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Visual Arts Authority takes a step towards a comprehensive Saudi cultural renaissance

Filed by Lucire KSA team/June 13, 2021/22.34

Saudi Arabia has always emphasized the importance of promoting science, culture, and the arts to contribute to dialogue and communication between nations for the sake of a prosperous present and a better future for the next generations.
   In 2020, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Minister of Culture, appointed Dina Amin as CEO of the Visual Arts Authority and undertook the Ministry’s vision towards the sector.
   Dina Amin is a Saudi expert in visual arts academically and professionally. She holds a BA in history of arts and architecture from Wellesley College, Massachusetts, USA, and has passed a training course at MIT in architecture.
   Amin has a distinguished career that spans more than 20 years in international companies specializing in contemporary arts, including Philips, the global leader in the sale and purchase of art pieces and designs, and Christie’s, one of the largest art auction houses in the world.
   The Visual Arts Authority comes as one of 11 new cultural bodies recently launched by the Ministry of Culture to manage the Saudi sector. Their responsibilities include setting a development strategy, following up on its implementation, supporting and empowering talents, encouraging individuals, institutions and companies to produce and develop content related to visual arts, supporting the protection of intellectual property rights, and holding courses and programmes.
   The Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, stresses the Kingdom looks at culture as one of the most prominent foundations for human development; it builds bridges of understanding between societies for the sake of a stronger world where people are interconnected.

Pillars of national transformation
Five years ago, the Kingdom announced culture and arts among the pillars of national transformation through Vision 2030. The goal is to build a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.
   Subsequently, confident steps were taken towards a more prosperous future through the ambitious vision launched by Prince Mohammed bin Salman under the guidance of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The Minister of Culture affirmed: ‘Soon its features began to be reflected positively in several sectors, including education, culture and the arts.’
   Once again, the Kingdom is determined to continue its journey in promoting joint work with UNESCO and achieving the United Nations’ goals for sustainable development under the umbrella of joint collective action.

Visions and trends
The Ministry of Culture launched the vision and orientations on March 27, 2019. They represent the framework of the Ministry’s mission to develop the cultural sector in the Kingdom: culture as a way of life, for economic growth, and to enhance the Kingdom’s international status.
   These goals are closely aligned with the strategic axes of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, represented in building a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.
   In this context, the Ministry of Culture seeks to develop capabilities and enhance opportunities within the sector by transferring aspects of the Saudi cultural heritage to the daily life of citizens and residents.
   The Ministry of Culture has identified 16 priority sub-sectors to focus on and enhance pioneering initiatives. The vision and orientations stipulate the creation of 11 cultural entities.

Membership of UNESCO Executive
The Ministry of Culture is the supervisor of the cultural sector in the Kingdom, initially affiliated to the Ministry of Information, but separated from it afterwards to become an independent department.
   The Kingdom is interested in developing the culture and arts sector within the Saudi Vision 2030. The country is a founding and supportive member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and obtained a seat on the UNESCO Executive Board in the November 2019 elections, occupied by the Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Farhan.

Four Pillars
The Ministry’s tasks rely on four fundamental axes: leadership, support, care, and development. These lead the cultural movement in Saudi Arabia, expose its cultural aspects, define and sponsor the Kingdom’s heritage properties, set the necessary regulatory and legal frameworks for the development of sectors, and take care of the cultural heritage.
   The Ministry also develops talents, facilitates initiatives, and works to enhance community participation through an integrated plan that contributes to cultural and heritage development.
   Although the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 contains many ambitious goals, its support in culture and entertainment are the two primary life quality components that strike the most.

National Music Ensemble
After decades without the Saudi Radio Music Band, which included among its members the pioneers and symbols of modern Saudi music (most notably the composers Omar Kadars, Sami Ihsan, and Ghazi Ali), the Ministry of Culture took an important decision. It established the National Music Band in 2019 to represent the Kingdom in global and regional musical forums. The band has 26 Saudi musicians; the King Fahd Cultural Center is its headquarters. Its first official appearance was in a ceremony at the Okaz market in Taif.

Cultural investment
The vision emphasized that the reality of recreational and cultural opportunities did not live up to the enormous potentials stored in Saudi’s land, culture, history, and civilization, nor did it fit the prosperous economic situation of the Kingdom.
   Fortunately, the local cultural reality has witnessed a different movement over the past five years. In addition to establishing the vast Islamic Museum in Riyadh, the prospect will develop culture and provide investment opportunities through festivals and programs aligned with the current digital transformation worldwide. The Ministry has determined that by supporting non-profit and private sectors in organizing festivals and events.
   The role of government funds will be in contributing to the establishment and development of entertainment centres and encouraging Saudi and international investors. The plan includes partnerships with global entertainment companies and land allocation for cultural and entertainment projects, such as libraries, museums, arts, and others.

Openness and cinema
For years, festivals and cultural events have welcomed guest of honour applications as part of a global tradition. The Kingdom did not ignore this aspect, and it hosted several countries from all continents. Such an approach is currently witnessing remarkable growth through some festivals to be implemented by the Ministry. Perhaps the most anticipated of them is the Red Sea International Film Festival, not to mention the upgrade of previous festivals, now with international dimensions, most notably the Janadriyah Festival and the Okaz Market.
   The most prominent points of this plan are the approval for opening a movie theatre in Saudi Arabia, an aspiration of intellectuals and artists alike who hope this next step will be of great importance in the film industry in the country.
   Simultaneously, the upcoming Red Sea Festival adheres to the initiative of the Ministry of Culture of a cultural movement at the local, Arab and international levels. The event is one of the Red Sea Film Festival initiatives, a modern institution registered as one of the supporting actors of the local film sector. The Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, chairs its board of trustees.
   Observers can note that the steps for Saudi cinema are leaping well and moving in a planned and thoughtful direction, within a complete march of the organization announced during the Kan Al-Mady festival.

World Heritage
Five sites in Saudi Arabia were included in UNESCO’s World Heritage sites list. The first was Mada’in Saleh in 2008, followed by the Al-Turaif neighbourhood in the old Dir’iyah area in 2010.
   Historic Jeddah was registered in 2014, and finally, the rock art in the Hail region in 2015.

World Summit
Next March, the Kingdom will host the World Summit on Artificial Intelligence, a global annual forum for exchanging experiences and forging partnerships between local and international actors and companies in the world of data and artificial intelligence.

Temporary list
In 2015, UNESCO added ten Saudi intangible cultural heritage elements to its World Heritage temporary list.
   The list includes the art of falconry, an ancient hobby in the Arabian Peninsula region and some other Arab countries, and Arabic coffee under the title Arabic coffee is a symbol of generosity.
   Al-Arda Najdi was registered as Al-Arda Najdi—Folk Dancing, Drum Beating and Poetic Songs from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is also called the Saudi Arda.
   The folk flute dance, one of the traditional dances in the Hijaz and often practised in family or national festivities is another highlight.
   Finally, the art of the Asiri cat made its way to the list; it is one of the abstract arts from the Asir region performed by women to decorate their homes.

National Theater Company
Similar to the establishment of the National Band, the Ministry of Culture included the launch of the National Theater Company. Playwright Abdulaziz Al-Ismail was appointed as Head of the National Theater Company, the King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh is the headquarters.


Una Healy is the new face of Swedish beauty brand IsaDora

Filed by Lucire staff/June 9, 2021/10.36

Kevin Fox/We Shoot

Irish singer–songwriter Una Healy is the new face of Swedish beauty brand IsaDora.
   Formulated in Sweden and Switzerland, IsaDora is cruelty-free, fragrance-free, tested for sensitive skin, and made in Europe.
   Healy will appear in three seasonal campaigns. A capsule collection tied to her name comprise new products and her favourites from the current IsaDora range.
   Photographs for the campaign were shot earlier this year at Luttrellstown Castle by Kevin Fox of We Shoot with all COVID precautions, according to the company. Make-up and hair were by Sue Brophy, nails by Nagila Santyos, and styling by Corina Gaffey.
   ‘I like to look and feel my best, but my make-up routine needs to fit around my family, career and lifestyle. IsaDora is the perfect partner for me because I am always looking for products that are easy to use, with long-lasting results I feel good about. I live a pretty busy life and I need to know that the products I choose will look as good at 8 p.m. as they did at 8 a.m. I have always had a love for make-up and I was so honoured to have been asked to be the face of such an amazing brand,’ said Healy in a release.
   ‘As our first-ever Irish ambassador, Una Healy is a perfect fit for IsaDora. Her talent, warmth, effortless looks and real beauty embody the IsaDora ethos. Una manages to balance an accomplished career with being a busy mum of two which is what a lot of IsaDora consumers can relate to. We couldn’t be prouder to partner with her. The Irish market is important to us and we are happy to continue investing in growing the brand here,’ said IsaDora Ireland’s Michelle Carr.
   In Ireland, the capsule collection is available from selected Shaws, McCauleys, McCabes, Lloyds and leading pharmacies nationwide, and at


Vans opens concept store in Wellington, New Zealand

Filed by Lucire staff//4.27

Vans is opening a Wellington, New Zealand concept store on Thursday, June 10, the second store the sports’ brand has opened in the country.
   The store is located at Shop 3, 78–80 Cuba Mall, and features a full range of Vans footwear, apparel and accessories, for men, women and youth. There will also be product exclusive to its retail stores and
   Vans has partnered with artist Jason Woodside, who has created a custom art piece for the concept store. Woodside will also be in store from noon to 2 p.m., hand-delivering three customized skateboard decks.
   There is also an in-store competition where the decks will be given away. Visitors to the store need to find the Jason Woodside QR code and sign up to enter.


Unique Aston Martin DB5 Vantage collection for sale, including one-off Shooting Brake

Filed by Lucire staff/June 7, 2021/11.52

Fluid Images

The most iconic Aston Martin is arguably the DB5, the one piloted by Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger. Aston Martin made 1,021 DB5s, including 60-odd in Vantage tune, and 123 convertibles. Getting a DB5 is hard enough, but getting three Vantages—a coupé, a convertible, and a one-off Shooting Brake—would qualify as a very special, unique situation. Aston Martin specialist Nicholas Mee & Co. is offering this very special trio for sale, with a price tag of £4 million.
   The DB5, developed from the DB4 Series V with the slanted headlights first seen on the DB4 GT, was incredibly desirable from its launch in July 1963. The engine was enlarged from 3·7 to 4 litres, increasing the power to 282 hp. Vantages saw the power increased further, to 314 hp, giving a 0–60 mph time of 6·5 s.
   The Shooting Brake is unique, and when some sources cite that only 65 DB5 Vantages were built, they omit this very special car. It would be fair to say it was not a production model: the first was produced for Aston Martin chairman David Brown, to accommodate his gundog and polo equipment. Eleven were ordered by customers, with hand-made bodies by Radford. Only one Shooting Brake was ordered in Vantage tune, commissioned by dealer Cyril Williams of Wolverhampton. It is the only one to have left the factory and was delivered to its first owner in 1966. This one-off is finished in California sage over red hides.
   The DB5 Vantage convertible—the Volante tag had not been coined at this point—is in Caribbean pearl blue with white gold hide interior, and is one of five in this specification. Finally, the coupé is finished in silver birch with a black hide interior—the same colour combination as the cinematic James Bond’s.
   The trio have been collected over a 12-year period and were subject to full restorations by Aston Martin specialists. Each car comes with a detailed history with original build details, BMIHT certificates, maintenance records, ownership documentation, and restoration particulars.
   They are being shown at a concours event at the Honourable Artillery Company’s HQ in London, over three days from June 8. Find out more from Nicholas Mee & Co. at

Fluid Images


Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle: vivre comme le roi

Filed by Lucire staff/June 6, 2021/23.24

Rénée Kemps

This week, in an eagerly awaited launch, Airelle’s seventh property, Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle opened outside Paris. The first hotel to operate within the grounds of the Château de Versailles, it’s situated in a building constructed by Louis XIV’s favourite architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, in 1681. Guests have access to the 2,000-acre gardens, historic palace halls, apartments and grounds, including areas of the Château that are normally closed to visitors. Here is a property where you can raise the bar on your expectations.
   Exclusivity is the watchword with only 14 meticulously restored regal rooms and suites, including a 120 m² signature suite. You will enjoy views over the Orangerie, the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses and the Château. Finished in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century style, the light-filled rooms feature authentic colours and fabrics, chandeliers, art and objects, artefacts and original period furniture. Opulent historical features recreated include parquet flooring, fabrics, stonework and wood panelling. Time to brush up on your Revolution-era French: you may happen upon a love letter from Madame De Staël to her lover Louis, Comte de Narbonne-Lara.
   You will discover many other bonuses to this remarkable one-of-a-kind offering, not the least of which is a new dining experience from Alain Ducasse, Ducasse at Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle. The salon has views onto the Orangerie parterre, a bell rings at 8.30 p.m. to signal the beginning of dinner, and in addition to a dazzling multi-course heritage menu, Ducasse offers a Sunday royal brunch. A table not to be missed.
   The on-site Valmont spa features a 15 m indoor swimming pool and a wealth of exclusive treatments.
   Luxury at this level allows for excessive flights of the imagination. The allure of private events in such a unique venue might include intimate weddings, private dinners or exclusive launches, for up to 54 guests. Imagine hosting an event inside the Palace itself followed by an exclusive overnight takeover, accommodating up to 36 guests across the 14 rooms and suites.
   Guests may also choose to add on private tours; after-hours access to the Hall of Mirrors; a Marie Antoinette-themed day including a costume fitting; a private performance at the Royal Opera; or private dining with a string quartet, all at additional cost.
   Luxury at this level does not come cheap, but it’s worth every penny. Rates at Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle start from US$2,077 including a dedicated butler; daily tours of Château de Versailles and the Trianon; access to the Palace grounds and Orangerie; use of boats and golf carts on hand to explore the Grand Canal and gardens at leisure; breakfast, afternoon tea and minibar.
   The prestigious hotel collection comprises Le Grand Contrôle, Les Airelles in Courchevel, La Bastide in Gordes, Mademoiselle in Val d’Isère and Château de la Messardière and Pan Deï Palais in Saint-Tropez.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

Rénée Kemps


Four faces on the rise getting noticed in social media

Filed by Lucire staff/June 4, 2021/1.31

Felix Graf

Alisia Ludwig

Saloni Agarwal

Anthony Evans

We often look to see where the emerging talent is—once upon a time we identified nascent labels that became big, and we’ve occasionally done it with models and actors, too.
   German model Alexa Breit crossed the one million mark on her Instagram, rising rapidly from 2,000 at the start of 2020, and featured five images wearing a very sheer dress from a shoot with Felix Graf to commemorate the milestone. Breit, 22, has been doing more glamour shoots of late, and it’s in the last few months that her Instagram engagement (in terms of likes and comments) has really shot up.
   Breit is one of several German models getting attention on social media, thanks to a consistent posting of pro shots. Her compatriot Alisia Ludwig, occasionally shot by the same photographers, is on 263,000, with a greater number of personal shots to engage followers. In 2019, Ludwig was named Miss Frankfurt, having netted some fans from the beauty pageant circuit.
   Also getting noticed is Tanaye White, on 38,800 at the time of writing but set to rise as one of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Rookies for this year. One of White’s most noticeable shots on her Instagram is by Saloni Agarwal, styled by Lucire’s own NY fashion director Nikko Kefalas. Agarwal and Kefalas also collaborated on several other shots that appear on Agarwal’s Instagram.
   We keep spotting Saje Nicole on more and more shoots, such as by Anthony Evans, and like White, she’s one of SI’s Rookies this year. Repped by Natural Models in LA and Wilhelmina Models in Miami (where she’s based), Nicole—actress, model and entrepreneur—is on 79,200 and rising.


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