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Riyadh exhibition unveils literary and artistic career of Prince Khalid Al-Faisal

Riyadh: A politician, an avid painter, a poet and a patron of the arts, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal redefined creativity in his cultural work, defining its components while serving the Kingdom and its people as the governor of Aseer region, minister of education, and currently as the governor of Makkah region.

The journey of this politically-minded poet-prince is showcased in an exceptional exhibition held by the Visual Arts Commission, titled “Home of My Thoughts” at Hittin Palace in Riyadh.

The exhibition sheds light on the rich legacy of a prominent national figure, influencing Saudi culture with distinguished literary and artistic creations.

“This exhibition celebrates the prince of art and culture, it celebrates the inspired and inspiring prince, his inspirations in nature, poetry, literature, and art, and how he inspired other poets and artists,” said Raghad Amin, the general manager of program delivery at the Saudi Visual Arts Commission.

The show artistically narrates the journey of Prince Khalid through two main themes, the inspired and the inspiring.

“It has been a great honor to be the curator of this exhibition, but it was a big challenge to celebrate his royal highness’s legacy in one exhibition as he is a multi-faceted figure and an inspiration to all of us,” said Lulwah Al-Homoud, Saudi artist and curator of the exhibition.

“To have a simple yet rich narrative, there were two themes complementing each other in the exhibition: The inspired and the inspiring. We were working intensely for six months.”

The inspiring theme of the exhibition narrates the journey of a figure who derives his creativity by employing language in formulating poetry and literature, prompted by the spirit of the homeland and the originality of its people.

The inspired theme of the exhibition is represented by the prince who contributed to inspiring generations of thinkers, artists, poets, and music pioneers in the Arab world and beyond.

The inspired theme, meanwhile, includes testimonies of three artists greatly influenced by Prince Khalid: Ahmed Mater, a significant cultural voice documenting the realities of contemporary Saudi Arabia; Abdullah Hammas, whose paintings are acquired in several ministries, airports, government departs, and international museums; and Zena Amer, the director of art residencies and programs at Al-Muftaha fine arts village.

Al-Muftaha village is located in Abha, and is one of the most significant tourist destinations in the Aseer region, particularly for artists as it provides them with a space to express and share their creativity.

Founded in 1989 by Prince Khalid, then governor of the Aseer region, Al-Muftaha incorporates artists’ studios and accommodation, exhibition galleries, shops, and a bookstore.

“One of his most prominent contributions was the establishment of Al-Muftaha fine arts village, a center for artists and is considered one of the first centers in the Arab world for art,” said Amin.

Among the many projects founded by Prince Khalid are the literary club of Abha, the Abha singing festival, and the Abha Prize for Cultural Excellence.

From 1971 to 2007, Prince Khalid served as governor of Aseer, and his love for it is showcased in his poetry and paintings displayed in the “Country and its People” section of the exhibition.

Other paintings reflect renowned poems and poets from the pre-Islamic period, a period which greatly influenced the work of Prince Khalid.

“The strategy was to have a holistic approach by introducing sound and written words beside his paintings as well as an immersive digital installation that takes the audience into the world of his paintings,” said Al-Homoud.

She added: “I was really touched by the amount of interaction with the paintings by the audiences and proud to show the diversity of his great talents.”

The exhibition enriches visitors’ experience with a range of activities, unique discussions, and artistic and cultural programs and workshops, including one on the influence of the environment on color choices.

Some of the dialogue sessions scheduled include meetings between artists from Al-Muftaha, and discussions on the impact Prince Khalid had on them.

The exhibition opens daily from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will continue until Jan. 3.

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