On the path leading to the Grand Mosque, the longest calligraphic mural in the world is displayed in an effort to further enhance the beauty of the holy city of Makkah. Artist Amal Felemban, who designed the mural, told Arab News that it was crucial to preserve and promote the age-old practice, as it connects the past and the present by depicting traditional and contemporary elements of Saudi culture and art.
Murals: Saudi Heritage And Culture
Artist Amal Felemban’s 75-meter mural is part of a larger project run by local authorities to improve the city’s aesthetics and depict Saudi heritage and culture for pilgrims.
Felemban said that in the modern era, murals and sculptures reflect the city’s true spirit, as well as brightening up the streets and covering some of the ugliness of the gray buildings. She claims that her mural, which is unlike the other murals in the vicinity of major mosques, tells the story of the urban heritage in the holy capital because it is a beautiful echo of this authentic Hijazi art. Rather than being letters or poems, they were motivated by the real city life in this country.
She iterated that many pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and their cultural and civilized heritage do not have a complete picture of either. That is why displaying these aspects of their heritage through art and architecture is essential. Felemban further highlighted that all Saudi regional governments should pay special attention to this type of art because it exemplifies Saudi culture and draws more visitors. Simply put, their dearly cherished Kingdom will be visited by millions of people worldwide, necessitating an accurate display of their history and culture.
According to artist Badr Al-Sulaimani, the murals and sculptures in the holy city fill the hearts of pilgrims from all over the world with joy and pleasure. He went on to say that by participating in these events, they were able to bring a historical perspective to contemporary art and bring attention to many talented artists from inside and outside the Kingdom.
This, in his view, demonstrates the necessity of making use of the arts and fostering an appealing artistic environment through the application of all methods that help to dose the public with culture and the arts.
The city of Makkah hosts annual competitions for mural painting and Arabic calligraphy, which it praises as “one of the most significant written and visual arts” connected to the Holy Quran. In addition, students from Umm Al-Qura University’s Department of Visual Arts are pitching in to help revitalize the area around the city’s universities.
King Abdul Aziz Street, the main thoroughfare leading to the Grand Mosque, now features the world’s longest calligraphic mural, courtesy of the Municipality of Makkah. Murals, as artist Amal Felemban pointed out, are among the oldest ways of showcasing a community’s culture and heritage to tourists and pilgrims.