It has more colors than you can imagine.
Contemporary and modern art by Saudi artists has been flourishing locally and around the world for quite a few years now. But, there’s something in the heart of our home that many people are unaware of. Hijazi history is being preserved in Al Balad Historic District by way of art. In a recent initiative to preserve our city’s cultural and political history and earlier lifestyle, international artists joined hands to paint Hijaz like never before. The influence of other cultures on Hijaz is reflected in the social texture the paintings reveal.
Walk into Judraniyah Art Gallery and you’ll be surrounded by the distinct smell of oil paintings that cover the entire walls to the roof. Amongst scenes from an older Jeddah are paintings of Kings, a group portrait of the first council of Saudi merchants and a beautifully reminiscent scene of fishermen on a boat, a visual so realistic you can almost hear the busy sound of the harbor.
A view of the first American Embassy in Saudi is captured in a remarkable painting, showcasing the gorgeous architecture of the traditional Hijazi building that still exists today. Another painting shows the wall that was built (and later taken down) over 1,500 years ago when the Portuguese tried to invade Jeddah.
An interesting fact revealed by Abeer Abu Sulayman, our guide for Al Balad Avenues, was that many of the paintings are recreations of some of the earliest photographs of Saudi royals and the city of Jeddah itself.
A trip to Judraniyah Art Gallery is mandatory for any art enthusiast in the area. Not only will the paintings inspire your own art, but they will also reveal the immense beauty possible when international artists come together to protect an ethnic heritage that is not their own.