JEDDAH: Artists in Jeddah have discovered the many benefits of working with young and inexperienced artists in their community.
DaBlueHands, an art community center founded by Ahmad Saddad and Khairiyah Refaat, looks to inspire would-be artists and help them to discover their talents.
They have three goals; the first focuses on how to develop an artist, the second on finding the specific style of each artist, and the third focuses on the artist’s emotions and ideas, and the business side of things.
The center supports all sorts of activities connected to the arts and helps connect artists to other like-minded individuals.
“I believe that art is a necessity and not a luxury, and it is important to individuals and the community,” Ahmad Saddad said.
Saddad, a 26-year old artist, has had a passion for drawing since he was a child.
In 2018, he found himself in an exciting conversation with a friend who suggested that he shouldn’t go alone but should look for people who share the same hobbies. That’s when he got the idea of starting an event, “Yalla Narsum” — “Let’s Draw.”
“Of course, no one came the first time,” the artist joked, “but for the next meeting, I refined the post I made on Instagram. I chose a more comfortable place, a cafe, and a group of people joined me. It was fun and that’s when the community picked up.”
The community’s name, DaBlueHands, is based on Saddad’s nickname. “I have always had a special love for the color blue, it feels very magical to me. ‘Hands,’ because I am not only an artist but also a writer, and ‘Daa’ instead of ‘The’ was to indicate that I am challenging stereotypes,” he explained.
With the boom in art events and initiatives across the Kingdom, Saudis have far more exposure to both local and international talents.
There is widespread assistance available for budding artists. Several government initiatives and ministries, especially the Ministry of Culture, have launched programs, initiatives, talks and shows to elevate the community’s understanding of art.
“In my experience I have seen that Saudis are very interested in modern art and there is a huge demand for it. I am always surprised by how art has changed so many lives. I truly believe that it has the power to transform a community,” said Refaat.
She said she was happy to see more and more similar communities surfacing in Saudi Arabia. “As a community ourselves, we want to support others, it’s not a competition. We are in this together and this is what I want to say to other artists, as well: If you are an artist, support your fellow artists and engage with them,” she said.
Saudi and international artists explore the nature of identity in Riyadh showStartup of the Week: The 7th Floor offers a home away from home for artists in Jeddah