Feature: Saudi artists say vibrant art would create different society

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-08 23:58:10|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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RIYADH, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- "Doctors and scientists are necessary for any society, but art and poetry make life worth living for," said Samaher Khalid, a 31-year-old filmmaker from Saudi Arabia's city of Jeddah.

She regrets not having enough opportunities in the country to learn filmmaking professionally.

"There has been so much emphasis on science and math, while people seldom think of the arts in terms of professional career," she said, calling for nurturing artistic talent to build a creative and intellectual society.

Rehana Mughal, the British Council's senior program manager for culture and sport in the Gulf, told Xinhua that some people did not realize that art could be a career, but things are changing now.

"More and more young people are able to visualize what a creative career might look like for them because they are exposed to more creativity than ever before. Also, a creative career can be accepted by more people in Saudi Arabia," Mughal said.

It is this necessity that has brought the British Council and the Saudi Film Council together to support Saudi film sector.

At the Creative Futures Forum held in Riyadh this week, experts, students and arts gathered to discuss the social and economic potential of Saudi creative industry.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of the British Council, told Xinhua that the social, cultural and economic development is essential for the future of the kingdom, and it is an exciting time now to witness the opening up in Saudi Arabia.

"This is the first time I heard of such an initiative and it's heartening," Samaher said, adding that "it can offer a lifeline for people like me. I'm a self-taught filmmaker and I need training."

The two organizations will be partners on in-depth research across the country, asking "what skills are needs in Saudi Arabia" in order to support the growth of the film sector.

Devane expressed confidence in the vibrancy, creativity and intelligence of the Saudi youth, saying the British Council has partnered with a number of Saudi young people, including female artists, in programs such as art collections and technical collaborations.

Abdul Mohsin, a Jeddah-based artist, said there has been an explosion of creative energy in Saudi Arabia over the past couple of years thanks to the government's investment in the intellectual capital.

After studied fine arts in the United States and the United Kingdom, Mohsin returned to homeland in 2018 to take part in an "art revolution" in his country.

"Now you can feel the surge with a lot of international artists coming to Jeddah and conducting workshops with local artists, while art galleries have mushroomed in many places," Mohsin said.

"We just need more creative space where artists can freely work, interact and expand their horizons," added Mohsin.

While Samaher feels the need for a physical hub where filmmakers, videographers and editors can interact and help each other, Mohsin said similar platforms would give a major boost to the art scene in the country.

Devane stressed that artistic and creative social development is paralleled by the technical and infrastructure educational development, which is equally important to have a successful creative economy.

"What is unique about Saudi Arabia is there are a lot of creative talent bubbling across the country," says Mughal, adding that "it's an exciting time for the kingdom."