HIGHLIGHTS from Jordan Nassar’s ‘For Your Eyes’

'Memories' by Jordan Nassar. (Supplied)
Updated 27 December 2018
0

HIGHLIGHTS from Jordan Nassar’s ‘For Your Eyes’

DUBAI: Palestinian — American artist Jordan Nassar’s ‘For Your Eyes,’ is at The Third Line in Dubai from Jan 16 — Feb 27.
“Memories”
For his Dubai exhibition, his first in the Gulf, Palestinian-American artist Jordan Nassar collaborated with craftswomen in Hebron to produce hand-embroidered works that, the gallery says, “juxtapose local traditions of making with Jordan’s western painterly aesthetic.” The “incongruous” result, the press release adds, “embodies the contrast between what Jordan refers to as his ‘Palestinian-ness’ with his out-of-place feeling while in Palestine.”

“For Your Eyes”
The works on display are all named after songs by Umm Kulthum. “For Your Eyes,” Nassar explains, is actually an Arabic phrase meaning “something along the lines of” ‘just for you,’ but the literal translation fails to capture its true significance. The failure of translation to convey cultural meanings is an important influence on Nassar’s work.

“My Beloved Tendered Back”
In pieces like this one, the way the embroidery complements Nassar’s multicolored “kaleidoscopic panoramas” — a collision of two cultures and styles —  shows that the artist has, perhaps, successfully resolved the conflicting emotions he feels as a member of the diaspora.

 


Netflix Review: ‘Leila’ offers a frightening fictional glimpse into India under draconian rule

Netflix’s original six-episode series, “Leila,” is an unflinching look at a fictional futuristic India run under a draconian political, social and cultural structure. (Supplied)
Updated 19 June 2019
0

Netflix Review: ‘Leila’ offers a frightening fictional glimpse into India under draconian rule

CHENNAI: Netflix’s original six-episode series, “Leila,” is an unflinching look at a fictional futuristic India run under a draconian political, social and cultural structure.

Adapted from Prayaag Akbar’s novel of the same title, and directed by Deepa Mehta (known for bold films such as “Fire,” “Earth” and “Water”), Shanker Raman and Pawan Kumar, “Leila” is set in 2047, a century after the country had gained independence from the British Empire, and is a daring take on what India could become if authoritarianism and radical forces had their way.

India, in “Leila,” is called Aryavarta, a dictatorial state ruled by Joshi (Sanjay Suri) with the help of a ruthless police force, where painful segregation of people on the basis of religion, caste and economic status is routine. They are separated by formidably tall walls to ensure purity of race.

Children of mixed parentage are whisked away from parents, and women who marry outside their religion are sent to places resembling concentration camps, where they are reformed and re-educated.

One of them is Shalini (Huma Qureshi), whose marriage to Rizwan (Rahul Khanna) outside her community is branded a crime. Her little daughter, Leila, is taken away, and her husband murdered.

The series follows the distraught mother as she goes looking for the girl. Hurt and humiliated by a draconian administration which relies on thugs and a highly intrusive surveillance system to maintain order, Shalini befriends a state-appointed minder, Bhanu (Siddharth).

Penned by Urmi Juvekar, Suhani Kawar and Patrick Graham, the series is slightly different from the book, and runs like a thriller showing chases, brawls for water (“Bandit Queen” director Shekhar Kapur had once wanted to make a movie on water wars, but could not) and torturous living conditions in filthy slums.

Qureshi portrays flashes of brilliance as a deeply troubled woman who pines for her child, but her character is often roadblocked in her quest by an unfeeling regime with a zero-tolerance approach to dissent.

Order is enforced through inhuman forms of punishment, and at one point Shalini has to roll over plates of half-eaten food.

With Netflix outside the purview of sometimes rigid Indian censorship rules, Mehta and the other directors have been able to present most graphically a scenario that is well within the realms of possibility.