Saudi Arabia celebrates as Al Qatt Al Asin makes list
Saudi Arabia was among those celebrating its inclusion in Unesco’s coveted list of “intangible heritage,” claiming the tag for Al Qatt Al Asin - elaborate interior wall paintings traditionally done by women. The art, which promotes solidarity among women, is handed down through observation and considered a key element of the identity of the region of Asir.
It is a spontaneous art technique carried out largely by women today in the community that involves decorating the interior walls of their houses, specifically rooms for visiting guests. Women invite female relatives of various age groups to help them in their homes, thereby transmitting this knowledge from generation to generation. The base is usually white gypsum and the patterns consist of icons of geometric shapes and symbols.
All practice it
In the past, only women practiced the element, but nowadays male and female artists, designers, interior designers and architects practice it, including on other surfaces. The art enhances social bonding and solidarity among the community and has a therapeutic effect on its practitioners.
The application of the art in most households ensures its viability within the community, and local individuals have created galleries within their houses in order to safeguard it. Observation and practice are the key methods for transmitting the practice from one generation to the next, and societies, NGOs and individuals all play a key role in safeguarding, promoting and transmitting the related knowledge and skills.