The King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture, Ithra, launched their most monumental initiative on October 11th 2018, under the title “Tanween, Ithra Creativity Season”. The Creativity Season lasted for 17 days until the 27th of October 2018 with the aim of creating positive change in the artistic and creative community.

This years theme was Distruptor, a theme chosen to question the humanities relationship to disruption. By the conclusion of the season, Ithra entertained 65,000 visitors with 45 interactive workshops, talks lead by over 60 international speakers (of which 20 were Saudi), and showcased 25 outstanding with an exhibition under the title of “Sense and Sensibility”.

The Ithra Creativity Season will be an annual undertaking by the centre to foster creativity in the fields of fine art, music, theatre, science, literature, cultural heritage, film, and entrepreneurship. This year, the season was inaugurated by Mr. Amin Al Nasser, CEO of Aramco, Ali Al-Mutari, Director of King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, and Shaikha Mai Al Khalifa, the President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities.

Whilst talking to the press, Mr. Ali Al Mutairi, explained that since its establishment 85 years ago, Saudi Aramco has created initiatives from building roads and schools to other socio-economic initiatives that bettered the quality of life in the Kingdom. Now the company’s initiatives aim to champion and develop the local talents. Ithra has three main strategies: promoting knowledge, promoting creativity, and promoting cross-cultural engagement

Mr. Amin Al Nasser, CEO of Aramco, Ali Al-Mutari, Director of King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, and Shaikha Mai Al Khalifa, the President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities
Saudi artist and calligrapher, Nugamshi

Highlights from this year’s creative season include:

  • A talk by Muneera Al Tamimi and Mohammed Kazem The founders of Tamashee, A high-end Arabian Gulf footwear brand, called “Creating Experience around Culture”.
  • A panel discussion titled “Processions and Perception” by Nada Al-Mullah, Moataz Al Mulla and Sara Islam discussing how to truly think out-of-the-box and how to get there.
  • All workshops during the season were completely sold out with workshops on calligraphy having high-attendance. These included workshops by award-winning designer and calligrapher, Tareq Atrissi titled “Inventing Solutions for Local Problems”. And an additional two workshops by Atrissi called “Arabic Typography and Lettering” and “An introduction to Designing and Producing Arabic Fonts.” A further calligraphy workshop lead by Nugamshi called “Contemporary Calligraphy” was also in high demand.
  • And finally, the exhibition “Sense and Sensibility”, which displayed works by the artist Marije Vogelzang’s “Teardrop”, the art installation “Drifter” by Studio Drift, an installation called “The Silent Fall” by Studio Swine,  a VR installation by Google’s 3D virtual brush, “Lotus” by Studio Roosegaarde, and “<mat” by Shepherd Studio.

The Ithra Creativity Season took place in their stunning centre which boasts facilities that include an Idea Lab, Library, Theater, Cinema, Museum, Children’s Museum, Energy Exhibit, Archives, The Great Hall and The Knowledge Tower, all together providing visitors with transformative experiences.

Tanween is Ithra’s biggest undertaking yet, as the centre aims for the Creative Season to be internationally recognized.  The centre confidently claims that the Ithra Creative Season will be a beacon of creativity and innovation in the Arab region. Thus, making the Eastern Province the main destination in the Gulf for fostering creative skills and talents.

For more on Ithra’s Creativity Season, you can visit their website

Words by T. Khalifa

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