Jessica Kahawaty ends 2018 with an environmental wake-up call

Updated 30 December 2018
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Jessica Kahawaty ends 2018 with an environmental wake-up call

  • Kahawaty is a keen supporter of a number of humanitarian and environmental causes
  • Kahawaty urged fans to donate a portion of their salaries to end child violence

DUBAI: Lebanese-Australian model and humanitarian Jessica Kahawaty is set to ring in the new year Down Under and took to Instagram this week to share an important message about the environment in one of her last posts of the year.

The influencer took to the social media platform with a photo of herself in a multi-colored, tie-dye shirt — a fashion trend she predicted would make a comeback in 2019 — and captioned it with a note on the state of coral reef ecosystems.

“I love that @pantone announced ‘Living Coral’ as 2019 color of the year,” she said, referring to the Pantone Color Institute’s yearly pick of an annual favorite color. “It’s also an important environmental message calling for attention (to) the state of coral reef ecosystems,” she added.

It is a message that is particularly important in Australia, where the coral along large swathes of the 2,300-kilometer Great Barrier Reef has been killed by rising sea temperatures linked to climate change, leaving behind skeletal remains in a process known as coral bleaching.

The northern reaches of the reef suffered an unprecedented two successive years of severe bleaching in 2016 and 2017, raising fears it may have suffered irreparable damage, AFP reported in November.

And that is why Kahawaty is so pleased that the much-reported-on color of the year is “Living Coral.”

Laurie Pressman, Pantone Color Institute’s vice president, told the Associated Press in December that she considers this saturated orange base with a golden undertone not only warm and welcoming but versatile and life-affirming. It energizes with a softer edge than, say, its pastel and neon color cousins.

“With everything that’s going on today, we’re looking for those humanizing qualities because we’re seeing online life dehumanizing a lot of things,” Pressman said. “We’re looking toward those colors that bring nourishment and the comfort and familiarity that make us feel good. It’s not too heavy. We want to play. We want to be uplifted.”

Kahawaty is a keen supporter of a number of humanitarian and environmental causes, including UNICEF and the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR)


Last year, fashion house Louis Vuitton selected Kahawaty to work with UNICEF at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan to help children affected by the Syrian crisis, which has seen millions of people (including more than two million children) displaced.
Kahawaty also urged fans to donate a minute of their salaries to end child violence as part of the UNICEF Australia initiative, “A Minute of Your Time.”


Calling all cat lovers: Dubai art gallery spotlights strays

Artist Angel-O takes to the streets of Dubai to photograph stray cats. Angel-O/FN Designs
Updated 23 March 2019
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Calling all cat lovers: Dubai art gallery spotlights strays

DUBAI: FN Designs, a gallery in Dubai’s artsy Alserkal Avenue, is spotlighting street cats in a new exhibition by artist-photographer Angel-O until April 30.

The multidisciplinary art and design studio chose to highlight the Filipino photographer’s work in a bid to raise awareness about the situation of strays in the UAE.

The exhibition opened in March with a panel discussion titled “Catnip.” The artist was joined by Nour Fakher, a vet at Blue Oasis Clinic, and Sara Abdelal, a cat rescuer in Dubai.

The artist started his journey when his landlord enforced a strict no-pet policy. Angel-O took to the streets to photograph stray cats in order to remain close to the animals.

Artist Angel-O takes to the streets of Dubai to photograph stray cats. Angel-O/FN Designs

“Most of these photos are taken in different parts of Dubai, in the nooks and crannies of streets,” he said, referring to his collection of photographs, which were taken in 2014 but shown for the first time in this show.

 “I am so glad my artwork is able to help these cats. I’ve had people come up and enquire about the location of the photograph so they could go back and help the cat in the picture,” he said.

 “I’m really relieved that people find this collection… of mine moving.”

Cat rescuer Abdelal stressed the importance of the TNR method of treating strays — trapping, neutering and releasing them.

“While we are trying to help find a safe home or habitat for the existing cats on our streets, let’s prevent their number from increasing. These animals can’t speak to us, we need to find a way to understand and help them,” she said.  

The UAE government has made moves to reduce the number of street cats through newly mandated animal welfare regulations that were handed down by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in December.

A failure to properly care for animals, including dumping pets, is now punishable by law in the country.