Libyans rediscovering video art

Updated 13 November 2012

Libyans rediscovering video art

TRIPOLI: Libya’s first video art exhibit proved a hit in Tripoli, drawing scores of spectators in a country emerging from 42 culturally barren years under the regime of slain dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
People from all over the capital flocked to the seaside Old City this month following the itinerary charted by “First Glance,” an outdoor exhibition organized by The Arete Foundation for Arts and Culture, a Libyan initiative.
“Art, music and spectacles were not considered politically correct during the Qaddafi regime,” recalled Abdessalem Fraj, in his 40s, who had never experienced anything other than officially sanctioned art until the strongman’s death in October 2011.
Indeed, such cultural initiatives were a no-go during the previous regime. Qaddafi’s personality cult and the dogma of the “Green Book” defined the narrow boundaries of acceptable artistic expression, crushing any creative initiative.
Poetry and song festivals that praised the mercurial and self-styled “Brother Leader” or the bloodless 1969 coup in which he ousted King Idris I were part of the staple diet. Salaheddin Al-Majerbi, another visitor, reflected that “despite the talent that abounds in Libya, artists could not express themselves or flourish during the 42 years of Qaddafi rule.”
“Any out-of-the-box expression or creative initiative was punishable by imprisonment or even death,” said Majerbi.
The exhibit’s center piece, “Dance of Chaos” by New Zealand’s Mark Pulsford, mirrors human motion and uses computer software to draw with light.
Reem Gibriel, the foundation’s executive director, said the two-day exhibit sought to give people “the chance to enjoy an artistic medium that needs no expertise to grasp its meaning and enjoy its beauty.”


“I wanted spectators to make the most of the exotic atmosphere offered by the Medina,” she added.
Nine screens were installed at five historic points of the walled Old City, or Medina, including the ancient Roman arch of Marcus Aurelius, the Santa Maria church and the Darghut baths.
Guided by red arrows, intrigued visitors strolled from one site to the next, relishing the creations of artists from 14 countries, including Egypt, England and France.
“The purpose of this artistic collaboration is to highlight the art of video as a modern medium that can be used to document a wide range of events and serve as a living memory for the people,” exhibit organizer Khaled Mattawa told AFP.
“This medium helped convey to the world the horrors of the repression carried out by the former regime and the popular uprising against dictatorship,” he said in reference to the 2011 conflict that ousted Qaddafi.
Babacar Mohammed, a student who lives in the the Medina, welcomed the change in mood, saying the “exhibit gives residents a chance to come together and resume civil life after the war.”
His friend, photographer Ahmed Tarhuni, said “we must use this newly found freedom to advance the country’s cultural scene.”
yb/tg/sw/dsg/al


Fans tease Kourtney Kardashian over Arabic playlist

Kourtney Kardashian shared a playlist full of Arabic songs online. (AFP)
Updated 14 October 2019

Fans tease Kourtney Kardashian over Arabic playlist

DUBAI: Twitter users poked fun at US reality television star Kourtney Kardashian’s “Armenian playlist,” which she shared on her website Poosh.com earlier this week, over its mostly Arab music.

Kourtney visited the country with her sister Kim Kardashian, who baptized her children during a visit to their ancestral homeland, Armenia.

After the visit, the reality star took to her website, and her Instagram Stories, to share a specially curated playlist titled “Armenian playlist” — except the head-bopping tunes were mostly Arabic.

While the list did include Armenian music, Kourtney, the eldest of the Kardashian sisters, also had a number of Arabic hits such as “Lolaak Habibi” by Egyptian star Tamer Hosny, “Boshret Kheir” by Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi and “Ya Tabtab Wa Dallaa” by Lebanese sensation Nancy Ajram.

According to her website, “The curation includes a mix of new and classic rap, Arabic pop, and R&B songs she (listened) to on her trip.”

“To be fair she didn’t say it was an ‘Armenian Playlist.’ It’s a playlist for her trip to Armenia. Lord knows my Paris playlist isn’t exclusive to French music,” one fan shared on Twitter.

But other users chose to tease Kardashian over her choice of title.

“When a majority of Kourtney’s Armenian playlist are Arabic songs looooool (sic),” one user tweeted. 

“I laughed at it being called an Armenian playlist when 7/8 of the songs are Arabic,” another Twitter user posted.

Kardashian’s Armenian ancestors on her father’s side emigrated to the US from an area that now lies in Turkey.

The visit was the stars’ first to the nation since a 2015 trip marking the centenary of the mass killings of Armenians that saw her husband give a chaotic, impromptu concert in capital Yerevan.

The sisters were accompanied by Kim’s four children — aged four months to six-years-old. Her elder daughter, North, was baptized in 2015 in the Armenian church in Jerusalem, but joined her siblings in Armenia. Rapper Kanye West, Kim’s husband, was not present at the baptism.

“Thank you Armenia for hosting my family and I in such a memorable trip,” Kim  posted on Instagram at the time. “So blessed to have been baptized along with my babies at Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia’s main cathedral which is sometimes referred to as the Vatican of the Armenian Apostolic Church. This church was built in 303 AD.”

On their visit, Kim gave a speech at the World Congress on Information Technology, where she heaped praise on Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, calling her a “brave and amazing young woman” and said she shared her concerns about climate change.

Talking about plans for her businesses, which include beauty products and shapewear, Kim said she was considering opening a factory and investing in Armenia.

“I'm excited as tonight I have a meeting and I'm gonna talk about future investments and opening up a factory here and how to really bring this (business) to Armenia (sic),” Kim said.