Calling all cat lovers: Dubai art gallery spotlights strays

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.


Startup of the Week: ‘What comes naturally: Organic soaps head to Jeddah’

Updated 22 July 2019
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Startup of the Week: ‘What comes naturally: Organic soaps head to Jeddah’

  • The brand offers 100 percent organic products

Organic skincare methods have always proven reliable. Lora, an organic skincare business established by 33-year-old Saudi entrepreneur Hashim Al-Shawi in 2016, understood that although globally many skincare brands have embraced this knowledge, in the Kingdom, there were relatively few.

Al-Shawi, who spent three years in the US, decided to exploit the gap in the market, while creating dream jobs for many of his Saudi contemporaries.

The brand offers 100 percent organic products, including natural soaps made with essence of lavender, olive oil, oud, rose and musk, peels, creams, scrubs and shea butter products.

“Natural oils are the main component in all of our products, which adds quality,” Al-Shawi told Arab News.

“Lora is all about what’s being produced cleanly from the earth delivered to your hands. It is all handmade, and gentle on your skin. We use carefully chosen natural ingredients ready to make you fall in love with them.”

He explained that “Lora” in Arabic means the heart of the bay tree. “This name is used in many cultures, such as Persian and Arab cultures and some cultures in Africa, to symbolize the rose and the female form alike.”

He encourages people to use organic skincare products instead of commercial ones.

“Natural soaps are best used, because we are dealing with skin, the largest organ in the human body which protects us. I encourage the use of organic skincare products to benefit it.”

Lora is working to open a new store in Jeddah in a few months. Customers can place their orders through the shop’s Instagram account (@loragoskin)