ALJCI loves art, and so its efforts to support a thriving cultural and artistic scene in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the years came naturally. Saudi Arabia has always been at the crossroads of trading routes influencing creativity in the Kingdom. Dating back to the 7th century a variety of art forms have evolved over the years. First, writing saw the emergence of the elegant calligraphy, and practical objects, such as pottery and weapons, were beautifully crafted as ornaments. Buildings, in particular mosques and palaces, equally were designed with beauty in mind, boasting ornamental details still today being emulated by architects and the world over, the mashrabia, water features, ceramic tiles and wooden crafted doors to name a few. And of course dresses and jewellery came in their own unique designs. However, it wasn’t until the mid 1900s when the government introduced art lessons in schools and in 1967 a society for art was formed in the country fostering a new wave of more modern art, which at the same time referred to the past keeping it alive. Poets and artists were involved in creating cultural centres to find young talents. Since, many famous Saudi Arabian artists have emerged.
As a port city, Jeddah is known as a rich melting pot of cultures and the preferred destination for art related ventures. Like elsewhere in the country, artists created at the grass-root level, but due to its openness it quickly became the city of choice for artists, photographers, film producers and literary clubs to set up a base from where they could access the international art scenes. Testimony to the city’s success in promoting its identity as an art centre is demonstrated by the Jeddah Art Week, which brings local and international artists together and educates the public on art.