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JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Culture has announced its plans to inaugurate the Tariq Abdulhakim Center, a new initiative aimed at preserving and celebrating the musical and intangible cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia.

According to a press release issued by the ministry, the center will feature a museum dedicated to the life and work of the renowned Saudi musician, educator, and collector, Tariq Abdulhakim. It will also encompass specialized research and archive units devoted to preserving Saudi heritage.

Located in the historic district of Al-Balad in Jeddah, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, the TAHC museum will showcase rare artifacts and personal belongings related to Abdulhakim. These items were transferred to the Ministry of Culture for the benefit of the center.

Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to explore visual and audio material of Abdulhakim’s performances, compositions, and interviews with prominent cultural figures who were acquainted with him throughout his career.

The primary aim of the museum is to pay tribute to Abdulhakim’s remarkable contributions to Saudi Arabia’s music scene and honor his passion for music education. In doing so, the museum will organize a variety of public events, live performances, festivals, exhibitions, and innovative music classes for individuals of all ages. By carrying on Abdulhakim’s legacy, the TAHC museum will serve as a platform to inspire future generations and foster a deep appreciation for Saudi music.

In addition to the museum, the TAHC will house specialized research and archive units in multiple locations throughout Jeddah. These units will focus on preserving, documenting, analyzing, and reintroducing Saudi music, arts, and intangible heritage. They will contain books, papers, and media previously owned by Abdulhakim, which have been acquired by the Ministry of Culture for the center’s purposes.

The research and archive units will play a crucial role in promoting higher knowledge and cultural awareness by collecting, protecting, and providing access to materials and recordings. The units will also support scholarly investigation, conduct workshops, and host a variety of seminars and conferences. Through these efforts, the center aims to expand cultural appreciation for Saudi and regional music.

The decision to name the first heritage music center in Saudi Arabia after Tariq Abdulhakim is not without reason. Abdulhakim, often referred to as the “General of Saudi Music,” left an indelible mark on the medium in the Kingdom.

Throughout his career, he established military music bands, orchestras, choirs, and music education institutes, greatly contributing to the development and preservation of Saudi musical arts.

In recognition of his impact, Abdulhakim was awarded the prestigious UNESCO International Music Award in 1981, becoming the first Arab to receive this honor.

By establishing the TAHC, the Ministry of Culture aims to preserve the nation’s heritage and honor its pioneers. Furthermore, the center seeks to enrich the local artistic and cultural scene, reinforcing Saudi Arabia’s commitment to encouraging the arts and preserving its rich cultural legacy.

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