Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:12 am (KSA) 21:12 pm (GMT)

Global artists compete to beautify Mecca

Saudi Arabia completed the tallest Clock Tower in the world worth $ 600 million (File)
Saudi Arabia completed the tallest Clock Tower in the world worth $ 600 million (File)

Hundreds of artists from all over the world are competing in a contest for the beautification of Islam’s holiest city, Mecca.

"The objective of the competition is to spread the art culture through paintings that depict the Islamic heritage of the holy city," said Dr. Osama Fadl al-Bar, Mecca’s mayor and supervisor of the first Islamic competition to beautify Mecca.

Dr. al-Bar also added that the competition aims to bring Islamic artists together to exchange expertise.

There are 442 registered artists and 306 art works have been submitted, however only 12 paintings will be chosen. Al-Bar said that all participants will work together under the competition’s slogan "In love of Mecca we gather” to make the corners of the holy city an open museum for Islamic art with a view to beautify the city and enhance society’s aesthetic tastes.

The 12 paintings to be chosen will follow a fair process, as each artwork had been classed by a secret code so that the names of the artists could not be seen.

Tough competition

Despite the registration of 442 pieces of art work only 306 were submitted, and around half of these paintings were found to be just substandard, said Dr. Mohammad Saeed Farsi, former mayor of Jeddah.
"A total of 152 paintings were discarded because they were not up to the standard," Dr. al-Bar said.

Dr. Farsi said the artists who submitted entries were from: Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Qatar, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Mauritania, Somalia, Pakistan, Malaysia, China, India, Italy and the U.S.. The judging panel consisted of renowned artists, designers and experts in philosophy and fine art from Egypt, Morocco, Malaysia and Cote d'Ivoire.

The names of the winners will be announced on September 27 during a special function and will receive prizes totaling $300,000.

Mecca should be the most developed city: Saudi Prince

Mecca Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has launched the competition in Jeddah Wednesday evening and said Saudi Arabia has a responsibility to present Mecca as a model of beauty and development.

He said Saudi leaders were determined to make Mecca one of the cleanest and most developed cities in the world.

"Had it not been for Mecca, the region would not have occupied this high civilized, political and cultural position," he said.

"We are responsible for serving the Grand Mosque and making Mecca a safe haven for pilgrims and visitors."

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal is the sponsor of the art contest and has asked private companies and businessmen to support the first international competition to beautify Mecca.

Recently Saudi Arabia has activated the tallest clock tower in the world in the first day of Ramadan.

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