From its public entities to its private spheres, Saudi Arabia has been working over the past few years on preserving and sharing its rich heritage at home and beyond. Indeed, the Kingdom even announced earlier this year that it will establish arts academies as part of its Quality of Life Program’s initiatives, a key move in boosting the country’s talents and offerings in arts and culture sectors.
In this atmosphere, a number of groups have also been doing that part in bringing the country’s heritage to light, such as the 38 women of “Words and Colors,” a team created to revive the rich heritage of Al-Dair, a governate located in Saudi Arabia’s southern province of Jazan.
According to Saudi Gazette, these women came together two years ago, employing their talent and skills towards highlighting the region’s heritage and customs, using various art mediums such as paintings, photographs, and replicas to recreate Al-Dair’s ancient castles, forts, cylindrical houses, and traditional attire. They have also focused over the years on the region’s age-old farming patterns, particularly its coffee cultivation methods, creating striking artwork dedicated to this heritage.
Speaking to the news site, the leader of the group, Sarah Al-Maliki, explained that its members have worked on promoting their collective goals as a team, and to ensure that the group functions as an effective development partner in Al-Dair’s education, media, tourism and economic sectors. Amongst the key highlights of the group’s two-year efforts are the specialized practical training courses they organized for female students, the arts festival they created for women, and the mural they are currently working on, at the request of Al-Dair’s Governor Naif Bin.
The “Words and Colors” team is one of many female-led initiatives that have sprung up across Saudi Arabia in recent years. Indeed, Saudi Arabian women have been at the forefront of developing the arts and cultural landscape of the country, from largely feminist works that pose questions and spark conversations to smaller community-centric projects.