for the Kingdom.

Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh appointed Dr. Amal bint Jameel Fatani as cultural attache in the UK, Fahda bint Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh as cultural attache in Ireland and Dr. Yusra bint Hussain Al-Jazairi as acting cultural attache in Morocco. The three newly appointed women are all educators.

Other appointments included Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Al-Furaih as cultural attache in Egypt, Dr. Issa bin Fahd Al-Rumaih as cultural attache in Jordan and Dr. Saad bin Mohammed Al-Shabana as cultural attache in Kuwait.

The appointments are part of a move to promote the Kingdom’s educational and cultural presence internationally, activate areas of joint cooperation, exchange scientific and research experiences, coordinate scholarships for students wishing to study in the Kingdom, supervise Saudi students studying abroad, facilitate their educational journey and harness their capabilities and take part in its future development.

Appointing Saudi women as cultural attaches is a first in this important sector, which has a pivotal role in building relations, coordinating efforts and promoting cultural partnerships between countries.

This highlights the leadership’s keenness to empower Saudi women, enabling them to serve their country in all sectors and expresses its confidence in the importance of their role throughout the Kingdom’s journey.

This article was first published in Arab News

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