Art and soul: Great places to expand your creative mind this Ramadan

Marianne Catzaras recites poetry in her photography exhibition,
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Marianne Catzaras recites poetry in her photography exhibition, "Beyond Time", at L’Art Pur Gallery in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Art and soul: Great places to expand your creative mind this Ramadan
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Social Cafe's Peace and Art initiative displays art on sale created by local artists. (Supplied)
Art and soul: Great places to expand your creative mind this Ramadan
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Social Cafe's Peace and Art initiative displays art on sale created by local artists. (Supplied)
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Art and soul: Great places to expand your creative mind this Ramadan

Marianne Catzaras recites poetry in her photography exhibition, "Beyond Time", at L’Art Pur Gallery in Riyadh. (Supplied)
  • An exhibition of some of the photographic work of Greek artist, writer and poet Marianne Catzaras is being held at the L’Art Pur Gallery until April 30

RIYADH: There are lots of interesting art and cultural events and exhibitions to enjoy during the holy month of Ramadan. Here are some of the best from across the Kingdom:

Sociale Cafe, Riyadh

Sociale Cafe is hosting an exhibition of creative works from local, unknown artists from now until the end of Ramadan.

Owner Danielle Touma said: “We wanted to find ways to celebrate art during this holy month of Ramadan, a month of peace and reflection. Engagement in art complements this time, not only as a peaceful activity but as a useful tool for reflection.

“Art is a crucial part of Sociale’s culture and we are always looking for ways to collaborate with creatives. We hope to connect local Saudi artists with art lovers in the city.”

The cafe has just nine submissions on display but welcomes more artists to submit their work.

“Art is not only helpful in contemplating life and ourselves, but helps us explore and understand other perspectives, allowing us see the world from different angles,” Touma said.

“It is also a wonderful way to celebrate beauty, to study nature, to express humor, among many other things depending on the artist.”

L’Art Pur Gallery, Riyadh

An exhibition of some of the photographic work of Greek artist, writer and poet Marianne Catzaras is being held at the L’Art Pur Gallery until April 30.

Staged in collaboration with the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise, “Au Dela Du Temps (Beyond Time)” is a collection of Catzaras’ digital compositions representing her observations of time, space and people.

Rania Rizk, artistic director at L’Art Pur Foundation, said the exhibition was being held to coincide with the Francophonie Festival 2023 and Year of Poetry in Saudi Arabia.

“Art increases cultural enrichment and deserves to be celebrated,” she said. “It is the highest form of humanity, as it touches the soul and illuminates the mind.

“Marianne chooses to photograph whenever words are not enough … as she considers that photography breaks the language barrier and touches universally.

“In front of her photos, we are absorbed by a meditative silence that invites us to stand still and contemplate those captured moments layered with a lot of emotion and spirituality”

Catzaras has previously had exhibitions in Tunisia, Egypt, the US and Europe.

Misk Art Institute, Riyadh

The works of Saudi and Emirati artists Manal Al-Dowayan and Hassan Sharif Volumes are the focus for the latest editions of “The Art Library Exhibit: Discovering Arab Artists.”

On until June 15, the event takes visitors on a journey of Arab art and how it has shaped the contemporary art scene.

Ithra, Eastern Province

Sky Castle by Eness is an eye-catching interactive sound and light installation that comprises motion-sensitive colorful arches with a melodic xylophone soundscape.

Also in Ithra, “The Art of Orientation” is the largest collection of Islamic masterworks in Saudi Arabia and presents the significance, evolution and history of mosques around the world.

The exhibition dives deep into the interior design and artifacts within mosques with displays of minbars, mihrab niches, calligraphic pieces, prayer rugs, mosque lamps and Qur’anic manuscripts. It also includes virtual reality walk-throughs of famous sites like the Two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Madina.

The Ramadan edition of Children’s Museum at Ithra this year features a variety of interactive activities, workshops and classes for youngsters aged 12 and under to help them enrich their creative minds.

Hayy Jameel, Jeddah

Art Jameel is collaborating with Islamic Arts Biennale to present a collection of six local and international films about culture, life and faith, with three each being shown at the Hayy Cinema and Hajj Terminal.

The Hayy Cinema’s offerings are: “Raven’s Song,” “Honeyland” and “Dounia and the Princess of Aleppo,” while at the Hajj Terminal visitors can see “Soufra,” “A Road to Mecca” and “Roll’em.”

 


How to have a productive, spiritual Ramadan

How to have a productive, spiritual Ramadan
Updated 28 min 47 sec ago

How to have a productive, spiritual Ramadan

How to have a productive, spiritual Ramadan
  • Planning, prioritizing work tasks critical, says life coach
  • Breathing, light exercises can boost energy, momentum

RIYADH: With lengthy nightly prayers, abundant family gatherings, and plethora of activities, it can be difficult to find time and energy to work during Ramadan.

Lina Cherry, a globally certified life coach, by the International Coaching Federation, spoke with Arab News recently about the best ways to balance work, spirituality and personal life during the holy month. Cherry is also the regional director of training for the Middle East and Gulf at Coach Masters Academy, an institution with branches in 40 locations around the world. She coaches several clients in Saudi Arabia on finding holistic balance in life.

When she lived in Jeddah for five years, the concept was fairly foreign to locals, but has recently becoming widely embraced, she said.

A healthy work and personal life balance is based on defining wants and needs. (Supplied)

Explaining life coaching, Cherry said that it is based on positive psychology and takes a scientific approach. “It’s the process of triggering the brain to create something that is possible and positive. While psychologists or therapists focus on addressing the past, coaches generally counsel clients regarding career, personal and relationship challenges for a better future. When you focus on the past, you want to fix something, when you focus on the present and the future, you want to create something,” Cherry said.

This month, let us park our wants aside and focus on our needs ... I don’t want to ignore my red flags. I want to listen to my body.

Lina cherry, Certified life coach

A healthy work and personal life balance is based on defining wants and needs. Statistics show that seven out of 10 people struggle to balance their jobs and personal goals, Cherry said, and 90 percent of elderly people regret spending most of their lives working rather than nourishing relationships.

“It’s all about balance, exactly like we breathe. Today, how many balls am I juggling? Which balls are made of glass? Which ones are made of rubber? You don’t want to struggle to juggle,” Cherry said.

Lina Cherry, Certified life coach

She advises her clients to create awareness around each task to determine what is urgent, important or neither.

During such a challenging period as Ramadan, individuals are more likely to point the finger at themselves for low productivity, and perhaps forget that this is a month centered on spiritual connectivity and growth, Cherry said.

“During this month we really want to finish everything. We have already been overwhelmed or physically and mentally tired because the routine has changed. So it’s very important, first of all, to plan your day ahead and prioritize your tasks so you keep your momentum going.”

Keeping tasks in line creates a clearer vision for what is ahead. It is key to also minimize subtasks. For example, instead of an in-person meeting, opt to have it online to diminish time and effort spent on transportation. This way, you can also get to your next task quicker, she said.

Cherry suggests doing the bulk of one’s work for the day in the morning, while the brain is still fresh and energized. But as the enthusiasm starts to wear off, there are simple ways to boost energy throughout the day.

Take a few short breaks during the workday to reset between tasks. Increasing prayer during this month not only aligns with the spiritual side of Ramadan, but also increases positive energy. Meditation is also a great stress-buster, and a way to rewire the brain to think positively and set goals, she said.

“Breathing techniques are also very important. It can help get more oxygen into your thinking brain and when you do that, you are activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which in parallel helps the employee or person to reduce stress and relax,” Cherry said.

Light exercises like a short walk or a few jumping jacks can lift energy levels and momentum.

She urged people to declutter their minds from everything that does not serve them this month. Knowing that many tasks have to be completed, whether they are hours or days ahead, can be overwhelming. She said it is essential to practice mindfulness, which is a technique that involves focusing on the present moment, reducing stress and improving focus. “Stay with what’s familiar to you.”

People should not commit to new projects this month because so much energy and time are used to navigate new tasks. There should be a constant awareness that Ramadan is merely a month, and the priority is to engage spiritually, not professionally, she said.

In addition, to create healthy personal boundaries, all unnecessary activities and distractions should be eliminated including TV, social media, non-urgent calls or meetings. People should also avoid blue lights and screens. Spending copious amounts of time on phones can diminish serotonin levels and increase stress hormones, she said.

When the workday is done, then it is time to unwind and unplug, to reset and relax.

Cherry said people should be kind to themselves by defining what they are capable of at work. What is the state of one’s mental health? How is one’s body reacting to lack of sustenance?

For those working with non-Muslims or in a foreign country, they should communicate their experiences with their colleagues. They should create awareness around their state and how much progress they can expect.

Avoiding overcommitting is a tough but necessary action. Prioritizing can come with a lot of guilt, but recognizing human capability can be a fruitful process, possibly even achieving greater productivity, Cherry said.

“You need to be kind to yourself with zero self-condemnation … You need to be patient, flexible, and supportive with yourself and with people around you, in your community, at work with your employees and coworkers.

“Don’t punish yourself … We’re (fasting) for a beautiful reason. So why throw away these beautiful incentives for things you can park for a month?”

Finally, people should not be afraid to push the pause button.

Cherry said: “I need to set healthy boundaries during this month between me, myself, and the world around me. Who am I inviting into my life during the month? Know who you want to connect with. Sometimes people drain you.”

Changes in routine and mood are inevitable during Ramadan, so it is important to acknowledge space is required not denial of the stresses.

“This month, let us park our wants aside and focus on our needs … I don't want to ignore my red flags. I want to listen to my body,” she said.

 

 


Saudi, Turkish deputy foreign ministers meet in Riyadh

Saudi and Turkish diplomats discussed prominent regional and international challenges and crises. (Supplied)
Saudi and Turkish diplomats discussed prominent regional and international challenges and crises. (Supplied)
Updated 10 April 2023

Saudi, Turkish deputy foreign ministers meet in Riyadh

Saudi and Turkish diplomats discussed prominent regional and international challenges and crises. (Supplied)
  • Burak Akcapar also holds talks with GCC Secretary-General Jassem Albudaiwi

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji on Monday welcomed his Turkish counterpart Burak Akcapar for talks on regional and international issues of common interest.

The meeting, which was attended by Turkiye’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Fatih Ulusoy, also sought to find ways to boost cooperation between the two nations in various fields.

Akcapar also visited the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh where he met GCC Secretary-General Jassem Albudaiwi and Dr. Abdulaziz Aluwaisheg, assistant secretary-general for political and negotiation affairs.

Saudi and Turkish diplomats discussed prominent regional and international challenges and crises. (Supplied)

Albudaiwi stressed the importance of strengthening strategic dialogue between the GCC and Turkiye, as well as nurturing Gulf-Turkish relations in all fields.

The two sides also discussed prominent regional and international challenges and crises.

Albudaiwi and Akcapar highlighted areas of common interest under the framework agreement on economic and technical cooperation signed between the two sides in 2005, as well as the memorandum of understanding for the strategic dialogue signed in 2008.

Albudaiwi highlighted the decision of the GCC Ministerial Council to resume dialogue between the two sides and hold joint meetings during its 155th session.

The two sides concluded their talks by agreeing to stage more meetings between the joint technical teams that were formed under the framework of the joint action plan between the GCC and Turkiye, adopted at the third ministerial meeting of the strategic dialogue, held in Kuwait in 2010.

Albudaiwi said also that the two sides were keen to set a date for a sixth such meeting.

 


Saudi ambassador to Yemen says talks with Houthis aim to revive Yemen ceasefire

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber shakes hands with the political leader of the Houthis, Mahdi Al-Mashat.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber shakes hands with the political leader of the Houthis, Mahdi Al-Mashat.
Updated 10 April 2023

Saudi ambassador to Yemen says talks with Houthis aim to revive Yemen ceasefire

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber shakes hands with the political leader of the Houthis, Mahdi Al-Mashat.
  • Saudi Arabia has always stood with Yemen during dire political and economic circumstances and crises: Al-Jaber

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber said recent talks held with the Houthis in Sanaa aimed to revive a ceasefire and end conflict in the country.

“Continuing the Kingdom’s efforts to end the Yemeni crisis, and in support (of) the Saudi Initiative of 2021 to reach a comprehensive political solution in Yemen, I visit Sanaa along with a delegation from the brotherly Sultanate of Oman to stabilize the truce and ceasefire,” Al-Jaber tweeted on Monday.

A truce announced roughly a year ago has significantly reduced active hostilities within Yemen, and is still largely respected even though it officially expired in October.

The envoy said he also wants to “support the prisoner exchange process and explore venues of dialogue between Yemeni components to reach a sustainable and comprehensive political solution.”

He added that Saudi Arabia has always stood with Yemen during dire political and economic circumstances and crises.

“Since 2011, these brotherly efforts have continued to achieve the aspirations of the brotherly people of Yemen to restore security, stability, and economic prosperity,” Al-Jaber said.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s government has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s extensive diplomatic efforts to end more than eight years of war between the government and the Houthi militia.

Muammar Al-Eryani, Yemen’s minister of information, said that his government applauds Saudi efforts to end the conflict in Yemen and restore peace and stability in the country, and that it would support any peace initiative that would end the suffering of Yemenis.

“We express our appreciation for the exceptional efforts made by the brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to bring peace to Yemen, as well as our full support for their efforts to achieve peace in the region and move it from a stage of conflicts and internal strife to one of stability and security,” the Yemeni minister said.


Blooming marvelous: Countdown on to Taif Rose Festival 2023

Blooming marvelous: Countdown on to Taif Rose Festival 2023
Updated 10 April 2023

Blooming marvelous: Countdown on to Taif Rose Festival 2023

Blooming marvelous: Countdown on to Taif Rose Festival 2023
  • Host of events planned for annual celebration of region’s beloved blooms
  • Taif produces rose oil for some of world’s most famous perfumes

RIYADH: A host of floral and fragrant events and attractions are set to welcome visitors to this year’s Taif Rose Festival.

Organized by the Ministry of Culture, the event runs from April 21 to May 5.

Taif is regarded as the leading producer of rose fragrances in the Middle East, with about 900 farms producing more than 300 million blooms from March to April every year.

These are distilled and processed into fine rose oils, which are used in some of the world’s very best perfumes, including creations by Jimmy Choo and Givenchy.

This year’s festival will feature a parade of roses through the streets of Taif to Al-Raddaf Park, where there will be many activities and events to enjoy, including a light show, market and a children’s zone.

There will also lots of culinary treats, with local chefs conjuring up fabulous dishes that incorporate the Taif rose.

Last year’s festival attracted almost 1 million visitors and featured more than 50 events. It even achieved a world record for the largest flower basket. The impressive display was more than 12 meters long, almost 8 meters wide and stood 1.3 meters tall.

Comprising 84,450 roses, it took 190 people more than 168 hours to create.


Authorities impose penalties on 54 violating facilities in Saudi Arabia

Among the violations are failures to supply registered pharmaceutical products to local markets. (SPA)
Among the violations are failures to supply registered pharmaceutical products to local markets. (SPA)
Updated 57 min 43 sec ago

Authorities impose penalties on 54 violating facilities in Saudi Arabia

Among the violations are failures to supply registered pharmaceutical products to local markets. (SPA)
  • Inspectors detected 22 facilities that did not commit to providing their registered pharmaceutical products to the market, 21 facilities that failed to directly report the movement of drugs through the electronic tracking system

RIYADH: The Saudi Food and Drug Authority imposed penalties on 54 facilities found to be in violation of the Pharmaceutical and Herbal Establishments and Substances Law.

The violations include failing to provide their registered pharmaceutical products to the local market, to directly report the movement of drugs through the electronic tracking system, and to notify authorities about an expected shortage or interruption in providing their registered products to the market in March.

Inspectors detected 22 facilities that did not commit to providing their registered pharmaceutical products to the market, 21 facilities that failed to directly report the movement of drugs through the electronic tracking system, and 11 facilities that did not report an expected shortage or interruption in providing their registered products to the market in March. Penalties were imposed on the facilities.

According to the law, it is mandatory for factories and warehouses to have stocks of all their registered products sufficient for six months. It is also mandatory for those facilities to report ahead of time to the authority if they expect a shortage of those registered products or an interruption in supplying them to the market for a period of six months while providing solutions to make up for the shortage.