Expo City Dubai Launches 10-day Festival of Emirati Light Art, Culture

Dhai Dubai runs at Expo City Dubai from January 26 to February 4 - WAM
Dhai Dubai runs at Expo City Dubai from January 26 to February 4 - WAM
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Expo City Dubai Launches 10-day Festival of Emirati Light Art, Culture

Dhai Dubai runs at Expo City Dubai from January 26 to February 4 - WAM
Dhai Dubai runs at Expo City Dubai from January 26 to February 4 - WAM

Dhai Dubai, the first-ever Emirati-led light art festival, has launched its illuminating 10-day program at Expo City Dubai.

The event celebrates the rich artistic tapestry of Emirati through a series of awe-inspiring artistic projections, interactive installations, enlightening talks and creative workshops.

The free-to-attend festival is created and organized by Expo City Dubai, in partnership with AGB Creative and supported by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and will run from January 26 to February 4, state news agency WAM reported.

Meanwhile, Al Wasl Plaza’s iconic dome, spanning 130 meters wide and 67.5 meters tall, with a 360-degree projection surface, will come to life with a series of special projection shows titled Sisters of the Desert.

The show is inspired by the exceptional work of the late Emirati artist, Dhabia Juma Lamlah, who embodied the resilient soul of Dubai. Dhabia Juma Lamlah defied her inability to use her right hand and communicate through speech, by expressing herself through more than 200 remarkable artworks.

Reflecting Dubai’s spirit of multicultural collaboration, the show also features special guests, Australian artist Rene Kulitja and South African artist Dr Esther Mahlangu, who weave together a narrative of resilience and cross-cultural connectivity, using art to bridge people separated by seemingly vast distances.

In keeping with Dubai’s dedication to humanitarianism, and Dhai Dubai’s firm belief in the transformational power of light, the festival has collaborated with the Expo Live award-winning Liter of Light initiative – a global, grassroots movement that uses affordable, accessible materials to provide high-quality solar lighting to those with limited or no access to electricity.

The festival will be supporting light lanterns to be distributed to the floating villages of Agusan Marsh in the Philippines. Festival visitors will also have the opportunity to pledge to contribute toward Liter of Light’s mission in communities across the Philippines, Kenya, Cameroon, and India.

The festival also encourages visitors to not only immerse themselves in art, but to interact with it through a series of striking installations. As part of the festival’s people-powered activities, skating turns into an art form at the Speed of Light skate park by XDubai, elevated by illustrations from prominent Emirati artist, Aysha Al Hamrani.

 

 



Othman bin Affan Mosque, a 1200-Year-Old Building in Historic Jeddah

The Jeddah Historic District Program unveiled the findings of the archaeological excavations at Othman bin Affan Mosque as part of the first phase of the Archaeology Project in Historic Jeddah. (SPA)
The Jeddah Historic District Program unveiled the findings of the archaeological excavations at Othman bin Affan Mosque as part of the first phase of the Archaeology Project in Historic Jeddah. (SPA)
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Othman bin Affan Mosque, a 1200-Year-Old Building in Historic Jeddah

The Jeddah Historic District Program unveiled the findings of the archaeological excavations at Othman bin Affan Mosque as part of the first phase of the Archaeology Project in Historic Jeddah. (SPA)
The Jeddah Historic District Program unveiled the findings of the archaeological excavations at Othman bin Affan Mosque as part of the first phase of the Archaeology Project in Historic Jeddah. (SPA)

The Jeddah Historic District Program unveiled the findings of the archaeological excavations at Othman bin Affan Mosque as part of the first phase of the Archaeology Project in Historic Jeddah, according to a press release from the program SPA said on Monday.
The excavations unearthed significant details about the mosque's history, including numerous artifact fragments, some dating back nearly 1,200 years.
The release stated that the archaeological excavations revealed that the mosque underwent numerous renovations and reconstructions over its long history. Aside from its latest, modern form, which was constructed sometime during the 14th century AH (late 20th century AD), all previous architectural phases followed the traditional style of mosques in the region at that time, with an open courtyard leading to a roofed prayer hall.
The mosque's size, orientation and mihrab niche remained essentially unchanged for over a thousand years.
Changes in the mosque primarily occurred in the elevation and flooring style. Clay tile and plaster flooring eventually led to flagstone, which remained in use for approximately 400 years. The floor level was periodically elevated during renovations, and the same flagstone flooring was reused until the early 20th century AD.
Moreover, alongside the significant changes that occurred in the mosque was the construction of an underground cistern system beneath the building. Archaeologists found cisterns "sealed and filled with crystal-clear water, left untouched by their builders for almost 800 years," the press release added. The construction of such underground cisterns was commonplace in historic Jeddah, given the city's scarce water supply.
The 1200-year-long history of the Othman bin Affan Mosque is illustrated by thousands of archaeological finds discovered during the excavation, from fragments of the 11th century AH (17th century AD) Chinese blue and white porcelain and 4th-6th century AH (11th-13th century AD) Chinese so-called Celadon ware with a pleasing soft green-grey colored glaze.
One of the earliest artifacts unearthed in the mosque are fragments of white, green and yellow glazed pottery dated by experts to the 3rd- 4th century AH (9th-10th century AD).


Saudi Ministry of Culture to Participate in LEAP 2024

The Ministry of Culture will take part in the third edition of LEAP 2024 Tech Conference. (SPA)
The Ministry of Culture will take part in the third edition of LEAP 2024 Tech Conference. (SPA)
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Saudi Ministry of Culture to Participate in LEAP 2024

The Ministry of Culture will take part in the third edition of LEAP 2024 Tech Conference. (SPA)
The Ministry of Culture will take part in the third edition of LEAP 2024 Tech Conference. (SPA)

The Ministry of Culture will take part in the third edition of LEAP 2024 Tech Conference, slated to be held from March 4 to 7, at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Center, SPA said on Monday.
The ministry will participate under the theme “Into New Worlds”, as the diamond sponsor of LEAP, in which the ministry's pavilion will showcase efforts in preserving the rich cultural heritage of the Kingdom with the latest technical methods.
The pavilion will embrace a digital environment that allows users to experience many cultural activities and attractions around the Kingdom. The pavilion also exhibits cultural attractions such as the history march, and sectors dedicated to music, art, history, and handicrafts.
Ten modern technologies that simulate artificial intelligence will be displayed in the pavilion, which provide a combination of cultural displays and digital innovation.


Saudi Post Issues Stamp to Mark Diriyah Season

The Saudi Post (SPL) issued on Sunday a commemorative stamp to mark Diriyah Season 2023-24. (Saudi Post)
The Saudi Post (SPL) issued on Sunday a commemorative stamp to mark Diriyah Season 2023-24. (Saudi Post)
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Saudi Post Issues Stamp to Mark Diriyah Season

The Saudi Post (SPL) issued on Sunday a commemorative stamp to mark Diriyah Season 2023-24. (Saudi Post)
The Saudi Post (SPL) issued on Sunday a commemorative stamp to mark Diriyah Season 2023-24. (Saudi Post)

The Saudi Post (SPL) issued on Sunday a commemorative stamp to mark Diriyah Season 2023-24.

The stamp, called “Entertain Your Cultural Curiosity, was issued in cooperation with the Diriyah Gate Development Authority and Diriyah Company.

Saudi Post stamps are issued based on the most prominent national or international events and occasions, making them an ideal choice for stamp collectors and historians worldwide.


Tourists Flock to AlUla's Gharameel Reserve for Endangered Species

The Gharameel nature reserve is a stunning expanse of desert wilderness renowned for its unique biodiversity (SPA)
The Gharameel nature reserve is a stunning expanse of desert wilderness renowned for its unique biodiversity (SPA)
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Tourists Flock to AlUla's Gharameel Reserve for Endangered Species

The Gharameel nature reserve is a stunning expanse of desert wilderness renowned for its unique biodiversity (SPA)
The Gharameel nature reserve is a stunning expanse of desert wilderness renowned for its unique biodiversity (SPA)

Located 60 kilometers north of AlUla city, northwestern Saudi Arabia, the Gharameel reserve is a stunning expanse of desert wilderness renowned for its unique biodiversity, for the variety of rock formations, and for its sand dunes and hills, SPA said on Sunday.
This remarkable landscape has made Gharameel a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from all over the world.
In a recent effort to enhance the reserve's natural beauty and ecological balance, the National Center for Wildlife and the Royal Commission for AlUla collaborated to release 14 Arabian oryx and 40 gazelles into the reserve.
The aim is to reintroduce locally endangered species, restore biodiversity, and promote environmental sustainability, in line with Saudi Vision 2030 goals.


King Salman Global Academy for Arabic Language, Thailand's Prince of Songkla University Sign MoU

Photo by SPA
Photo by SPA
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King Salman Global Academy for Arabic Language, Thailand's Prince of Songkla University Sign MoU

Photo by SPA
Photo by SPA

The King Salman Global Academy for Arabic Language (KSGAAL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Prince of Songkla University (PSU) in the Kingdom of Thailand.
KSGAAL’s Secretary-General Dr. Abdullah Al-Washmi and PSU President Asst. Prof. Dr. Niwat Keawpradub signed the memorandum on the sidelines of the Human Capability Initiative (HCI) Conference held in Riyadh, SPA reported.
The MoU aims to strengthen cooperation in the field of the Arabic language by preserving its integrity by teaching the Arabic language to non-native speakers through proficiency tests, digital dictionaries, blogs, curricula, and tools related to the language services and consultations in areas of common interest.


Saudi Arabia, Jordan Discuss Ways to Strengthen Cultural Ties

General view of streets in Amman, Jordan. Reuters file photo
General view of streets in Amman, Jordan. Reuters file photo
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Saudi Arabia, Jordan Discuss Ways to Strengthen Cultural Ties

General view of streets in Amman, Jordan. Reuters file photo
General view of streets in Amman, Jordan. Reuters file photo

Saudi Ambassador to Amman Naif bin Bandar Al-Sudairi has met at his office in the embassy with the Jordanian Minister of Culture, Haifa Najjar.

During Wednesday’s meeting, they discussed ways to strengthen cultural relations between the two countries and emphasized the importance of promoting cooperation and cultural exchange.


Tunisia’s Religious Affairs Minister, Pakistani Delegation Visit Hira Cultural District in Makkah

Tunisia’s Minister of Religious Affairs and the delegation from Pakistan visited the Hira Cultural District. SPA
Tunisia’s Minister of Religious Affairs and the delegation from Pakistan visited the Hira Cultural District. SPA
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Tunisia’s Religious Affairs Minister, Pakistani Delegation Visit Hira Cultural District in Makkah

Tunisia’s Minister of Religious Affairs and the delegation from Pakistan visited the Hira Cultural District. SPA
Tunisia’s Minister of Religious Affairs and the delegation from Pakistan visited the Hira Cultural District. SPA

Tunisia’s Minister of Religious Affairs Ibrahim bin Muhammad Al-Shaibi has paid a visit to the Hira Cultural District in Makkah, where he toured the Revelation Exhibition and other venues in the district.

The minister commended on Wednesday the efforts exerted in introducing visitors to the stories of the Prophets.

A delegation from the Pakistan Navy War College also visited the Hira Cultural District and toured the Revelation Exhibition and other venues in the district.


Minister: Kuwait Theater Festival is Beacon of Culture, Art in Arab World

People look on as fireworks light the sky in Fahaheel district, 35 km South of Kuwait City on February 25, 2024, during the country's National Day celebrations. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)
People look on as fireworks light the sky in Fahaheel district, 35 km South of Kuwait City on February 25, 2024, during the country's National Day celebrations. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)
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Minister: Kuwait Theater Festival is Beacon of Culture, Art in Arab World

People look on as fireworks light the sky in Fahaheel district, 35 km South of Kuwait City on February 25, 2024, during the country's National Day celebrations. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)
People look on as fireworks light the sky in Fahaheel district, 35 km South of Kuwait City on February 25, 2024, during the country's National Day celebrations. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP)

Minister of Information and Culture Abdulrahman Al-Mutairi said that the Kuwait Theater Festival, whose 23rd edition kicked off Wednesday, has been a beacon of culture and art in the Arab world since its launching in 1989.

Speaking at the opening ceremony at the Abdulhussain Abdulredha Theater in Salmiya, Al-Mutairi, the festival's sponsor, said since its inception, the Kuwaiti festival formed its identity and continued its march toward excellence and dissemination of the culture of diversity.

The Minister added that the festival has also become a platform for developing the theatrical movement in the country.

This year's edition coincides with Kuwait's national days' celebrations and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature (NCCAL), he said.

"We work at the NCCAL on implementing the directives of His Highness Emir Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness Prime Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah on backing and encouraging culture and arts in Kuwait," the minister stated.

He said he was happy at the naming of Saudi Theater and Performing Arts Commission CEO Sultan Al-Bazie as the festival's guest and Kuwaiti artist Saad Al-Faraj the personality of this year's edition, honoring them as well as other dignitaries and artists.


In Cyprus Halloumi War, an Ex-Pilot Champions the Old Ways 

A worker prepares halloumi on Pantelis Panteli's farm in Kokkinotrimithia, Cyprus February 10, 2024. (Reuters)
A worker prepares halloumi on Pantelis Panteli's farm in Kokkinotrimithia, Cyprus February 10, 2024. (Reuters)
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In Cyprus Halloumi War, an Ex-Pilot Champions the Old Ways 

A worker prepares halloumi on Pantelis Panteli's farm in Kokkinotrimithia, Cyprus February 10, 2024. (Reuters)
A worker prepares halloumi on Pantelis Panteli's farm in Kokkinotrimithia, Cyprus February 10, 2024. (Reuters)

On a cold winter evening in a car park in the Cypriot capital Nicosia, queues are already forming before former airline pilot Pantelis Panteli arrives in a small van to sell his produce.

After being made redundant following the closure of Cyprus Airways in 2013, Panteli decided to try his hand at cheese-making. He hasn’t looked back.

Now the newcomer has become an unlikely bastion of an old tradition amid a bitter legal battle about the ingredients of Cyprus's prized Halloumi. Should it be made from cow's milk - which now forms the bulk of exports and has a mellower taste - or from tarter goat and ewe milk, which some purists swear by?

Panteli makes Halloumi exclusively from ewe's milk - even though some dairy farmers on the Mediterranean island say that method is not viable.

"Nobody is making the real thing anymore, and that is our aim," he told Reuters, standing in a pen with about 300 noisy sheep at his farm in Kokkinotrimithia, west of Nicosia.

Panteli started making Halloumi with guidance from his mother-in-law. Now he has his own "Kouella" brand, Cypriot for ewe.

"It was all trial and error with a small pot, then a bigger pot - and just like Steve Jobs - in our garage," he said.

Panteli only has a permit to sell direct to consumers, and is restricted to producing 150 liters of milk per day at a new purpose-built dairy in the farm compound.

But he is proving popular. He alerts customers to his whereabouts on social media, and makes videos on Tiktok and the social media platform X. Within two hours, he is normally sold-out.

Heated debate

Soft, rubbery Halloumi can be eaten raw, grilled, boiled or fried without losing its shape. It is the island's largest export after pharmaceuticals.

Panteli cooks the milk in rennet which allows curdles to form. After resting, the curdles are cut and reheated. He hoists up layered grills from the whey, containing steaming hot slabs of Halloumi, and flips them onto a counter where he salts and folds them. He puts them in brine for a few hours, then packages them for sale.

It has been three years since Cyprus won its status as the only country able to produce and market the prized cheese. In gaining a protected designation of origin (PDO) from the European Union, Cyprus committed to increase the quantity of ewe or goat milk to just over 50% by July 2024.

But the dispute about ingredients has triggered farmers demonstrations. Industry stakeholders say ewe and goat's milk is highly seasonal, and could therefore have an impact on production capacity. Cheese makers had threatened to shut their dairies because there wasn't enough milk, while cattle-breeders are angry at the threat to the market for cows' milk.

Authorities now plan to push back full compliance with the specifications to 2029.

Nicos Papakyriakou, director-general of the cattlebreeders association, said that based on an older 1985 trade standard, accepted ingredients for Halloumi were not only goat and ewes' milk, but cows' milk as well.

He says it is the mellower cows' milk that has allowed Halloumi to capture overseas markets.

"The PDO says it should smell like a farm," he said, referring to official product specifications that Halloumi should have a 'barnyard' smell.

"It would smell like goats! What consumer abroad would buy that?" he said.


Saudi Arabia: Royal Commission for AlUla Signs Partnership with French Sorbonne

The agreement aims to build capacities, exchange knowledge, and establish integrated systems for research, training, and information sharing. SPA
The agreement aims to build capacities, exchange knowledge, and establish integrated systems for research, training, and information sharing. SPA
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Saudi Arabia: Royal Commission for AlUla Signs Partnership with French Sorbonne

The agreement aims to build capacities, exchange knowledge, and establish integrated systems for research, training, and information sharing. SPA
The agreement aims to build capacities, exchange knowledge, and establish integrated systems for research, training, and information sharing. SPA

The Royal Commission for AlUla has entered into a partnership agreement with Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University to establish the Jaussen and Savignac Center for Archaeological Research in AlUla and Paris, alongside a named chair to foster academic excellence and archaeological research.

This collaboration aligns with efforts to implement the comprehensive development plan for AlUla and deepen cooperation with leading institutions in culture, heritage, and education.

The agreement aims to build capacities, exchange knowledge, and establish integrated systems for research, training, and information sharing, documenting 200,000 years of human history in one of the world's largest archaeological reference libraries.

It seeks to develop cooperation in scientific studies and the fields of tourism, archaeology, history, and arts, contributing to AlUla's growth journey and cementing its position as the world's largest living museum and a global center for culture and heritage.

The partnership includes holding an annual symposium that provides a collaborative environment for academics, students, and Ph.D. candidates, encouraging dialogue among various disciplines and cultures, in addition to offering a master's program in archaeology and the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage.