“The million-riyal portrait” creates a buzz around Saudi Arabia’s art scene

BE 2C2 Report; Dec 31, 2016 — ONE beautiful artwork depicting Saudi Arabia’s founding King is creating buzz around the Kingdom’s art scene.

The painting, titled “the million-riyal portrait” is currently valued at more than $350,000 and was commissioned by Sheikh Mansoor Al-Zamil.

Curator of the gallery Mohammed Qabra told AlArabiya.net that the portrait was painted by Ali Amer, an American artist of Iraqi origin, and took almost three years to complete as the size of the canvas is huge — 3.5 meters high and 2.5 meters wide.

The painting symbolizes the unification efforts of Saudi Arabia led by King Abdulaziz, when he unified 11 regions to found ethno and tribal-free kingdom. The portrait shows the late King on the lead standing behind him 11 men representing the different regions holding hands in a symbol of union in a region plagued by tribal upheavals at the time.

Inspiration

Qabra pointed out that the paintings exhibited in the gallery were inspired by ancient images, some dating back to nearly a century, with an approximate duration for completion of four months to two years.

Artists specialized in royal artworks are based mainly in Asia and USA, according to Qabra, and need around five months to a year to complete an art piece.

(Based on reporting in Al Arabiya English and Saudi Gazette.)

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