From films to the stage to iRead and beyond, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture has drawn strong support and more than 3 million visitors in its first five years.
The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is celebrating five years of continuous success this year.
Ithra is not only the Kingdom’s gateway and connections to the world, but also the heart of the creative economy and an indispensable player in enriching local talent through original content development.
One of Saudi Arabia’s leading cultural destinations and committed to fostering cultural dialogues and curiosity, the center has welcomed more than 3 million visitors and presented more than 20,000 programs, in addition to hosting the 29th Arab League Summit and Y20 Summit.
Ithra has hosted more than 20 exhibitions, including the Leonardo Da Vinci “Codex Atlanticus Exhibition” and the Edvard Munch “Landscapes of the Soul” exhibition.
Also, its “Hijrah: In the Footsteps of the Prophet” exhibition received more than 100,000 visitors, shedding light on the Prophet’s pilgrimage from Makkah to Madinah, a historical Islamic event and an inspirational journey that shaped the beginning of Islam. Scheduled to be presented internationally, the exhibition recently opened to audiences in Riyadh.
Programs such as the Kingdom F1 in Schools championships are an integral part of Itra's cultural outreach.
The Ithra Film Production title “Valley Road” hit cinemas on July 6 after successful appearances on the festival circuit including at Malmö, Casablanca, and the Red Sea International film festivals. Its next film project is “Hajjan,” directed by Abu Bakr Shawky and produced by Mohamed Hefzy. The film production division has received local and international awards for 15 of the 23 films it has produced.
Ithra is dedicated to nurturing and contributing to the development of Saudi society and the Kingdom’s creative industries through its programs such as the Content Development Initiative, F1 in Schools, Ithra Academy, and the Volunteerism Program. Launched in 2021, the Creative Solutions program aims to empower professionals in art, science and technology in an open call to develop viable solutions using XR technologies. To date, 15 innovative ideas from fields as diverse as art, health and wellbeing, training, entertainment, education and culture have been developed into working prototypes.
Ithaca's flagship Tanween event is designed to celebrate and embrace the creative process.
Tanween, Art, Books, and Theater
Ithra’s annual flagship Tanween event is designed to celebrate, explore and inspire the creative process. This year’s Tanween Challenges will introduce a mega challenge focused on providing viable humanitarian aid solutions, and will take place during the four-day event in November.
The Ithra Art Prize has become a leading art initiative celebrating contemporary art and artists. Initially open to Saudi and Saudi-based artists, the art prize has expanded its scope to include artists from or based in the Arab world. The winner receives $100,000 to bring their idea to life. The fifth edition winning piece ON by Iraqi-Finnish artist Adel Abidin will be unveiled at Ithra in September.
Meanwhile Ithra Library, the Kingdom’s first digitally integrated library, has more than 300,000 titles in Arabic and English. As a manifestation of Ithra’s mission to further develop future generations, the reading enrichment program iRead was launched in 2013 with the goal of spreading a culture of reading and celebrating knowledge in society.
Ithra’s Theater has also hosted high caliber international productions such as world-renowned oud performer Naseer Shamma, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™ in Concert” with the UK’s National Symphonic Orchestra, “Shrek the Musical,” and Russia’s Mariinsky Orchestra Theater, among a catalogue of other horizon-expanding shows, productions and performances.
Ithra remains committed to contributing to the Kingdom’s creative economy through offering purpose-driven programs and initiatives that support and ignite the Kingdom’s ongoing cultural transformation across the arts, science, culture and innovation.
For more information on Ithra and its programs, visit www.ithra.com.
— The Arabian Sun: July 24, 2023