Ithra’s in­ter­na­tional COVID-19 Ex­hibit open for sub­mis­sions

The event will offer a col­lec­tion of mem­o­ries and re­flec­tions on peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ence of pan­demic through art

Arab News - - News Saudi Arabia - Hala Tashkandi Riyadh

The King Ab­dul Aziz Cen­ter for World Cul­ture (Ithra) has launched its in­ter­na­tional COVID-19 Ex­hibit, a col­lec­tion of thoughts, mem­o­ries and re­flec­tions on peo­ple’s pan­demic ex­pe­ri­ence that can be ex­pressed through art.

Ithra started ac­cept­ing visi­tors again since the end of the na­tion­wide coro­n­avirus lock­down, but the ef­fects of the pan­demic re­main on peo­ple’s minds and in their ev­ery­day lives.

Launched on June 28, the ex­hibit’s first phase con­sists of a vir­tual show high­light­ing ob­jects that were par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant to mem­bers of the pub­lic dur­ing the pan­demic. Ithra is cur­rently invit­ing sub­mis­sions at https://www.ithra.com/en/ covid-19-ex­hibit, and the gallery will go live to the pub­lic in July. Ex­am­ples of ob­jects be­ing sought by Ithra in­clude newly made works of art or images of ob­jects of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance: A pen, a photo of loved ones or rel­a­tives, a diary, a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment, a book or a note from a fam­ily mem­ber. In 2021, the sec­ond phase of the project will in­clude ob­jects se­lected by the cu­ra­tors from the on­line sub­mis­sions, which will be on dis­play at the Ithra build­ing in Dhahran.

Ithra’s head of mu­se­ums, Laila Faddagh, said that the ex­hibit was the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for the global com­mu­nity to tell their sto­ries dur­ing a dif­fi­cult and com­pli­cated time.

“While this is an un­prece­dented time, it is also an un­prece­dented mo­ment of global sol­i­dar­ity,” she said. “Art is about con­nect­ing peo­ple through cul­ture — and cul­ture is based on the ex­change of ideas and iden­ti­ties — but we con­nect maybe even more eas­ily through com­mon ob­jects.”

She added that the ex­hibit was in­tended to be a fo­rum for cre­ativ­ity and self-ex­pres­sion for every­one. “Ithra is in Saudi Ara­bia, but, as a lead­ing cen­ter for global cul­ture, we want to in­clude peo­ple from around the world. In the spirit of wel­come, warmth and em­pa­thy — es­pe­cially now dur­ing the pan­demic — it is an op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with every­one, from any­where.”

The ex­hibit aims to offer a plat­form to share ob­jects that are mean­ing­ful to peo­ple and their sto­ries, pro­vide per­spec­tive on the ef­fects of COVID-19 on peo­ple and their re­la­tion­ships with ob­jects, con­nect cul­tures and cre­ate di­a­logue through in­ter­na­tional par­tic­i­pa­tion, en­cour­age self-ex­pres­sion and cre­ativ­ity, and foster em­pa­thy and unity among peo­ple around the world.

Ithra, Saudi Aramco’s flag­ship ini­tia­tive and the first in­sti­tute of its kind in the King­dom, is con­sid­ered one of the coun­try’s most cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant es­tab­lish­ments.

Dur­ing the pan­demic, the cen­ter’s Ithra Con­nect ini­tia­tive pro­duced more than 50 on­go­ing pro­grams for peo­ple na­tion­wide to ben­e­fit from dur­ing lock­down.

Ithra Con­nect fea­tured talks by prom­i­nent speak­ers such as Bri­tish ac­tor Idris Elba and US as­tro­physi­cist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, full on­line ac­cess to Ithra’s li­brary, and the “COVID-19 Jour­nal,” an on­line col­lec­tive diary where peo­ple from around the world shared their thoughts about the pan­demic in Ara­bic and English.

HIGH­LIGHTS

Launched on June 28, the ex­hibit’s first phase con­sists of a vir­tual show high­light­ing ob­jects that were par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant to mem­bers of the pub­lic dur­ing the pan­demic.

Ithra is cur­rently invit­ing sub­mis­sions, and the gallery will go live to the pub­lic in July.

Ex­am­ples of ob­jects be­ing sought by Ithra in­clude newly made works of art or images of ob­jects of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance.

In 2021, the sec­ond phase of the project will in­clude ob­jects se­lected by the cu­ra­tors from the on­line sub­mis­sions, which will be on dis­play at the Ithra build­ing in Dhahran.

Ithra started ac­cept­ing visi­tors again since the end of the na­tion­wide lock­down.

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