January 23, 2024

The Saudi artist Manal Al-Dowayan is gearing up for the Venice Biennale

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The Saudi artist Manal Al-Dowayan is gearing up for the Venice Biennale by collaborating with hundreds of Saudi women in a series of workshops. The first workshop, held in her hometown of Alkhobar on Jan. 16, marked the beginning of a three-city tour, with Jeddah and Riyadh workshops yet to come.

Over the past 20 years, Manal Al-Dowayan has consistently brought Saudi women together for her projects. The Gulf Girl Charity Association, also known as Fatat Al-Khaleej, played host to the Alkhobar workshop. Established in 1968, the association aims to provide a safe space for vulnerable Saudi women, including orphans. Al-Dowayan expressed her connection to the Eastern Province, stating, “It is only natural that I start this three-city tour for my Venice Biennale artwork here, having my family, my friends, and my community help me kick off this exciting project.”

The Alkhobar workshop was attended by a diverse group of art enthusiasts, spanning from six-year-old girls to women in their eighties. Al-Dowayan’s ability to weave various voices into one resonated with the attendees, fostering a sense of empowerment.

Mona Hassan, a longtime friend and participant in Al-Dowayan’s workshops, emphasized the lighthearted and fun nature of the events. She shared her experience with her daughters, who involved in multiple workshops over the years.

For local artist Afaf Aljishi, the workshop in Alkhobar was her first collaboration with Al-Dowayan. Aljishi highlighted the inspirational exchange of energy among the women, emphasizing the empowerment intrinsic to Saudi citizens and women.

The workshops incorporate breathing exercises and singing, introduced by Al-Dowayan to break the ice and create a comfortable atmosphere. Professional singer Ileana Yasmin, working at the Music Commission in Riyadh. Collaborates with Manal Al-Dowayan in leading the workshops. Focusing on helping participants find their voices.

The Alkhobar event showcased a warm and friendly atmosphere, encouraging women of different ages and generations to freely express themselves creatively. As Al-Dowayan continues her preparations for the Venice Biennale, upcoming workshops in Jeddah and Riyadh offer more opportunities for women and girls to participate in this empowering artistic collaboration. Interested individuals can register through the Saudi Pavilion website or social media channels.

Source: Arab News

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