The Eid al-Fitr celebration at Mona Khashoggi’s home, with Lara Khan, her mother Juana Khan, Mona Khashoggi, Rema Khashoggi and Tamara Abukhadra.
LONDON - One doesn’t have to be in Jeddah or Beirut to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in style. Last night Mona Khashoggi proved this by opening her home with typical warmth and hospitality to celebrate Eid surrounded by her friends and her wonderful art collection. Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, France and even Russia were represented amongst the guests, showing once again that the celebration of Eid spans an extremely wide geography. I was thrilled to be included to share the feast, in remembrance of the poor and the hungry that should symbolically be fed on the day that ends the month of Ramadan.
The elegant crowd inevitably included patrons of the arts such as Sara and Faisal Tamer, Amr Sabounchi, Ali Khan and his lovely wife Juana, Nouha Fustuk, as well as Rema and Amr Khashoggi. Art was part of nearly every conversation and most guests were regular attendees of ArtDubai, not to mention Abu Dhabi Art Fair. Mona, herself an avid collector of Middle Eastern art, pointed out her favourite pieces to me. An imposing work by Ismail Acar of an Ottoman costume dominates the room; the artist was commissioned by the Topkapi Museum to paint Ottoman costumes and armour and Mona is the proud owner of one. Works by Chant Avedissian, Ayman Baalbaki, Adil Siti and others also engage the eye, as well as the exceptional Parastou Forouhar and the Hirst she bought from Sotheby’s.
Mona Khashoggi and artist Aisha Caan.
As co-founder of Mansoojat, a Saudi charity that nurtures the development of tribal and native arts and crafts, Mona’s longstanding support of cultural activities marks her as an important force in this respect. Similarly, she actively supports the Barakat Trust, another Arab charity run by a group of dynamic ladies that contributes to the restoration and preservation of important regional architecture. There seems little doubt that these initiatives will be going from strength to strength, and that the bounty of Saudi Arabian cultural contribution will be something to celebrate. And not just in Jeddah or Riyadh.