Exlplore the art of the written word at Misk Art 2018

The gallery presented visitors with the dynamic curls and swirls of the written word that characterize Arabic calligraphy. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)
Updated 04 November 2018
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Exlplore the art of the written word at Misk Art 2018

RIYADH: The spellbinding beauty of exquisitely scripted words set against white walls was almost overpowering at the Arabic Calligraphy Gallery that ran as part of Misk Art 2018 in Riyadh.

The gallery presented visitors with the dynamic curls and swirls of the written word that characterize Arabic calligraphy — some of the pieces on show featured whole verses of the Qur’an, while others were smaller, more delicate works.

The exhibit, which will close its doors on Saturday, was curated by Fahad Al-Mujahidi, a calligrapher who was mentored by a renowned calligraphy artist in Turkey, Hassan Jalabi.

“We picked the calligraphy works based on its artistic value,” Al-Mujahidi told Arab News.

“We picked the most prominent calligraphers in the world — from Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia,” he added.

 (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)



When asked what his favorite piece in the gallery was, he said: “They are all close to my heart, but my favorite would be the ones by Daud Baktash,” a Turkey-based artist who is widely considered a master calligrapher.

“One of the most difficult Arabic handwriting (forms) is Al-Thulth then Al-Naskh,” Al-Mujahidi said, referring to two of the many different recognized styles of Arabic calligraphy. “I am specialized in both. It is a rich art and we continue to learn its trade.”
Seventeen calligraphers showcased their masterpieces in the exhibition, including Mohammad Farouq, Muthana Al-Obaidi, Ahmad Fares and Mohammad Özçay among others.

 (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)


Although Misk Art 2018 has wrapped up, art aficionados will still be able to see the final creations of the Misk International Sculpture Symposium. Curated by the Saudi sculptor Ali Al-Tokhais, the event sees 21 artists from 13 countries gather in the capital to create original art pieces out of locally sourced marble blocks over the space of three weeks.

Misk Art 2018 also featured a special exhibit curated by Jeddah-based Athr Gallery — a contemporary and modern art fair that showcased eight Saudi galleries in a diverse exhibition of local creativity.

Another section, titled Every Possible Angle, presented audiences with fresh and unexpected forms of technology-driven art.


Film Review: Hip-hop dream in ‘Gully Boy’ is music to the ears

Updated 23 February 2019
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Film Review: Hip-hop dream in ‘Gully Boy’ is music to the ears

CHENNAI: Stories about slums and poverty are not easy to script. They can easily turn into vulgar celebration, as Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” was seen by some, notably legendary Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos.

But director Zoya Akhtar (“Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” and “Luck by Chance”) manages to steer herself clear of slipping into this trap with her latest drama, “Gully Boy,” which emerges from one of the biggest slums in the world, Dharavi, in Mumbai.

There, thousands of people living in a sprawl of huts have a bewildering variety of experiences to narrate. One story is that of Murad’s (Ranveer Singh), whose chance meeting with a rapper, Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi), opens a magical door.

The film, inspired by real-life rappers Naezy and Divine, focusses on Murad’s ambition to become a rapper, and how he achieves it, despite his driver father’s fears and his uncle’s disdain.

In one scene, the uncle tells Murad that a chauffeur’s son can only hope to be another chauffeur, a servant in other words. A humiliated Murad takes this to heart, but quietly vows to transform his dream into reality.

His sweetheart Safeena (Alia Bhatt), who is studying to be a doctor, pushes him towards a hip-hop life.

Witten by Akhtar along with Reema Kagti, “Gully Boy” is undoubtedly the director’s career best, and Ranveer’s too. In a role that literally overshadows his earlier outings (including “Bajirao Mastani” and “Padmaavat”), he brilliantly conveys the angst and struggle of an underdog, and how his unflattering social status attracts ridicule even among those merely aspiring to be rappers.

Ranveer infuses into Murad a quiet determination that helps him cross frightening social and cultural barriers.

Safeena is also imaginatively fleshed out as a fiery woman who helps Akhtar create his own brand of rap music (some grippingly done by Naezy and Divine).

What is even more exciting is that “Gully Boy” brings rap out of the shadows and in this process the city and the slum, sensitively lensed by Jay Oza, seem to be screaming that miracles are possible even in the face of Mumbai’s painful inequities.