On April 19, the National Culture Awards ceremony in Riyadh celebrated Saudi Arabia’s artistic talents with a ceremony honoring 32 Saudi Arabian cultural figures spanning 14 categories. The Ministry of Culture announced the first annual National Culture Awards winners in a ceremony on Monday in the Cultural Palace of the Diplomatic Quarter.
Sponsored by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the initiative supports the realization of Vision 2030 through the Quality of Life program in efforts to support the status of Saudi Arabia as a hub of cultural activity. As stated on the Ministry of Cultures website, the objectives of the award ceremony are to recognize the Kingdom’s most important cultural achievements and to highlight Saudi cultural talent both nationally and internationally.
In January 2020, the Ministry of Culture began the completion process, receiving a total of 15,000 submissions online. From there, the deliberation process was put into place just in time to choose the final winners in December.
The awards spanned across 14 categories: Cultural Pioneering Award, Youth Cultural Award, Cultural Institutions Award, Film Award, Music Award, Fashion Award, National Heritage Award, Literature Award, Theatre and Performing Arts Award, Visual Art Award, Architecture and Design Award, Culinary Arts Award, Publishing, and Translation award.
The Fashion Award aims to honor Saudi fashion designers who contribute significantly to the industry and continue to promote Saudi Arabian culture locally and internationally. The objectives of this specific award are to enrich and improve lifestyle, promote local culture, endorse a sustainable environment for the domestic fashion industry. On Monday, three recipients received this award ranking in first, second, and third place.
Among the winners is Yousef Akbar, a Saudi-born womenswear designer who continues to soar to new heights with his unique silhouettes. Akbar’s designs were worn by the likes of US singer Kelly Rowland and model Chrissy Teigen. Last year, he was also selected was as one of the finalists for the 2020 Vogue Fashion Prize, Powered by NEOM.
After receiving the award, Akbar took to Instagram to say, “Thank you to the Ministry of Culture for recognizing fashion as an important part of our culture and identity, and for supporting the development of this industry. I am proud to be part of this journey in Saudi, and I am excited for the future ahead. I am truly out of words, and I am so honored to be the runner up at the Fashion Saudi Culture Awards. Congratulations to the winner @lomarthobe and to @aram_designs.”
Alongside Akbar is a Riyadh-based fashion designer Arwa Alammari who came in third place. The founder of ArAm, Alammari, combines traditional Saudi designs matched with contemporary and elegant modesty in her garments. She also took to Instagram to express her gratitude saying, “So proud to be a nominee and winner of the Saudi National Cultural Awards of the Ministry of Culture selected from 15000 applicants.”
See the full list of winners of the National Culture Awards below.
1. Fashion Award: In first place is Lomar, second place, Yousef Akbar, and third place, Arwa Alammari.
2. Youth Cultural Award: First place, Shahad Amin for her films including, Lady of the Sea and Scales which was nominated for Best International Film in the Academy Awards.
3. Cultural Institutions Awards: First place in the private sector track is King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). In first place for the non-profit sector is Saudi Heritage Preservation Society, and winning in first place in the social responsibility track is the Ketabi Lak Application.
4. Film Award: In first place is Shahad Amin.
5. The Cultural Pioneer of the Year Award: H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Nasser Alaboudy
6. Music Award: Zaina Swelleh wins first place, in second place, Akram Almattar, and in third place Reem Altamimi.
7. National Heritage Award: Abdulaziz Aldakheel wins first place, in second place Dr. Hisham Ali Mortada, and in third place Torathuna Social Responsibility Company.
8. Literature Award: In first place is Abdulaziz Alsagabi, in second place Magbool Alalawi, and in third place Amal Alharbi.
9. Publishing Award: In first place was Obeikan Publishing and Translation, second place Kadi and Ramadi for Publishing and Distribution, and in third place Dar Athar for Publishing and Distribution.
10. Theatre and Performing Arts Award: Sami Algamaan wins first place and in second place Yasser Madkhli.
11. Visual Arts Award: Lulwah Al Homoud wins first place, in second place Danah Awratani, and in third place Ahmad Angawi.
12. Translation Award: Abdallah Mohammed Idris wins first place, in second place Sultan Nasser Almujaiwel, and in third place Bander Mohammed Alharbi.
13. Culinary Arts Award: Rakan Ibrahim Aloraifi wins first place, in second place ZADK Culinary Academy, and in third place Norah Abdulwahab Albadran.
14. Theatre and Performing Arts Award: In first place Sami Algamaan and in second place Yasser Madkhli.
15. Architecture and Design Award: A winner was not selected as the submissions did not meet the requirements.