Kingdom of Colors, a photography and video art exhibit organized by The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (ithra) displayed the visual arts and culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 20 unique artists. The 3-day event held early April at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood was well-attended and applauded for the efforts by the country to open the doors to local talent to be discovered by the world.
Ithra is a one-of-a-kind institution that brings together multiple offerings under one roof. The event also included Saudi Film Days – three days of films from creatives from the Kingdom presented in association with The Saudi Films Festival. A rising new generation of young filmmakers passionate about sharing their stories incorporated diverse and innovative visual narratives in their storytelling.
Films of note included Bilal by Ayman Jamal, Tongue by Mohamed Al Salman, Zaina’s Cake by Nada AlMojadedi, The Other by Tawfik Alzaidi, Atoor by Hussain Almotlaq, Is Sumiyati Going to Hell? By Meshal Aljaser and Wasati by Ali Alkalthami. Each day of the event comprised a few screenings followed by Q&A sessions and networking with the talent available to present their work to the diverse Hollywood guest list.
Among the visual artists whose work was exhibited at the event, several impressed including female creators such as Alanoud Al-Rasheed, Hadeel Khayat, Hiba Alalkami, and Norah Alamri. One of the photographers, Nasser AlNasser, shared more about his work saying, “This is my first time to USA, people were shocked that my photos were taken on an iPhone. I am interested in how people live everyday can capturing the details of their lives.” AlNasser has travelled to Nepal, Jordan and India to photograph people in daily life, and his work can be found online and on Instagram.
Attendees enjoyed refreshing beverages by Los Angeles-based, woman-owned company Todo Verde, with interesting ingredients such as chia seeds, black rice, activated charcoal, hibiscus, kumquat and orange blossom, and garnished with edible flowers. Small bites prepared by Saudi master chef winner Bader AlShaikh and his team included traditional lamb and rice served in shot glasses, a fusion take with fava beans on crackers, date salad, stuffed grape leaves with cherry tomato, and buttermilk panna cotta with date molasses, representing the food of the Kingdom.
Chef shared, “I am from Khobar, on the east side. I am here to cater for this event and having a wonderful experience. I’ve made different kinds of Saudi food, desserts also, and am really glad people love the food. I hope some day people will know about Saudi food in the whole world. This is only a taste of the different regions of our country, we invite guests to visit and explore all the different regions now open for tourism.” Arabic coffee and a date display completed the presentation, while musicians playing local traditional instruments in national attire serenaded the guests.