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Rising stars and the importance of
Bridges: Cross-Cultural Conversations

Rising stars and the importance of

Rising stars and the importance of

The beauty of the mind of the Bedouin culture inspired by the great art of Vincent Van Gogh. 2021. Artist Khalid Al-Enzi. Courtesy of The Federal republic of Germany to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

By Rym Al-Ghazal
December 15th, 2021
“The light within art is not only a physical ray reflected on a texture of colors by a source of light in the room, but a sentimental visionary reflected by the artist…”
Interview with H.E. Dieter Lamlé

In an interview with Ithraeyat’s Editor in Chief Rym Al-Ghazal, H.E. Dieter Lamlé shares his views on the importance of light in art, and Germany’s cultural presence in Saudi Arabia, and the country’s latest project that supports Saudi artists and inspires important cultural dialogue.

“It is the first time for us to create such a project,” said H.E. Lamlé, referring to the “Tales of Stars” Exhibition with young emerging Saudi Artists; a project launched by the Cultural department at the embassy.

“I believe that arts are a perfect bridge to bring closer the spirits of German and Saudi Culture. Supporting young local, emerging talents is at the heart of our cultural mission in the Kingdom and we are planning for more projects in various fields of art to achieve this mission”.

List of participating artists include: Mohammad bin Fahad, Aisha Almadani, Alanoud Madlool, Saleh Alqarni, Atheer Alshlgan, Mohammed Alnogedan, Ali Alotaibi, Yasser Alshehri, Omar Alqarni, Mansour Alotaibi, Khaled Al-Enezi and Najlaa Alqahtani.

the importance of “light” (al noor) in art, the theme of this edition

“Naturally, the eye of the beholder is capable of appreciating art through light just like how it is able to see through a reflection of light on surrounding objects…The human eye sees the world with no color unless there is light and only light unless there is art.”

The painting speaks of how the earth and sky unite us as peoples through awareness, knowledge and the blessings available to all of us. The rose in the girl's hands is the centaurea flower and is known in German culture, which is used in several medical uses, including resistance to scorpion poison spread in the deserts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 2021. Artist Atheer Al-Shalqan. Courtesy of The Federal republic of Germany to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Rising stars and the importance of
Why was the stars theme chosen for this exhibition?

We wanted a theme everybody could relate to and at the same time find a common denominator in German and Arab history. Stars have been used for navigation by both our ancestors, and a lot of storytelling revolves around stars. As an inspiration we gave the artists the ending of a poem by the German writer Karl May as well as the legend of the Star Suhail. This is one of the most popular stars for the ancient Arabia and remains so until this very day. Suhail is the brightest star in the sky and people love this star as it is mentioned in many ancient poems and modern day songs. The star brings hope and is a good omen that the heat is almost over, the weather is cooling and the deserts will bloom again. The poem we gave the artists reads: 

Nur einer? Only one? فقط؟ واحد “Millions shine here all in the same heavenly light and in the same love down on you but your eye does not see it.”

Looking for the Suhail star in Germany’s skies. “I painted the desert sands and the beauty of the kingdom with a German sky, which is characterized by its color gradation, unlike the sky of the Arabian Peninsula which is dark in color with many stars.” Artist Najla Al-Qahtani. Courtesy of The Federal republic of Germany to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Turki

Rising stars and the importance of
When did this cultural initiative start and why?

During the past summer, the new culture team at the German Embassy saw a beautiful painting at a coffee shop painted by an emerging artist and decided to contact her. The team learned that there is actually a group of artists who paint together at a creative space in Riyadh, called beehive. Amazed by the vibe of the enthusiastic group, they gave the emerging artists a theme for their new paintings – tales of stars. Thus the hashtag #emergingartistsksa and the title of the program ‘Tales of Stars.’ The artists were asked to get as creative as they can and to try to link their artwork to either the German or Saudi culture. Starting in September, each week one or two an artist was promoted on the embassy’s social media accounts @Germanyinksa to help them gain a greater reach. When all 12 participating artists were done drawing, their works were exhibited at the German embassy at an opening reception. We were especially proud to be able to show the paintings to Dina Amin, CEO of the Visual Arts Commission and Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia bint Majed Al-Saud. The exhibition was then moved to WRD gallery in downtown Riyadh for a week. 
The rich Saudi culture and heritage has been embraced at the heart of the tremendous changes in Saudi Arabia. It is part of our mission in the kingdom to support this change in many fields, especially the cultural cooperation.

The painting reflects the coldness and beauty of the atmosphere of the beginning of the entry of Suhail star, shown in the painting on the right, the cold and rainy weather with a sky full of clouds, the sakura flower was added for the beauty of its colors and to break the black background and highlight its beauty. Artist AlAnoud Al-Madloul. Courtesy of The Federal republic of Germany to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Rising stars and the importance of
Any upcoming Germany Saudi Arabia cultural events?

We will continue the program #emergingartistsksa but shift our focus from visual arts to musicians. We will from now on have regular concerts by emerging artists. From January onwards we will have a world-wide travelled, German exhibition in Riyadh, accompanied by workshops designed to foster German-Saudi cooperation. And of course, we’ll continue our regular movie nights and participate in joint projects with our European colleagues. Currently we are looking forward to the EU film festival in February 2022. But most important: the Goethe-Institut Saudi Arabia, the German cultural institute, that offers German language courses started their cultural program this year. The institute operates in the whole Kingdom and enhances the exchange and collaboration between the culture and creative sectors in Saudi Arabia and Germany. In November and December a hackathon on urbanity and sustainable development in cooperation with EU partners and AlMashtal will take place in Riyadh, a joint project on hospitality and sound is being launched in cooperation with Hayy Jameel in Jeddah, Potsa Lotsa, a jazz band from Germany, will perform in both cities and there will be a workshop on creating an art book by a renown German artist and professor. And this only to name a few events in the upcoming weeks.

Turki Al-Romaih’s piece of graffiti on a replica of the Berlin wall. Courtesy of The Federal republic of Germany to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Any past & ongoing cultural cooperations between the two countries?

The collaboration between Saudi and German artists has existed for many years, as the German-Saudi agreement on cultural cooperation from 1986 proves. German artists enjoy cooperation with Saudi artists, for example Abdulnasser Gharem exhibits his work in Germany on a regular basis. The Museum of Islamic Art has hosted Saudi-Arabia related exhibitions for years and has a generous collaboration with Al Waleed Philanthropies, set out for the upcoming decade. There are numerous German-Saudi cooperation projects worth mentioning: the Saudi-German jazz fusion at King Fahad Cultural Center, Turki Al-Romaih’s piece of graffiti on a replica of the Berlin wall, the exhibition “images of Science” at the Al Faisal University or a fashion workshop by Ben Weide for young Saudi designers.

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