Beluga whales create art in Japan aquarium

Updated 01 October 2013
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Beluga whales create art in Japan aquarium

TOKYO: Beluga whales at an aquarium near Tokyo are learning how to paint pictures as part of an autumn art program for visitors, an official said Wednesday.
The sea creatures at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama will be showing off their skills with specially adapted paintbrushes that they can hold in their mouths, a spokeswoman for the aquarium said.
A trainer standing on the poolside dips the brush into paint and guides the belugas to produce pictures that bear a passing resemblance to natural scenes.
“This is part of our autumn, the best season for art,” she said.
“The ideal is that a beluga will emulate what one of our customers has painted — of course trainers will guide the whale to do that,” she said.
“We’ll see how well they manage.”
Three belugas, two females and a male, will demonstrate their new skills in rotation once every weekday and twice a day at weekends, she said.
The beluga, also known as the white whale, is on the red list of threatened species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Some activists object to the training of whales and dolphins for aquarium shows and Japan is frequently the target of complaints over its attitude to animals, particularly the annual slaughter of dolphins in the western town of Taiji.


Hafez Gallery organizes art fair

Updated 3 min 42 sec ago
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Hafez Gallery organizes art fair

JEDDAH: The Hafez Gallery has organized the Shara Art Fair at the Saudi Art Council’s headquarters, bringing together five galleries from around Jeddah.
“I’ve been exhibiting with the Hafez Gallery for the past four years, ever since it started,” Osama Esid, from Damascus, told Arab News.
His painting at the art fair, “Zamakan,” is “about refugees sinking as they try to cross vast stretches of water,” he said.
He created the painting “in the dark to show the final resting place of these refugees,” he added. “I’d use brushes, sticks, and sometimes even my fingers.”
Artist Bashair Hawsawi told Arab News that his piece, showing a couple of broom heads attached back to back, “reflects the experiences I went through this year, because I want to clean my thoughts
and ideas from negative
things.” He added: “When I was young, people would comment on my shyness and weakness, so I started to be aware of this, and that helped me work out who I really wanted to be.”
Khalid Zahid, known for his Islamic-themed modern art, exhibited balloons shaped like mosques in different colors.
“The concept is called
‘Joyful.’ What I wanted to show was how balloons bring joy whether you’re young or old,” he told Arab News.
“As for the shape, I wanted to show how Islam brings joy to people. That’s why they (the balloons) look like mosques.”