Female artists craft tributes to agate in new exhibition at Scitech|Arab News Japan

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  • ‘The Agate’ features 70 artworks and runs until January 27

Jasmine Bager

ALKHOBAR: It’s been said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but a new exhibition at the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Science and Technology Center suggests that agate is the gemstone that best symbolizes femininity. 

“I see agate (as representing) the inner beauty of a woman,” Saudi artist Esmat Mohsen Almohandis, the curator of the exhibition, which is called “The Agate,” told Arab News. Since most women are fond of jewelry, agate seemed like a good theme for an exhibition of the work of female artists, she explained.

According to the International Colored Gemstone Association, “Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in ancient times. It was said to quench thirst and protect against fever. Persian magicians used agate to divert storms.” In Arabian folklore, agate is said to contain healing properties and bring power to its wearer.

The exhibition, hosted by Scitech in partnership with Alwan Al-Sharqia, consists of 70 paintings, all by female artists. Most of the artists are from Saudi Arabia, but a few are from neighboring Arab countries.

One of the participants, Hind Al-Tharman, used sustainable material in her work. “Since the theme of the exhibition was the agate stone and women, I used agate as the lip color of the woman in (my) painting,” Al-Tharman told Arab News. “My piece was not painted on canvas but on wood — on a table I already had. It can be turned into a table again or be displayed as a painting on the wall. I like to use recycling and to provide options.”

The paintings on show, if viewed in order, collectively tell a story of feminism and folklore by using fragmented storylines to build a narrative showcasing various milestones from many women’s lives, from marriage to motherhood, but also depicting the trials and triumphs of living in the era of COVID-19.

Much like the gemstone for which it is named, the exhibition is both beautiful and valuable.

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