Art Dubai will display the Ithra prize-winning 'Sawtam' for the first time

The multimedia work displays the visuals of the 28 Arabic phonemes. (Art Dubai)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Art Dubai will display the Ithra prize-winning 'Sawtam' for the first time

  • Sawtam stands for phoneme in Arabic
  • Al-Saleh hopes to inspire other women to fulfill their dreams

DUBAI: Daniah Al-Saleh, winner of the second edition of Ithra Art Prize, will exhibit her winning commission, Sawtam, for the first time at Art Dubai.

Sawtam is a multimedia artwork that is Arabic for phoneme, the smallest unit of sound in a language. The artwork combines sounds and images to create a work that emotionally moves audiences.

The artist recorded herself pronouncing all the 28 Arabic phonemes, and created visual images of the sound waves of each phoneme. Al-Saleh used her own voice to signify the increasing recognition and rights women in Saudi Arabia are starting to enjoy.

“With the changes in Saudi Arabia, women are more prominent now. Many are holding very high positions,” the artist said.

“So I can use my own voice to say, ‘I am a female. I am a Saudi. Here I am,’” she added.

Al-Saleh hopes to inspire other women artists to realize their dreams. She is currently doing her Masters in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London, with a specialization in Computational Arts – a form of art that combines technology and culture.

The Ithra Art Prize was started by The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Saudi and Art Dubai in 2017, to support emerging Saudi and Saudi-based contemporary artists. The annual prize awards the winner with up to $100,000 to realize their submitted proposal, which will also then be displayed at Art Dubai.

Art Dubai will organize a panel talk on Ithra Art Prize at 2pm on Friday, March 22.


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
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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.