Saudi welcomes stellar lineup at KAEC Jazz Fest

Erik Truffaz (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Saudi welcomes stellar lineup at KAEC Jazz Fest

DUBAI: The KAEC International Jazz Festival kicks off Thursday in Juman Park in Jeddah’s King Abdullah Economic City. The two-day event boasts an impressive lineup of major regional and international artists.
Thursday night is headlined by the extraordinary French nu-jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz — widely hailed as one of the, if not the, best in the world.
Truffaz has pushed the boundaries of his instrument, hopping between genres including hip-hop and rock. He collaborated with Lebanese indie band Mashrou’ Leila on their 2014 track “Bahr.”
Also performing on Thursday are Saudi jazz-fusion band Min Alriyadh, acclaimed Lebanese oudist Charbel Rouhana, Grammy Award-winning American saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and four-time Grammy winner McCoy Tyner, a pianist who made his name with the John Coltrane Quartet.
Friday sees Candian jazz guitarist Jesse Cook headlining. Cook, 53, is a multiple-award-winning musician and composer based in France, who has sold over 1.5 million records worldwide. Joining him on Friday’s bill are Jeddah-based covers band The Bright Side, Grammy Award-winning American guitarist Al Di Meola, US singer and guitarist Raul Midon, and the excellent Palestinian oud virtuosos Le Trio Joubran — three brothers who recently collaborated with ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters on “Supremacy,” a response to US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


The UAE’s art scene isn’t imported, Emirati curator argues

Updated 24 March 2019
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The UAE’s art scene isn’t imported, Emirati curator argues

  • Several art platforms participated in the new segment
  • One of the artists said her piece is actually a collaboration with the public

ABU DHABI: This year, Art Dubai introduced a new segment into its program — the UAE NOW exhibit that showcased the country’s local independent, artist-run platforms.

The region’s largest art fair ran from March 20-23 and Arab News caught up with UAE NOW curator Munira Al-Sayegh to find out more about the push to showcase homegrown creativity.

“The UAE NOW section of Art Dubai is extremely important to me. It is a moment where we are looking at the cross-collaboration of grassroots platforms that have taken place out of the sheer idea of collaboration between creatives and it is extremely important to showcase this as a counter-narrative to the usual stereotypical idea that the UAE’s art scene is a very commercial art scene or one that is imported,” the curator said.

The participating platforms included Bait 15, Banat Collective, Jaffat el Aqlam, PAC (Public Art Collective) and Daftar Asfar. The platforms were invited to showcase their works and many ended up creating small, informal spaces that showed off the artists’ pieces in a cozy atmosphere. Bait 15’s booth featured a large mattress in the middle, where visitors could rest their weary feet, and the Banat Collective boasted draped chiffon on which passers-by could draw and doodle with chalk pastels.  

The piece by Saudi Arabia-based Palestinian artist Jana Ghalayini was a “collaboration with the public,” she told Arab News, adding that she was hoping to explore themes of identity and empowerment through the interactive installation.

For her part, co-founder of the Abu Dhabi-based Bait 15 studio Afra Al-Dhaheri was equally interested in opening up a dialogue.

“This is the first time that Art Dubai allows for community spaces to be present… I think this dialogue has to emerge one way or another, like, having the artist community speak,” she told Arab News.  

“Art is important for any society. It’s a register for the history of the society, the community and the times,” she added.