My mum and my family pushed me into applying to this competition I applied to it not knowing what the prize was, However when I found out that I was one of the winners and that the prize was a trip to England, I thought to myself "great the only competition I apply to, and i win trip to England, just my luck Iev been to England so many times what more is there to see." I was wrong in so many ways, the prize wasn't a trip to England but an investment in each winner, and I feel now that this prize is the greatest anyone can give, because money and objects come and go but lessons and memories stay with you forever. I never realized how strong of an impact this would have on me and how much it would affect my life and the decision I'll make for my future. I can go on forever thanking Stephen and the team and all the winners for the things they've done for me and what the put up with. I can go through each person and tell you how they've affected me and the lessons they've taught me. It's been the most rewarding two weeks of my life.
This trip was a blessing from Allah
Hello everyone, my name is Ahaad Alamoudi and I am one of the 10 winners of the Create & Inspire competition. I am here right now to tell you about our journey; the places we visited and the people we met.
Some of us have never left Saudi Arabia before, didn't speak a word of English and right now it's their first time in England. And so from the very first day we arrived we were put under a rigorous schedule which saw us go to more than twenty places and meet more than forty people with so much knowledge and creativity through the course of almost two weeks. I speak on behalf of the winners and I tell you with all my heart that this has been one of the most amazing and unimaginable experience we have ever had. Yes there were some days we were so tired we wanted to give up and so much information was coming in that we didn't know what to do with it but we wouldn't change a thing, because each step of the way was part of a learning process. Whether it was learning more about art and creativity and seeing it in another way or just learning about ourselves or each other, everything just bought us all together for example:
Squint opera taught us about the power of ideas
The British Museum and Venetia Porter taught us commitment
Tate proved to us that evolution is a part of art
And then Cornwall; Cornwall was a fantasy
It showed us the beauty of nature
It gave us confidence in our work with Greg and Tate St Ives
It showed us how creativity can do a lot to a country with the Eden project
We even learned more about our country seeing it through the eys of the people we met. It widened our view of it and through this expedition we felt we had a responsibility or even a duty to change the stereotypes. I am not saying we are perfect; we have our good and bad sides and you obviously know this because if it wasn't for us your news would be completely boring. What I am saying however is that it is a good thing to see the changes we need to make to develop ourselves for the better. One of the things that struck us the most was The British Museum and Venetia Porter and what she is doing for us. She is projecting our religion in such a beautiful way and showing the world what a rich history we have and how strong a backbone Islam is for us. All these things have inspired us to do better for ourselves and our country.
Obviously none of this would happened if it wasn't for the team:
Haneen our 'Jenny from the block' with your funky track suits and great support. Without you we wouldn't have finished the mural
Aya your energy is amazing and you always light up the room when you come in. Thank you for always making us smile
Sarah, a punctual free spirit! She was always running after us, especially the boys, screaming "Yalla shabab, yalla"
Tahira I've never met anyone as kind and warm hearted as you. Thank you for always understanding
Theo, we were scared of his interviews but he's the best! He makes the best scrambled eggs in the world and is a great ping pong teacher: "Stroke the cat"
Maryam we all love you Maryam. She was a bit tough with us sometimes, but we needed that and we needed you in this expedition. Thank you for putting up with so much and all the translation
... and the one person who has inspired us the most and who was with us 247 throughout this expedition is Stephen.
Stephen each day we learnt something new about you and how through your love and commitment to Saudi art you are lifting it to where it is today. You are the backbone of contemporary Saudi art because you recognized its power and with that you are giving us all strength and hope of being a part of this global conversation of artists
I am going to end this by saying that in just two weeks we have all become a family. The things we've seen and the experiences we had together are unforgettable and we just want to say thank you.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this experience and for making it all happen. I know it wasn't easy, but we appreciate it.
Thank you for allowing us to speak on behalf of our country.
The mural represents our daily experiences, everyday we worked on it trying to portray england and the people we met in our eyes. The mural is 10 meters long but within it are small notes and quotes of our thoughts and the lessons we learned throughout this journey.
We all worked very hard on the mural putting in some extra hours to finish it. 10 meters is a a lot, and i don't think anyone thought we'd have the outcome that we have now. great job guys!!
For those who are going to see the mural at City Hall, we all hope you like it!!