By Zareen Muzaffar
A discussion about the art scene in Jeddah.
Dalya Mousa, the Art Jameel Manager at Community Jameel Inititaives (CJI), answers questions about herself, Art Jameel and the art scene in Jeddah.
Tell us about yourself.
My aim is to create awareness and appreciation of Saudi Arabian and Middle Eastern art and design. I manage a variety of creative projects with numerous local and international organizations such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, Edge of Arabia, Crossway Foundation, Culture Runners and Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London.
I hold a master’s degree in business of art and design from Maryland College of Art, fine art and graphic design from the University of Central Missouri and I have also completed a series of arts business courses at Sotheby’s in the UK.
I joined Abdul Latif Jameel in 2012 in Nafisa Shams Academy for Arts and Crafts as the head of the design department, and then from there, I got promoted to work in Art Jameel. I previously worked in America as the Art Department supervisor in a university, as well as a graphic designer in a publishing and promotion agency.
As the Art Jameel manager, your job responsibilities include?
As Art Jameel manager, my job is to create and maintain strong relationships with all the art organizations in the region by planning a variety of different initiatives and programs in all fields of art.
I’m currently planning the launch of Art Jameel Center in Jeddah. It will be announced soon. During the event, we will give the community a clear idea of how the center will operate and function, and what kind of activities and programs the center will hold.
What would you say about the current art scene/ initiatives in KSA? How can we improve?
The art scene in the country has been developing rapidly in the past 10 years with gallery owners and art collectors entering the market. But it’s lacking non-profit organizations that will develop and support the artists who are the key to our success and legacy in the art world. So, I really hope we can focus on new talented artists and plan how we can develop their abilities.
What significance does art hold for you?
I believe in arts as a universal language that needs to be a core subject in our educational system. Art improves our ability to synthesize seemingly unrelated ideas into a coherent and meaningful whole. Taking an art course or studying art history helps build an aesthetic sensibility that can influence other areas of thinking. I believe art prepares the person for a lifetime of pleasure and appreciation, of being open to new experiences and of becoming a life-long learner.
What is your inspiration?
My inspirations are everywhere. I always say “life is an artwork puzzle created by a holy artist,” so it’s our role as artists to collect these pieces and create a meaningful whole for the public.