There is a question that has always fascinated humanity, this question of self, the ‘who am I?’ question.
Answers vary in different degrees of everything from nationality, to race, to religion, to gender, to a current job or jobs once held, hobbies, sports participating in, languages spoken, passports held, being a parent or marital status, where one lives (town, city, village, on the sea, in the mountains, etc.), horoscopes, and even lifestyle decisions like being vegan, and the kinds of pets one has. It is a deep sea of possible answers, and the waves may change based on the season and the winds of the day, bringing to surface different shells of answers.
In this special 18th edition of Ithraeyat, we artistically and philosophically explore this theme of ‘identity.’ Starting with our cover, believed to be the first in Saudi Arabia, and perhaps the region, we feature an Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated art that embodies elements of identity.
Look closely and see if anything in this art piece resonates with your idea of identity.
Besides AI, we feature the great works of ‘human’ legendary figures like Dia Alazzawi, the renowned artists Anila Quayyum Agha, Hakim Al-Akel, Alia Al-Farsi and many others.
We invite you to read the words of H.E. Ambassador Janet Alberda of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the poetic reflections of writer Abdullah Thabet, the insights of renowned archeologist Dr. Suleiman Al Theeb and heritage related stories by our regular contributors, the wonderful Dr. Ulrike Al-Khamis, Director and CEO at the Aga Khan Museum, and Somaya Badr, CEO of the Art of Heritage.
There are various views, connections, and perhaps ‘disconnections’ to the theme of identity to reflect on in this edition. It is important from time to time, for one to sit with oneself and see which parts work, which don’t anymore, and how the definitions we have of ourselves impacts our lifestyle, our decisions and our overall wellbeing.
Can a single dress bring people together? I believe The Red Dress project did just that, and became a diverse display of various cultural identities. We also welcome our latest collaboration with Bayt Al Fann, and thank our partners Barjeel Art Foundation, Art of Heritage, and Aramco Archives and AramcoWorld and all our great cultural writers for their continuous support.
However, perhaps the best gift to our readers this time, is the collection of winners of Ithraeyat’s second Postcard competition. Every submission captures a unique story by our regional talents.
Finally, it is with great pleasure and honor that we mention Ithraeyat Magazine's recent recognition from the highly-acclaimed Web Awards. After launching only five months ago, our magazine received the honor for its excellence in quality, originality, design and content, and Ithraeyat is the first website from Saudi Arabia to be awarded this special award.
Thank you for making us part of your day. We honour you and all the artists as we also celebrate the 25th of October – International Artist's Day – paying homage to the ever elusive and creative identity of the artist and their timeless contributions.
We hope you enjoy our latest ‘Makhzan’ (storehouse) of enriching stories.
Have a wonderful day.