Friday, January 31, 2014

Sky Watch: Jeddah Art Week - Monnier

Untitled work by Sylvestre Monnier 
I love the light effects caused by the sun glinting on the shiny silver surface of this sculpture by Silvestre Monnier.  Tomorrow night (Saturday) at 6pm is the opening ceremony of Jeddah Art Week at the new Open Air Sculpture Park in Jeddah's Middle Corniche.  This ceremony kicks off the first of many scheduled events for Jeddah Art Week.  The public is welcome at any of the events.   Hope to see you there!





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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jeddah Art Week - Kovacs

Alterations in Space - Francois Kovacs (1915-2005)
This graceful modern art sculpture was designed and created by Francois Kovacs, a Belgian doctor and medical researcher who had a passion and a talent for sculpting.  He worked in a variety of mediums, from marble to bronze.

Alterations in Space - Francois Kovacs (1915-2005)
Kovacs was not credited for his artwork here in Jeddah until 2012 when my blogs played a role in changing the credit from previously "Unknown" to Kovacs.  To read the story of how it happened, please  CLICK HERE.

Alterations in Space can be viewed at the new Open Air Sculpture Park in Jeddah's Middle Corniche.  It is the site for the opening ceremony of Jeddah Art Week on Saturday, February 1st at 6pm, which kicks off the first of many scheduled events.  The public is welcome at any of the events.   Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jeddah Art Week - Flame of Life by Hiltunen

Flame of Life - by Eila Hiltunen (1922-2003)
Eila Hiltunen's Flame of Life sculpture has been refurbished and restored and has now been placed in its new home along Jeddah's Corniche. Hiltunen was a famous Finnish sculptress.  Many of her graceful designs were inspired by her love of ballet.  She is perhaps most well known for her Sibelius Monument, which she was commissioned to create after winning a hotly contested and controversial competition, and which honors Finland's national composer Jean Sibelius.

The Flame of Life can be viewed at the new Open Air Sculpture Park in Jeddah's Middle Corniche.  It is the site for the opening ceremony of Jeddah Art Week on Saturday, February 1st at 6pm, which kicks off the first of many scheduled events.  The public is welcome at any of the events.   Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jeddah Art Week - The Eye

The Eye - by Cesar Baldaccini (1921-1998)
The Eye is an enormous bronze sculpture by the French born artist César Baldaccini.  He is most commonly  known just simply by his first name César.  He was one of the early pioneers in creating art from items not originally intended as art, such as wrecked cars, scrap metal, or garbage.  Aside from sculpting body parts, like The Eye, The Fist, and The Thumb, César found joy in creating a variety of fantastical insects and animals, as well as nudes. 

The Eye - by Cesar Baldaccini (1921-1998)
The Eye by Baldaccini can be viewed at the new Open Air Sculpture Park in Jeddah's Middle Corniche.  It is the site for the opening ceremony of Jeddah Art Week on Saturday, February 1st at 6pm, which kicks off the first of many scheduled events.  The public is welcome at any of the events.   Hope to see you there!


                   
                   

Monday, January 27, 2014

Jeddah Art Week - Arnaldo Pomodoro

Cube IV - by Arnaldo Pomodoro (1926- ) 
Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro had a background in building restoration, stage design, and goldsmithing before he began his career in sculpting.  He also spent time teaching in California at Stanford University and UC Berkeley.  His art focuses on basic geometric shapes such as spheres, pyramids, columns, discs, and cubes.  CLICK HERE for a wonderful interview with Pomodoro regarding his work. 
Circular Mass - by Arnaldo Pomodoro (1926-)
Pomodoro's Cube IV, as well as another of his sculptures called Circular Mass (above), can be viewed at the new Open Air Sculpture Park in Jeddah's Middle Corniche, which is the site for the opening ceremony of Jeddah Art Week.  It will be held on Saturday, February 1st at 6pm, kicking off the first of many scheduled events.  The public is welcome at any of the events.   Hope to see you there! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jeddah Art Week - Colorful Sculptures

Balance in the Air - Victor Vasarely (1906-1997)
Victor Vasarely was born in Hungary but lived most of his life in France.  He is known for his colorful geometric art and was one of the earliest creators of what is called "Op Art."  Optical art is designed in such a way that it can create illusions by using abstract geometric patterns which can appear to move, swell, warp, or produce a number of other visual effects. 

Flexibility of Balance - Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
Alexander Calder was an American sculptor who is credited with inventing "kinetic sculpture," an art form which utilizes balance, weight, and air movement.  Kinetic sculpture is more commonly known as the mobile.  Calder's father and grandfather were also well-known sculptors in their day. 

Both Vasarely's and Calder's art is on display in cities all over the world.   The sculptures featured in today's post can be viewed at the new Open Air Sculpture Park in Jeddah's Middle Corniche, which is the site for the opening ceremony of Jeddah Art Week on Saturday, February 1st at 6pm, kicking off the first of many scheduled events.  The public is welcome at any of the events.   Hope to see you there! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Jeddah Art Week - Henry Moore

Henry Moore was a prolific sculptor, famous for his large bronze abstract works which can be seen all over the world as public art.   The three pieces shown in this post were all created by Henry Moore for the City of Jeddah.  Besides these, there are many more that the sculptor was commissioned to do for the city as well. 

 Large Spindle Piece - by Henry Moore
From his humble beginnings as a coal miner's son in England, Moore became an extremely successful commercial artist but he continued his lifelong frugal habits.  His Henry Moore Foundation was endowed with his earnings and continues to support art education and promotes the arts to this day.

Three Piece Reclining Figure No. 1 - by Henry Moore
The above piece is one of many of Moore's various reclining figures, a theme he explored mainly with the female form in mind.  My own interpretation of the above sculpture is "reclining elephant."  Do you see it too?

Oval with Points - by Henry Moore
These Henry Moore sculptures can all be viewed at the new Open Air Sculpture Park in the Middle Corniche, which is the site for the opening ceremony on Saturday, February 1st at 6pm, kicking off the first of many events scheduled for  Jeddah Art Week.  The public is welcome at any of the events.   Hope to see you there! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

SkyWatch: Jeddah Art Week



Jeddah Art Week begins in just a few days, and this photo that I took is being used for all the promotions and announcements of the Art Week events.  The splash of yellow paint was manipulated into the photo by an artist.  I first published this photo without the coloring manipulation on this blog in June 2013.  I was thrilled to be contacted by an outfit in London asking for permission to use some of my photos for promoting Jeddah Art Week.

Yesterday morning my husband drove me down to the new open air sculpture museum, where many of Jeddah's refurbished and repaired sculptures that I love so much have been placed in their new permanent home.  The opening ceremony for Jeddah Art Week will be held there and I will be posting photos of the sculptures on this blog over the next few days in support of this wonderful weeklong event.  If you are in Jeddah, do try to attend the opening ceremony or any of the many events planned throughout the week.  Hope to see you there!  Click here for a map guide to the events. 



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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jeddah Style Architecture

This is a beautiful example of the old style Saudi architecture of Al Balad, the oldest neighborhood in Jeddah.  The wooden window coverings, called rawasheen, are very distinctive, allowing for airflow as well as privacy.  Buildings were built very close together and were of varying heights, creating more air flow in the narrow gaps between them.  Rooftops were also utilized as an outdoor area.  My husband recalls sleeping up on the rooftop when he was a boy and the weather permitted. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Uptown 966 Restaurant Lobby Art

This artwork is what greets customers as they walk into the popular and trendy Uptown 966 Restaurant in Jeddah.  Formerly called Casper & Gambini's at this location, Uptown 966 offers free WiFi and has a comfortable atmosphere.  I've been there for breakfast a few times and it's always been good.  The restaurant is located on Andalus Street and their phone number is 02-667-2020. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Seaside Mosque on Corniche

This quaint terracotta colored mosque is located on the Corniche in Jeddah which runs along the Red Sea coastline.  Not far from the mosque is one of Jeddah's many unique sculptures of a colorful Moroccan style lamp, visible to the left.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Desert Plant Sculpture

This Desert Plant Sculpture sits on the corner of a very busy intersection of Jeddah, where the Al Hamra Open Air Art Museum begins.  It is made of metal.  I'm not sure whether it is some type of agave plant or something else.  If anyone knows, please help me out.  Thanks!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Large Incense Burner - Al Balad

This public incense burner is actually small compared to others that I have seen around the city.  Many incense burners here in Saudi Arabia are much taller than the gentleman in this photo.  This one is located in the old part of the city called Al Balad.  Khalid Khafagy operates Tour Arabia, which offers tours around Jeddah and other parts of Saudi Arabia.  This photo was taken on a recent tour of Al Balad.  Khalid has been nominated for a Saudi Excellence in Tourism Award 2014 in the Best Tour Guide category.  You can vote for him by clicking here

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Baeshen House Entryway

The old traditional style of seating in Jeddah was to line the walls with cushions.  Many times the cushions were put directly on the floor and sometimes they were elevated to be more like the couches that most of us are familiar with.  This photo shows the entryway of the Baeshen House in Al Balad of Jeddah.  The house is being preserved as an example of life in Jeddah long ago. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Beautiful Rawasheen

The walls are cracking, the wood is rotting, the paint has chipped away.  But there is a certain beauty to be found in these window treatments found in Old Jeddah. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

View from the Top

This wide lovely boulevard named Prince Faisal bin Fahd Road runs parallel with the Corniche, the busy road which extends along the Red Sea coastline in Jeddah.  There are many luxury hotels in this area of the city, many offering lovely views of the Red Sea to the west and views of many of Jeddah's unique sculptures along this boulevard to the east.  This photo was taken from the rooftop of a building which houses several restaurants, including Amara Cafe (a favorite of mine for breakfast), Ajji (a fine dining Asian restaurant), and The Connoisseur (a gourmet bakery and catering provider).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Baeshen House Courtyard

This is the private courtyard of the Baeshen House, which is in the Al Balad section of Old Jeddah.   There is built in seating along the walls and verses from the Q'uran written along the top of the walls.  The family could enjoy being out in the fresh air and still have privacy at the same time.  This area of the home was also used at times for praying.  The Baeshen House is no longer inhabited but is made available for tours. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Creepy

Despite laws now in place requiring businesses in Saudi Arabia that cater to women to actually employ females to sell those products, there are still some businesses that don't seem to have gotten the message.  Most lingerie and cosmetics shops in malls have made the switch to replace salesmen with a female sales force.  But I have still seen shops here and there that still employ men to sell brassieres and panties to Saudi women - ironic for a place where there is strict gender segregation enforced.  These photos were taken in a Jeddah mall just a few days ago.   



Monday, January 13, 2014

Old Carved Wooden Door in Al Balad

The oldest part of the city of Jeddah is called Al Balad, which in Arabic simply means the town.  It is comprised of crowded narrow streets and alleyways, with most buildings at least four stories tall.  The interesting architectural details abound, with such things as archways, carvings, and mosaics. The old carved wooden door in this photo is one example of the amazing detail that made Al Balad so special in its day.  I believe the circular opening above the doorway provided ventilation, a very important consideration for buildings in Jeddah because of the torturous heat.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Baeshen House Lamp and Window

Baeshen House in Al Balad, Jeddah's oldest part of the city, is an architectural treasure that will hopefully be preserved and maintained for generations to come.  This beautiful Moroccan style ceiling lamp hangs in the entryway of Baeshen House.  It is lovely paired with the colorful stained glass window near it.  

Much of the old section of Jeddah is crumbling and in such a state of disrepair.  The danger of fire is also a constant threat due to substandard and unsafe electrical wiring in this old part of the city.  Preservation efforts are at work, but every time I have visited Al Balad, it seems more buildings have been lost. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Minaret Reflection

Many of Jeddah's buildings sport blue metallic glass.  The reflections often tell a story of their own.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Texas Size Incense Burner

Incense is widely available and used in the Middle East.  Its use is affiliated with most major religions.  In fact, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when all Muslims fast from sun-up until sundown, it was reported in the newspaper that sales of incense within the kingdom reached one BILLION Saudi riyals, which is approximately US $266 MILLION!  That is, sales only during the one month of Ramadan!

It is not unusual to see enormous incense burners in public places here in Jeddah.  Some that I have seen are as tall as the gentleman in this photo, who is a tour guide in Jeddah.  For information about taking tours in and around Jeddah or other various excursions within Saudi Arabia with TOUR ARABIA, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Camel Caravan Arch

A familiar sight in the old downtown section of Jeddah is this camel caravan archway which decorates the entrances of a large shopping plaza in Al Balad.  The camels actually glow in neon at night so it makes for a beautiful effect, reflecting off of the blue glass building behind it. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Water Well Sculpture

This Jeddah sculpture stands just several feet away from the Rose Water Sprinkler sculpture in Al Balad that I just featured a few days ago.  It is a replica of the ancient public drinking water dispensers that used to be found placed in strategic points around the city to quench the thirst of its citizens.  This sculpture has been changed in the few years since I first published a photo of it.  There used to be several more drinking cups standing at the base of the sculpture. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rain: A Rare Sight

It rarely rains in Jeddah, and that is no exaggeration.  I love rain.  It's cleansing and it makes the air smell so fresh and clean.  It doesn't rain enough here in Jeddah.  When it does rain, it is usually big news.  Most schools will close, many businesses may even shut down, and streets can easily flood.  It was a pleasant surprise that it rained recently.  It was even more surprising to see this man walking down the street holding an umbrella.  He must have brought it with him from his native country because I can't recall ever seeing umbrellas for sale here - although they would come in handy as a sun shield ...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Murrush: Rose Water Sprinkler Sculpture

Jeddah is home to hundreds of unique sculptures, many of which I have featured on this blog.  This particular sculpture is of a "Water Blessing Sprinkler" or "Rose Water Sprinkler," an ancient Middle Eastern gadget called "murrush" that was used to sprinkle rose water on the palms of visitors to one's home to greet them.  It was also offered after meals to cleanse or refresh the hands.  In my research for this post, I came across some really beautiful designs and colors of rose water sprinklers. 

Rose water has been associated with the Middle East for centuries.  It is also used in cooking (great in dessert puddings) or you can just add a drop to flavor a pitcher of drinking water (heavenly!).  I wrote a post about a rose water factory in Taif that we visited, if you are interested in the process of how rose water is made. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Al Balad Storefronts

Early on a Friday morning (the holy day for Muslims), most shops in Jeddah's Al Balad district are closed for business until after the noontime prayer.  I find a certain beauty in the combination of the colors, the signs, the designs on the ironwork doors...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Aging in Al Balad

Many of the older buildings of Jeddah are in disrepair and are neglected by, what I call, the slum lords.  Even so, most of the the dilapidated buildings are still inhabited by poor workers from third world countries.  I do think that the old green and white signs naming the district and the streets are quite beautiful.  They would make beautiful artwork hanging on the walls inside homes. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Jeddah's Oldest Minaret

Whether or not this is Jeddah's oldest mosque minaret, I am not sure, but I was told that it was on a recent tour I took down in Al Balad, the old historic part of Jeddah.  The minarets are equipped with loudspeakers which carry the melodic voices of the muezzin, who sings the calls to prayer (called adhan) five times every day. 

For those of you who are interested in hearing the call to prayer, below is a beautiful example of a Filipino man singing the call to prayer in the style of Sheikh Mohammed Mulla, the famous muezzin of the Grand Mosque in Makkah. 

 



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014 - Green Rawasheen

Well, I'm finally back.  Forgive me for my absence but sometimes a little break from blogging is necessary.  I spent a few months in the states and have been back in Jeddah for a couple of months, so I guess it's time to get back into the swing of things. 

This photo was taken in the oldest part of Jeddah called Al Balad.  Many of the old buildings are crumbling or have been destroyed by fire.  The wooden window coverings that appear on many of the older buildings are called "rawasheen" (plural) or "roshan" (singular).  These window coverings provide privacy and ventilation and they are painted a variety of colors, mostly blue or brown.  The rawasheen are a very typical and distinctive feature of the old style buildings, many of which were built using crushed coral, which was available from the Red Sea.