Aleppo in the artist’s eyes

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Updated 06 February 2013
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Aleppo in the artist’s eyes

Hisham Al-Ayesh the famous Syrian artist has a unique exhibition showcasing 32 paintings that highlight his different artistic techniques at Alamia Gallery, under the patronage of Taha Saban. 
The seven-day exhibition features the artist’s work in a range of creative expressions such as pencil sketches, oil paintings, mosaic work and installations. 
The variety of art genres displays Al-Ayesh’s multi-disciplinary talents and his passion for exploring different styles and projects. Moreover, the diversity in the artist’s subjects provides a glimpse into the artist’s subconscious train of thought. Ranging from sketches of fish, fruits and women, to marvelous wooden artworks embellished with mosaic and oil paintings of horses, offers the visitor a plethora of beautiful and rich pieces to admire. 
Despite the diversity of themes present in Al-Ayesh’s exhibition, Syria was the main and integral protagonist of the artist’s work. Water paintings featuring old Syrian houses stood as artifacts of a calmer age when the country was not ravaged by war. 
“This is the biggest collection of Hisham Al-Ayesh’s art work displayed in one place. His work embodies the mysteries of Syrian traditions and culture and beholds within them elements of nostalgia and belonging to his native country. Al-Ayesh is one of the most prominent Arab artists of our time,” said Nihar Marzok, a famous Saudi artist and head of the Saudi arts association.
Al-Ayesh’s exhibition also features 47 pieces from other Syrian artists that complement his Syrian narrative, and remind visitors of the beautiful landscape and the flavors of old Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world. 
Al-Ayesh was trained by the famous Syrian artist Louay Kayali and Haskial Tours. 
Commenting on the exhibition, he said, “This was my personal exhibition but I invited different artists from Syria, to give the exhibition a more focused and authentic touch of our native homeland. Alongside the Syrian motif, the main theme of my art exhibition is difficult to explain. I have many different subjects in my artwork, but horses are featured quite prominently due to my passion for these creatures and my unique portrayal of them.”
Imagination is central to the artist, however he explained that some of his pieces are inspired by reality and day-to-day incidents. 
Al-Ayesh has been a resident in Saudi Arabia since 1981 and has always been actively involved in the Kingdom’s art scene, even during the burgeoning stages. He has participated in a number of solo exhibitions as well as group exhibitions, such as the ones in Jubail and Yanbu. Moreover, some of his art pieces have been purchased by members of the royal family, including Prince Turkey bin Abdulaziz, Prince Sultan bin Salman, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Princess Haya bint Khaled, and Princess Sitah bint Abdullah.
Some of his collections can be seen at Abdul Raoof Khalil Museum, Jeddah Municipality, and Safeya Binzagr Museum.
Regarding his future plans, the artist revealed that he would like to support young artists and teach his art techniques to the new generation. 
Khalil Nehlawi, the project manager at Alamiah described Al-Ayesh’s style of art as “Very unique”, adding that “Saudi and Syrian art share a similar spirit and heritage, however style varies from one artist to the other.”
Meanwhile, Ghazi Al-Khaildi, member of the united committee of artists in the European Union also said that Al-Ayesh’s work has evolved immensely since 1983. He also highlighted how Al-Ayesh’s paintings of horses were different from other artists and provided a unique point of reference in the modern Arab art scene. 
The exhibition was inaugurated by Saban who expressed his appreciated of Al-Ayesh’s efforts and great artistic talent
“This is a beautiful exhibition and brings back memories of my visit to Syria. I have a great passion for art, as it is an expression of culture and a universal language for people of the work. I was a cultural attaché to Damascus back in the 90’s and worked with many Syrian artists, so it’s a great pleasure to see their work displayed here,” said Anne Casper, the American consul general. 

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Ancient musical instruments get an airing in Athens

Updated 21 June 2018
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Ancient musical instruments get an airing in Athens

  • The phorminx, the kitharis, the krotala and the aulos — string and wind instruments reconstructed by musical group Lyravlos — echoed among marble statues in Athens’s National Archaeological Museum.
  • Music was an integral part of almost every aspect of ancient Greek society, from religious, to social to athletic events.

ATHENS: Hymns sung to the Greek gods thousands of years ago resonated from ancient musical instruments in Athens on Thursday, transporting a transfixed audience to antiquity.
The phorminx, the kitharis, the krotala and the aulos — string and wind instruments reconstructed by musical group Lyravlos — echoed among marble statues in Athens’s National Archaeological Museum as part of World Music Day celebrations.
A family of musicians, Lyravlos have recreated exact replicas of the ancient instruments from natural materials including animal shells, bones, hides and horns.
Music was an integral part of almost every aspect of ancient Greek society, from religious, to social to athletic events. Today only some 60 written scores of ancient Greek music have survived, said Lyravlos member Michael Stefos.
Stefos said they interpret them as best they can, relying on the accuracy of their recreated instruments.
“Joking aside, ancient CDs have never been found,” he said.
Their performance included a hymn to the god Apollo, pieces played at the musical festival of the ancient Pythian Games in Delphi and during wine-laden rituals to the god Dionysus.
Michael’s father Panayiotis Stefos, who heads the group, travels to museums at home and abroad studying ancient Greek antiquities and texts in order to recreate the instruments.
“Usually each instrument has a different sound. It is not something you can make on a computer, it will not be a carbon copy,” said Stefos.
The difference with modern day instruments?
“If someone holds it in their arms and starts playing, after a few minutes they don’t want to let it go, because it vibrates and pulsates with your body,” he said.
French tourist Helene Piaget, who watched the performance, said it was “inspiring.”
“One sees them on statues, on reliefs, and you can’t imagine what they might sound like,” she said.
World Music Day is an annual celebration that takes place on the summer solstice.