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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Culture on Thursday officially unveiled the Tariq Abdulhakim Center at a grand opening ceremony.
The center aims to preserve and celebrate the Kingdom’s rich musical and intangible cultural heritage.
Located in Al-Balad, Jeddah’s historical area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the center features a museum dedicated to Saudi composer and musician Tariq Abdulhakim, who died in 2012. During his life he played a crucial role in shaping the Kingdom’s musical identity, including founding the Saudi military band during his time as a soldier.
The exhibits include rare artifacts and personal belongings donated by his family, including costumes, musical notes, photographs and posters, as well as video and audio footage of Abdulhakim performing his compositions and interviews with prominent cultural figures who knew him.
“The objective of the center is to preserve the musical heritage of Saudi Arabia, particularly the intangible cultural aspects. Tariq Abdulhakim was a prominent figure, a musician, researcher and artist who greatly contributed to the development of Saudi Arabia’s national music identity,” said Abdulrahman Almotawa, a spokesperson for the ministry.
“In coordination with his family, the Ministry of Culture acquired his personal collection and belongings to establish the Tariq Abdulhakim Center, which comprises a museum and a music archive and research center.”
The archive and research center, located in a different part of the city, is home to a vast collection of books, studies, articles and media related to the Kingdom and wider region, and provides a resource for researchers from around the world keen to learn more about Saudi culture and music.
Abdulhakim’s granddaughter, Rasha Khayat, attended the opening ceremony and expressed her delight at the new venue.
“As a family, we are deeply honored by this extraordinary museum that has surpassed all our expectations,” she said.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Ministry of Culture for bringing my grandfather’s dream to life. This museum holds immense significance for us and our happiness knows no bounds. Through this museum, we not only celebrate my grandfather’s legacy but also honor the legacy of our nation. He was a passionate collector of the things he held dear and they hold great value for our Kingdom.”
She also encouraged all young people and especially aspiring musicians to “dream big” and never give up on their ambitions.
The opening ceremony featured live music from a number of performers, including Lebanese singer Hiyam Younes.
As well as helping to preserve Saudi Arabia’s musical heritage, the Ministry of Culture said it hoped the new center would “enrich the local artistic and cultural scene.”
This will include hosting festivals, exhibitions and rooftop performances of the music of Abdulhakim and other local and regional artists.
Also, from February, people will be able to take classes in playing an instrument unique to the center called a laser qanun.
Deema Mohammed, who attended the opening ceremony, said: “The ceremony and museum were truly incredible, offering an immersive experience that allowed us to delve into the fascinating world of music and Tariq Abdulhakim’s journey … which left us inspired.”
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