Mona Fares’ passion for art and fashion

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Updated 08 December 2012
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Mona Fares’ passion for art and fashion

Artist Mona Fares is a motivated young woman who has been living in the UAE since the age of two. Fares is a mix of two cultures: her mother is German and her father Egyptian. She completed her education in Latifa College in Dubai, graduating in art and design.
Fares has a solid foundation in fine arts — painting, sculpture making and mixed media — as well as design fields like interior, furniture, product, jewelry, graphic design and textiles. “I constantly take fashion courses in Dubai or at the London College of Fashion to keep me updated and keep educating myself more in relevance to the industry,” she said. Fares has also participated in various European exhibitions, exchanges, courses, and art residencies.
Fares’ mother studied art and is an artist too; therefore, her early childhood games always included drawing, painting and colors. Ever since she can remember she created art. “I would sit in the garden from the age of three and draw or paint the flowers and trees. I have studied fine art all through high school and university. And then at university, I also studied various design fields such as furniture, interior, and architecture. Creating art and design are similar to me in some way: It’s all about creating what you envision,” she said.
Fares was truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel and study in design and fashion capitals New York, London, Paris and Milan as well as Barcelona and Florence. “This definitely had a great value to my knowledge of art and design. It impacted my artistic style and my understanding of art and design. Traveling opens your mind in various ways, and for me personally, everything I see in art, fashion and design is like a source of nourishment to my soul and creativity,” she said.
Fares was very inspired by the city of Barcelona and the spectacular architectural works of Antonio Gaudí. “My inspiration comes from within. It comes from my heart and soul, and I express what’s inside me. I am a very intuitive person, and both my art and fashion are based on my intuition plus my knowledge of art and design,” she said.
Fares paints and creates her artworks with a variety of mediums. She likes to experiment with any new or interesting medium she comes across with. “Regarding acrylic, it is fun to use. I fell in love with acrylic in my foundation year at university. When I was introduced to this medium during the course ‘product design’, it was so stimulating and inspiring to see all these different colors of acrylic and various types of thickness,” she said. “The more I discovered the variations of utilizing this acrylic, the more I felt I wanted to incorporate it into my work,” she added.
According to Fares, it is fun to work with acrylics, although it is not always easy, since it is very delicate and can be easily broken or scratched. Therefore, she has to sense and control exactly what she wants to do with it. “Working with acrylic gives the art piece a different dynamic to it through its reflections and glass-like texture. I like to create contrasts with combining various mediums such as canvas with acrylics, wood and more,” she said.
Aside from creating beautiful works of art, Fares also has a fashion brand called Neon Edge. “Growing up, I would always design a few dresses for myself, others and also for university projects, but I needed a push to start my own. The final push to create my own fashion line came from the encouragement and praise of designer YBQ — Yousef Bashir Qureshi — whose fashion course I attended in Dubai in the summer of 2009. I believe he saw ‘the light’ in me! And that’s when I decided to just start,” she said.
Neon Edge was launched in October 2009, with Fares’ signature being neon colors and edgy designs. “I have introduced to this summer-time collection a gentler new palette of light-weight, airy silk or crepe fabrics and innovative shapes,” she said. “As contemporary women, we can be daring and exuberant with our looks, but there is always elegance. I draw inspiration from the beauty and innate glamor of women in the Emirates, and as my mother is German, I have a precise eye for the innovation and detail of European fashion. With a dynamic, playful spin, my philosophy at Neon Edge is always: Let’s embrace style and have fun with it,” she added.
The usage of color is very important, because it can evoke different feelings and emotions of the viewer. “Red can irritate and evoke anger, or for some people it can evoke the feeling of love. Blue can be absorbed as peaceful or relaxing, depending on the type of hue and tone of blue,” said Fares. “Composition and space can create different emotions. Larger areas of white space left empty can evoke different emotions for each person. Areas of intense color again give a different effect,” she added.
“In abstract art, you can create moods and energies from the choice of colors. This is very important for me to have learnt and understood, since all my artworks are very colorful,” said Fares.
Fares is willing to keep painting in order to participate in art exhibitions and art residencies. She also wishes to keep developing and evolving as an artist.

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All eyes on Salah as Egyptians await Champions League final

Updated 27 May 2018
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All eyes on Salah as Egyptians await Champions League final

CAIRO: An owner of a Cairo coffee shop supervised last-minute arrangements for Saturday’s European Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, giving instructions to his employees as they lined up chairs and set up a bigger television set.
“Today is the big day for us. No match is more important than tonight’s, simply because Mohamed Salah is playing,” Mohamed Fathy, the owner of a cafe located in the affluent district of Maadi in southern Cairo, told Arab News.
Salah has enjoyed a record-breaking debut season with Liverpool and could cap a remarkable campaign by leading the Reds to the most-coveted European title as they face serial winners Real Madrid, who are eyeing a third successive triumph.
Nicknamed the Egyptian King, Salah has racked up a record 32 Premier League goals in a 38-game campaign and netted 10 Champions League goals to help Liverpool reach their first final since losing 2-1 to AC Milan in 2007.
He has become a national hero in Egypt, with his popularity hitting unprecedented heights. Saturday’s Champions League final is given more attention than any fixture for Cairo giants Ahly or Zamalek, who each have a huge fan base in the football-mad country.
“We raised our prices a bit because this is the probably the most important day of the football season. We expect to welcome the same number of people who came to the cafe when Egypt defeated Congo (last October) to reach the World Cup,” Fathy said.
Salah ‘gatherings’
Friends have been making plans for weeks to watch the game, choosing between a plenty of options as Cairo’s cafes and mega-malls gear up for the final.
Cairo Festival City, a mall in the upscale Fifth Settlement district, installed a huge screen for its visitors, creating a stadium-like atmosphere. Vodafone, Egypt’s leading mobile operator, launched a competition and invited customers to watch the match and have the pre-dawn Suhoormeal at Cairo’s upmarket Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Coffee shops in poorer areas also replaced their television sets with larger models, which were placed in the streets in order to accommodate as much people as possible.
Many friends are planning to come together in large gatherings at homes after the Ramadan iftar meal to watch Salah in action, but some have mixed emotions.
Spanish giants Real Madrid, the world’s most successful outfit, are popular in Egypt and favored by millions of Egyptians, who will be equally keen to see Salah lift the Champions League trophy in Kiev.
“I really don’t know who I should support now; my heart is split between Real Madrid, the club I have been supporting since I was child, and Salah who deserves to finish his season by winning such a prestigious title,” said Mahmoud Raheem, a 32-year-old fan.
But Liverpool and Salah still enjoy the unique support of their own fans. The club, England’s most successful in Europe, has an official fan club in Egypt, which includes thousands of supporters.
They plan to watch the game on a huge screen in Cairo’s Nasr City district, hoping Salah could play an instrumental role in giving them a title they have long sought.
“It will be difficult against Real because of their experience, but we still have deadly counter-attacking abilities that could help us a lot. Salah has had a great season and it would be great if he can finish the season by leading us to the trophy,” said Ahmed Maher, a 36-year-old Liverpool fan.
If Salah wins the Champions League, he will only become the second Arab to taste that glory after Algerian great Rabah Madjer, who was on target in Porto’s famous 2-1 comeback win over Bayern Munich in the 1987 European Cup final.