Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Massive Graffiti Special Attraction of Jeddah Festival
Hasan Hatrash, Arab News

JEDDAH, 12 July 2007 — Municipal officials here have established a 120-meter-long graffiti wall as part of the Jeddah Summer Festival, which kicks off this evening at the Corniche.

The three-meter-high wall covers an area of 278 square meters at the old airport area, said Jamal Abo Imarah, head of the municipality’s Department of Social Development.

He said that the wall was constructed in the same area where the 8th youth camp is based. The wall is open to all graffiti artists and will be supervised by a committee of artists who would guide the youngsters in their paintings.

He said that the organizers of the youth camp initiated the idea of the big wall in order to attract younger people to participate in the event. The municipality provided all the facilities and workers to construct the wall, he said.

Ahmad Al-Hamdan, general supervisor of the youth camp, said that this idea would contribute to changing the stereotype image of youth camps as boring and preachy. Some critics have in the past gone as far as to say the summer youth programs in Saudi Arabia, which often include religious education with athletic activities, have sometimes contributed to the development of religious intolerance among some youngsters. “This summer camp will not restrict the youths to certain activities, but rather give them the chance to express their ideas and innovations,” he said.

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal will open the Jeddah Summer Festival’s inaugural session. The event is scheduled to start with fireworks and a laser show by the seaside in addition to a cultural music and dance show.

The festival includes 226 events of which 40 percent are entertainment activities while the rest covers sports, culture and health for all segments of the society, according to Saleh Al-Turki, chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). He said that this year’s Jeddah Summer Festival is expected to be special because of the unlimited support and facilities provided by the governor of the region.

He said that the JCCI held serious meetings with investors and commercial center owners to urge them to offer real discounts during the festival especially that Jeddah has gained a good reputation for being a shopping/tourism destination in the Kingdom.

Ibrahim Badr, executive manager of the Jeddah Summer Festival, said that this year’s festival would witness the return of musical shows of famous Saudi and Gulf singers. Special firework shows would be held every Thursday and Friday during the festival, he noted.

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