Art Jameel pioneers innovative approaches to protecting and preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritage. At the heart of Art Jameel’s philosophy is the foundation’s efforts to support local communities and to combine traditional approaches with emerging technologies.
In partnership with the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, Art Jameel has established the network of Jameel Houses of Traditional Arts, in Cairo, Jeddah, and on the Dumfries House estate in Scotland. These major teaching institutions preserve the heritage of traditional arts and crafts; support young artists to develop contemporary designs from ancient traditions; and help graduates apply their skills in the restoration of monuments or as entrepreneurs.
In 2017, Art Jameel began working in the Old Town (Al-Balad) of Jeddah and in the Asir region of southern Saudi Arabia, using digital technologies to develop creative industries at the community level that will nurture traditional arts and crafts.
In the field of tangible heritage, Art Jameel led the radical renovation of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Islamic art gallery – now called the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art – and the restoration and relocation of 26 of Jeddah’s finest public sculptures in an open-air sculpture museum. In 2017, Art Jameel and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage completed construction of the Abdul Latif Jameel Centre for Antiquities and Heritage in the historic city of Faid, in northern Saudi Arabia.
Art Jameel regularly contributes to research and conferences, bringing its experience in heritage preservation to a wider audience and engaging with the key issues to drive policy in the field. Through participation in major heritage initiatives and collaborations with major institutions, such as the 2017 heritage colloquium and report of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Art Jameel is at the cutting edge of heritage thinking.
Art Jameel sees the preservation of cultural heritage – whether monuments, antiquities, or ancient crafts – as the key to unlocking the creative potential of the future and, dovetailed with the foundation’s support for creative industries, to helping local communities preserve and express their cultures in a sustainable way.