China’s largest ever Picasso exhibition opens

The exhibition is titled “Picasso Birth of a Genius.” (Wang Zhao/AFP)
Updated 15 June 2019

China’s largest ever Picasso exhibition opens

  • The “Birth of a Genius” exhibition brings together the best of the Picasso Museum Paris, Laurent Le Bon
  • It runs until Sept. 1 at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing

BEIJING: The largest Picasso exhibition ever held in China opens on Saturday, featuring more than 100 works — many of them from the artist’s early years.
The “Birth of a Genius” exhibition brings together the best of the Picasso Museum Paris, Laurent Le Bon, the museum’s president told AFP.
Featured works include paintings, sculptures and drawings, and are accompanied by photos of the young Pablo in Barcelona and Paris.
The first Picasso exhibition in China was held in 1983, timed to coincide with a Beijing visit by then French president Francois Mitterrand. Just 33 pieces of art were put on display.
This year’s exhibition, which runs until September 1 at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, focuses on the artist’s first 30 years.
“We have tried to show the great masterpieces like the blue Self Portrait, for example, that hardly ever leave the museum, and display them alongside a more multidisciplinary Picasso,” Le Bon said.
The Spanish artist’s “blue period” from 1901 to 1904, which focused especially on the poor and marginalized, such as prostitutes and drunks, features prominently in the selected works, added exhibition curator Emilia Philippot.
“These are very political subjects in a way,” she said.
Transporting all the works to China brought its own challenges.
The insurers for the works, which are valued at more than 800 million euros ($900 million) insisted that the pieces travel on seven separate planes, the organizers said.

UAE-made fantasy film set to premiere in Venice

The film tells the story of a girl living in a village where female children are sacrificed. (Image Nation)
Updated 22 July 2019

UAE-made fantasy film set to premiere in Venice

DUBAI: A fantasy film made in the UAE, and helmed by a Saudi director, is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival next month.

“Sayidat Al-Bahr,” or “Scales” in English, was created by Image Nation Abu Dhabi and directed by Saudi filmmaker Shahad Ameen.

The film tells the story of Hayat, a young girl living in a village with a tradition of sacrificing female children to mysterious sea-dwelling creatures in the. When her time comes, she decides to break with tradition and forge her own path.

Ameen — known for her short film “Eye & Mermaid,” which premiered at the Dubai Film Festival in 2013 — said that the film is an artistic comment on patriarchal societies.

“’Scales’ tells a visceral story about growing up as a woman in a patriarchal society, offering an allegorical take on a universal theme that will resonate with audiences around the world,” Ameen said in a released statement.

Shot in Oman, the Arab arthouse film is set to premiere as part of the Venice Critics’ Week competition.

In a statement, Ben Ross, chief content officer at Image Nation said, “This nuanced, artistic project embraces film’s power to address important subjects like freedom and belonging.

“’Scales’ is part of Image Nation’s efforts to expand our slate to encompass more intriguing, specialty films alongside our more commercial projects. We foresee that ‘Scales’ will be well-received on the festival circuit. This is a film that brings profound insights into contemporary culture.”

“Scales” stars Basima Hajjar as Hayat, as well as Ashraf Barhom and Fatima Al-Taei. The film was executive produced by Mohamed Al-Daradji and Majid Ansari.

Image Nation called the news a “great milestone” for Arab cinema.

“Great milestone for Arab cinema: Our latest narrative feature ‘Scales’ by Saudi director Shahad Ameen will have its world premiere at the Venice Critics’ Week competition next month — making it the first for our narrative films to premiere in Venice,” Image Nation said in a tweet.

The Venice Film Festival is one of the world’s leading film festivals, having made its debut in 1932. The festival is widely seen as a testing ground for Oscar-contenders, with the final lineup — set to be revealed later this week — including premieres from prestigious filmmakers.