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Jeddah pledges on graffiti
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 22 - 02 - 2015

Layan Damanhouri
Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH – With the first visit of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman coming up, the city of Jeddah decided to welcome and pledge the King and his deputies in an unconventional fashion.
Citizens gathered around graffiti artists spray-painting the images of the royal trio on a mural wall this weekend.
Located on the Tahliah Walkway, the wall had an artistic illustration of King Salman, Crown Prince and Deputy Premier Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz and Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, with the slogan “Jeddah Pledges”. On the far right was a silhouette of Old Jeddah, depicting the historical buildings of the port city.
The graffiti team goes by the name of "Dhaad", a symbolic letter representing the Arabic language. It is made up of a group of adolescents based in Jeddah who started out officially in 2008.
Abdulaziz Hassan, one of the graffiti artists, spoke to Saudi Gazette: “Our art is a combination between Islamic civilization and modernity.
“Every year we're seeing an increase in social awareness when it comes to appreciating the art of graffiti. More people are beginning to accept it.”
The mayor as well as other government officials watched the artists spraying away on the colorful wall. Many Jeddah citizens, including officials and prominent artists, paid a visit to the mural and signed their pledges.
Jasmina, an architecture student from Effat University, came to observe the art and was impressed by the outcome. She noted a new type of art by these locals, saying, “It's a mixture between calligraphy and graffiti creating a new form”.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Vice Mayor of the IT Sector Dr. Arwa Al-Aama said: “This initiative by the municipality aims to gather Jeddah citizens together in a communal pledge.”
When asked about the municipality's relationship with local artists, she said, “Our social responsibility is to build a bridge between the municipality and the citizens. Local artists are an important part of this community.”
She also mentioned previous initiatives by the city's social program to encourage graffiti art “in a nice way for people to appreciate” and to prevent “destruction of public property”.
In 2007, a group of graffiti artists created a similar mural on the Shatie Walkway.
The city is constantly making an effort to support the youth in Jeddah in different fields and will present more activity in the upcoming months.

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