Israel’s Netta, the voice of #MeToo at Eurovision

Israeli singer Netta Barzilai aka Netta poses for pictures during the Red Carpet ceremony of the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, on May 6, 2018. (AFP/Francisco Leong)
Updated 10 May 2018
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Israel’s Netta, the voice of #MeToo at Eurovision

  • The performer's song "Toy" contains the defiant line “I am not your toy, you stupid boy”

LISBON: With her powerful voice and attention-grabbing clothes, Israeli singer Netta Barzilai has become the voice of the #MeToo movement at Saturday’s Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon.
Her uptempo song “Toy” — which include the lines “I am not your toy, you stupid boy” and “the Barbie’s got something to say” — has grabbed the limelight, summing up the concerns of many women who have adopted the movement.
“The song has an important message — the awakening of female power and social justice, wrapped in a colorful, happy vibe,” Barzilai was quoted as saying by Eurovision site wiwibloggs earlier this week.
“I think the song is #MeToo, but it’s an empowerment song for everybody, and everybody can find themselves in it,” she told OUTtv, a Netherlands-based speciality cable channel.
The song also references “Wonder Woman,” who was recently brought to the big screen by Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
“This song needed to make everyone dance, with a happy beat” but also “say something different about the #MeToo movement,” the author of the song, Doron Medalie, said in an interview with The Times of Israel.
Barzilai is the fans’ favorite at the contest, according to a poll carried out by OGEA, a network of Eurovision song contest fan clubs from around the globe.
At Tuesday’s first semifinal at Lisbon’s riverside Altice Arena, many of her supporters wore T-shirts that read: “I am not your toy.” Barzilai was one of the ten acts that made it through to Saturday’s final.
She says her fashion choices — at the semifinal she wore a multi-colored kimono while at Sunday’s opening ceremony she was decked out in a white chiffon dress that resembled a bridal gown — are part of her message.
“I see it as a really important way of expression. Also because larger women don’t celebrate themselves,” she told a news conference after a rehearsal in Lisbon last week.
“We only live once and I really believe than I am beautiful and sexy and special… it’s a wonderful chance to do a little change in the world.”
Barzilai is popular among young people in Israel after winning a reality show there earlier this year, giving her the right to represent the country at Eurovision.
Born in 1993, Barzilai was raised along with her two brothers in the Tel Aviv region. While still a child her parents moved to Nigeria where she lived for four years, learning rhythms of African lullabies sung to her by local nannies.
Back in Israel, she studied jazz at the Rimon School of Music, one of the most prestigious music schools in the country.
“I find her very talented, she has a very beautiful voice and she performs well on the stage,” said Naomi Yeivin, a 24-year-old Israeli singer and songwriter, who studied at the same music school.
She said many people focused on Netta’s weight and said it was good that she did not feel inhibited by it.
“I also find it good, but I don’t think it will completely revolutionize mentalities,” she told AFP in Israel.
For months Barzilai has been the bookmakers’ favorite to win Eurovision this year.
But after Tuesday’s semifinal she was overtaken by Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira with a catchy pop song entitled “Fuego.”


Art Dubai, where anything goes, gets off to a colorful start

The fair’s 13th edition runs from March 20-23 and features 92 Contemporary and Modern galleries from 42 countries. (Arab News)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Art Dubai, where anything goes, gets off to a colorful start

DUBAI: Art Dubai, the largest art fair in the Middle East, got off to a colorful start on Wednesday and more than 92 galleries showcased their chosen artists in the city’s Madinat Jumeriah.

The fair’s 13th edition runs from March 20-23 and features 92 Contemporary and Modern galleries from 42 countries, as well as a bevy of galleries from the UAE.  There are also a number of events going on around the city, as part of Art Week, including Art Nights at the Dubai International Financial Center, which took place on Tuesday. 

You can read more about Art Nights, and see the wild and wonderful art on show, here

Highlights include new gallery section Bawwaba, showcasing art from the Global South; UAE NOW - the first section of its kind - spotlighting local independent artist-run platforms and subcultures, their place in the UAE’s evolving landscape and contribution to creating new ways of thinking, theory and artistic movements and the Contemporary section — two gallery halls presenting work from 59 galleries from 34 countries by some of the most notable contemporary artists working today. It will make you smile, smirk and everything  in-between.

Art Dubai 2019 welcomes more than 500 artists representing 80 nationalities across its four gallery sections: Art Dubai Contemporary, Art Dubai Modern, Bawwaba and Residents.

We take a look at six of our favorite artists and pieces here.

The diversity on show is notable, with galleries from Latin America placed next to booths from Beirut, Saudi Arabia and London.

Pablo del Val, Artistic Director of Art Dubai, said: “Art Dubai continues to develop original content to redefine what an art fair can be and contribute to the UAE and wider region’s cultural landscape. We represent an art world that is truly global and inclusive, rooted in artistic discovery and the promotion of new and alternative perspectives, community building, idea generation and cultural exchange. Geographies, galleries and artists, art typologies and thematics that are not often seen side-by-side, or even as part of the same conversation, will converge at the fair. We hope that new discoveries will be made and new synergies formed.”

It’s a melting pot of artistic expression and media, with sculptures, canvases and the odd video installation vying for space in the crowded halls.

There is a distinct focus on contemporary art, so if you’re into museum-worthy paintings, this may not be your cup of tea, but if you are willing to experiment, it’s the perfect spot to question the boundaries of art.

Battery-operated imaginary animals careened across the floor in one booth, while a fine spider’s web of black string formed an origami-like sculpture in another — anything goes at Art Dubai, as long as it’s not too risqué.

But, why tell you when we can show you? Scroll through the photo gallery to find out more about the art on show here.