These pictures are taken in Deerah, Riyadh, in the heart of Saudi Arabia’s capital, a historical place. I wanted to show people—young people especially—that our country is worth discovering. There’s more than massive malls or cafes to hang out at. There’s beauty, stories deserving more attention, abandoned by locals. Why is it so weird for me to walk these streets? Why does every foreign person who passes by me look surprised that I’m here? Didn’t Saudis leave these places? We need to search more, to save our culture from vanishing. We should be proud of our identity.
For this work, Maha Matran collected photographs she previously took, including a self-portrait with other visual effects. A poem titled The End of the Month and inspired by this piece and written by Maha could be found on our Arabic version of Issue 9.
“Blue” is a painting is by Maha Matran. She tried to depict a poem titled “One Day, I Will Meet You” which was written to express a woman’s condition experiencing separation as light seems to leave her. Nonetheless, she still hopes for a new meeting every time.
A Memory of Poetry
We were in a trip
In a city of our relationship
In London, the British land
We were walking as planned
Then a rhyme appeared in head
"It was from a show," to my sister I said
So I liked the sound of a rhyme
It really sounded sublime
So my sister and I played a game of poems
It was easy (not like knowing the meaning of MOEMS)
I started writing poems in my diary
I started to write them on the computer without expiry
This is just the beginning of my journey in my creativity
I wrote all my poems with positivity
I entered a program that helped me sell my poetry book
It was such a success for (another talent) a cook
The rest, inshallah, will be history
That’s it for now, one clue about my future, I like mystery...
Abdullah Almoqbil is a 13-year-old poetry and cook in progress. The following is his interpretation of his poem:
As told in the poem it all started in London. We were walking as usual, then, I remembered a rhyme from the ‘Arthur’ show, so I told it to my big sister then she started a poem game. It was really fun. It made me interested in poetry.
So, when we went back to the hotel, I took out my diary and wrote a long poem. To tell the truth, most of it didn’t make any sense, but I didn’t want to give up. My sister encouraged me, she wrote a short, but a very encouraging poem in my journal, all of that is just the tip of the iceberg. I recognized my talent in poetry, so I took advantage of it. I bought a poetry book, so I can know more. I’ve always had stage fright, so I didn’t participate in any program. So one day my mom enrolled me in a program that helps you sell things, so I went there, and they were teaching how to sell products and the kinds of them: media, cooking, games. I make up my mind of what to choose, cooking* or media, so I chose media for poetry. I had to come to a meeting place so I can discuss with someone what am I going to sell, the program was about soldiers, so I made one poem about soldiers and many others about random things. At first, I chose one of the poems and illustrated it in the computer. I did it, and it was amazing for someone as me who knows nothing about illustrating. But then my mom had an idea so all of my poems can be included, my sister’s friend is an amazing illustrator, so she illustrated all of my poems. It became like any other real book. Yes, that’s how amazing it was! They were going to make me read my soldier poem on stage, but I refused because as mentioned earlier I have stage fright. Alhamdulilah (Thank God), it was a huge success selling the book. Well, that’s my story. (keep this, maybe I will become a famous writer inshallah and sell it, but you have to wait a lot for that I’m still 13).
* As I said in the poem I have another talent I even have an Instagram account for cooking.
The House with the Light
A series of pictures of a house built in Medinah next to the Prophet’s Holy Mosque at the destruction area, where houses are being abandoned by their people for the purpose of expanding the Prophet’s Holy Mosque. Shoug Sagur went exploring and meeting families living there, asking questions and documenting their houses before they're moved.
This project is very close to her heart, she says, since her grandfather's house who passed away was one of the houses within the destruction area. Understanding architecture and how it effects people in this project really helped her develop what she was taking in school since I'm majoring in architecture. It opened her eyes on how photography, a form of art, is related to architecture and how architecture is related to us and our homes, our feelings and memories, and, somehow, allowing us to keep these memories of the houses and the dear people who used to live there once.