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MA Project Proposal




Al Tamarah as a Way to Understand the Cultural Concept of Place in Saudi Culture. 




To produce contemporary artworks which explore the cultural concept of place by experimenting with the repositioning of an original culture in a new place.




  1. To develop a conceptual framework to guide this practice-based research, which relates culture to the concept of place.

  2. .To Investigate the meaning, function and history of Al Tahmrah as a cultural legacy to find and interpret the relationships included in Saudi society's cultural practices and represent this through the contemporary artwork conceptual for the relationships related to cultural place.

  3. To examine the Tamrah's visual characteristics through drawing practice, using digital technologies in relation to interactivity between different locations, to focus on how a traditional object as an item of cultural identity is brought into movement and play through human ergonomic interaction in the context of representing Saudi culture, and to determine how the new form responds to the movement which is imposed on it.


Research Question:

How can I use sensorial and spatial drawing practice to interrogate cultural concepts of place? 


Background Research:

Defining and Contextualizing the Tamarah


Al Tamarah is a unique symbol of Arab hospitality, and dates are vital in Saudi Arabia. When visitors enter a Saudi house, they are welcomed with dates and Arabic coffee, symbolic offerings representing the high priority given to welcoming visitors in Saudi culture. Saudi Arabia is currently the third-largest date-producing country globally and has been cultivating, and trading dates throughout the region since 7000 BC. The source of the data is the palm tree, which, sitting above two crossed swords, forms Saudi Arabia's national emblem, 

confirming the fruit's key place in Saudi identity and culture and its role as an essential element of the Saudi Arabian economy.



Abstract :


"Al Nakhlah" is the Arabic name for the date palm, and the tree produces the date fruit, which is al Thamrah that significant sample in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dates have long been an essential part of Saudi food and customs, and different types and shapes appear during different seasons, making them a necessary part of Saudi cultural life throughout history, up to the present day.


 My proposed PhD project is about contemporary art, and especially about Saudi culture: I intend to explore how I can use sensory and spatial drawing practice to interrogate the cultural concept of place. I will use the date as a cultural symbol which, although it is a small item of food, signifies the welcoming of visitors and people meeting together. Dates have been part of many occasions of happiness and sadness, and the sharing of dates when people meet together generates harmony throughout Saudi society: they are thus an essential element in building cultural heritage. I want to identify all the meanings associated with the date and its function within Saudi society and examine it in the context of the Saudi contemporary cultural community through my sensory drawing practice. My Fine Art background and my varied experience of drawing and painting with digital media will play an integral role in adding a new dimension to contemporary art practice. 


I am reviewing culture and identity within the narrative and make the story for the audience, to create new places and relationships for us to use and image this as a unique place that we can harmonize without any differences but with a lot of diversity. I wanted to search more in cultural harmony among different peoples among these cultural practices. Try to understand the cultural concept of the place through my artworks from graphics, photos and movies. 


My interest is that of an artist who seeks to understand nature by investigating culture and identity. I inspired by artists who think about themselves within a narrative and create a story for their work and create new places and relationships for audiences to access and understand.


Some of these artists, such as Rirkrit Tiravanija, Andy Warhol, Herman de Vries and William Kentridge, have helped me form the essential questions that I want to address in my artwork. Tiravanija's works focus on the relations through the cultural objects. It also focuses on the interactions between people and their surroundings rather than aesthetic objects. Our ideas both come from the concept of a new location and narratives of nostalgia between different places.

Andy Warhol, he relocates the things and make us think about it in a different way I think he gets credit for taking something we see in everyone's and making it a focal point should pay attention to this thing. The idea here is the same with my work by putting objects like the date ( Thamrah)which in my country we mundane it every day, in the new position, to see this differently. It does relocate and change the meaning and the value of this in my culture. ​

William Kentridge usually uses pastel and charcoal to create the animated film which does attractive works. He uses several artistic techniques such as drawing, painting, sculpture, performance and printmaking to link some of these techniques and displayed in short films to make unique video art. Moreover, he uses neutral colours of white and black with strong touches and techniques from elements and human figures in contemporary art.

Kentridge influenced me to use the thick black lines and strong touches in my artwork. He has inspired me to express my traditional identity to marge between performance art and drawing sketches with different media. Also, Kentridge shows his identity culture from his society which sam with my work that reflect my culture.

I developed an interest in using my personal real-life experience by focusing on the concept of culture in different places as I have moved from one city to another in my culture. I have seen other cultural practices and spaces which have inspired me to create a new narrative for my culture, and this has raised more questions for me about what happens to this culture in a different place that is not own place? 

What the relational esthetics that I find it comes in from the relationship between humans and nature in the Saudi society?. 

This project is potentially applicable to other traditional Saudi objects and traditional objects from other countries suffering a similar decentralization.



(Relational Aesthetics) Nicolas Bourriaud, the Philosopher whose work has inspired my methodology In theory that depends on a set of artistic practices that take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space. 

The artwork creates a social environment in which people come together to participate in a shared activity. Through my works, I find that the culture always welcomes all different people without exception who have a different appearance, language and thinking that not from her identity which help us to see in the end and clearly how they unawares reached to the height of the fun through doing folklore dance together or applying with some ritual or if they are sharing to make a traditional food.


Lived experience for the German historian, psychologist, meeting world, and philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey is a category of qualitative research that focuses on society and culture and those that focus on language and communication.

​Lived experiences are the main object of study. Still, such research aims not to understand individuals' lived experiences as facts, but to determine the understandable meaning of such experiences. Besides lived experience is not about reflecting on an experience while living through it but is recollective, where experience is reflected on after it has passed or lived through it. Also to determine the understandable meaning of such experiences. In addition, lived experience about reflecting on an experience while living through it. That means I lived with my works to see what the result helped me improve understand my work and how to build it.


  1. To use research concepts that include cultural locations determined in earlier studies and develop an appropriate concept for this research.

  2. To use drawing practices to find the meaning and value of the date (Tamrah) and then develop this using different contemporary practices to examine the responses seen in the date to the movement imposed upon it and the ergonomics of human interaction to see the effect of this interaction with the date in different places.

  3. To clarify the cultural concept of place by analyzing and interpreting the work undertaken and testing how its existence modifies the date's status in different places.




Final presentation:

The results of my research will be presented in two forms.

  • Theoretical side:

The results of my research will be presented in two forms.

Theoretical side: First, the theoretical part will consist of the basic concept of the research by presenting how the concept of place has been addressed in previous studies and the new meaning and additional understanding of this identified in my research.  


  • experimental side:

Second, an exhibition will demonstrate the practical part of this study in a range of contemporary artworks, using different techniques – drawing, video art and performance. There may also be a part that involves viewers' interaction with the work if it is considered useful to add to the basic research proposal's concept associated with the cultural element.



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