South African artist leaves his mark on the streets of Balad

Pieter Pienaar, left, posing with Saudi artist Dia Aziz Dia in Balad.

Pieter Pienaar, left, posing with Saudi artist Dia Aziz Dia in Balad.

Riding on the back of a successful year, The 3rd Kunna Kida Jeddah heritage festival is bringing back the Street Art Festival with the participation of well-known local and international artists.

Many Saudi and non-Saudi artists gathered on the famous Jeddah festival Street to show their skills by drawing portraits for festivalgoers, South African Pieter Pienaar is one of those artists whose works will be shown for 10 days at the Jeddah Balad festival.

Although he has been working as a teacher here in Jeddah for the last 4 years, Pieter sees himself as an abstract expressionist who loves to practice his favorite hobby in his free time. Being part of the artists’ team at the festival came by accident as he replaced one of his colleagues who could not make it on the first day.

“I was initially a replacement and this is how I ended up drawing with the other local Jeddah artists. My colleague, the renowned Egyptian artist Adulhameed Al Fekey who won the prestigious ‘Kasseby’ prize in 2013, asked me to represent him for one day because he could not attend the festival on the first day and I obliged,” he recalled.

After his impressive presence as a replacement, the organizer, Ehad Al Hadad, insisted that he continue to appear alongside the other participating artists.

“Initially, I was not very keen on the idea because as an art teacher I needed the holidays to work on my own art works for exhibition purposes, but I was glad to accept the invitation. I did so because there is a happy buzz of people and we can have very interesting conversations with art lovers and the public. I must just add here that I am enjoying meeting the famous Saudi artists who occasionally pay us a visit when we are entertaining the public,” he added.

Pieter praised the role of the iconic Saudi artists Safeya Binzagr and Dia Aziz Dia for their continued support for Jeddah’s art community.

He continued “I have been a practicing artist for a number of years but this is the first time I am drawing in a public space where people peep over my shoulder and take photographs while I am drawing. At first, I was very nervous because I always work in a quite atmosphere or while listening to classical music as a background, but I decided to relax and make it part of my art journey with Jeddah.”

The South African art teacher often chooses his subjects from what he sees beautiful, among his drawings are portraits of famous personalities or visitors of the festival.

Pieter who has shown two exhibitions in Jeddah called “Journey With Jeddah” and promised that his next show – “Portraits” – will be about the people of Jeddah. “Jeddah festival has given me a great opportunity to demonstrate how street art can add character to a place,” he said.

He concluded “I want to congratulate the organizers of the festival for the wonderful festival the public can enjoy this week and once again it is a privilege for me as a South African artist to enjoy the hospitality of the friendly and talented Jeddah artists and may you go from strength to strength. Saudi Arabia can indeed be proud of the vibrant and colorful art community residing in Jeddah.”


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