Dubai hosts ‘Moving Museum’ in its backyard

Updated 21 March 2013

Dubai hosts ‘Moving Museum’ in its backyard

The Middle East is emerging as the next favorite destination to hold exquisite art shows from around the world.
One such art project is “The Moving Museum” co-founded by Aya Mousawi and Simon Sakhai in 2011 that debuted at DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center) on Monday. It’s a complete traveling program of contemporary art exhibitions and events in different cities across the world. Evolving the traditional museum model, this new approach responds directly to the changing global nature of the contemporary art world today. Though the concept is quite unique in its own way, what it offers to take in is priceless. Its sole aim is clearly defined leaving no scope for criticism and otherwise.
“We are living in an age where it’s considered highly imperative to share one’s ideas and information at a fast-clip. More or less, it has become our way of life now. Even if our cultural senses are being shaped by this phenomenon, there is no denying that an artwork is still something that one prefers to experience in person to be able to recognize its real worth," Mousawi saids. “We thought this nomadic format will help us to catch up with the times as well as allow us to offer a service that brings not just the ideas but the artworks to people’s doorsteps.”
Keeping its theme close to neutral, the exhibition will have no particular themes as such. Since it’s titled as “Tectonic,” the show will be highlighting the vast changes that contemporary art has undergone through 24 of the world’s most innovative voices known to be well-versed in it. Some of the most popular ones participating are Jeremy Deller, Ali Banisadr, Michael Rakowitz, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, Eddie Peake, Slavs and Tatars, Ryan Gander, and Liz Magic Laser. “
Each work will look different from one another as well as showcase the artists’ ground-breaking styles they are pioneering in the field of contemporary art. Besides, it’s a great opportunity for Dubai to welcome these most urgent international artistic talents whose works have never been exhibited in this city before," Sakhai said. “They all have unbeatable charisma.”
Perhaps, Dubai was on their radar from the start as they were looking for a place in the region where the cosmopolitan cultures intermingle so effortlessly. “We chose Dubai as our first destination because it is emerging as an important hub for cultural dialogue. This city has arguably one of the most progressive and interesting audiences in the Gulf plus boasts a rich and grassroots arts scene. We really wanted to capture this large audience with our various programs like film screenings, seminars, artworks, talks and interventions. In fact, it’s an amalgam of eccentric creativity. Yet, Dubai lacks a contemporary art museum. It doesn’t have a central institution to nurture such ideas. And this is where our initiative can help connect people of the city to a new cultural revolution," explains co-founder Mousawi.
Adding to this, Sakhai said: “Dubai has been a global hotspot for over a decade now attracting the region’s best talents in all sectors. In fact, these young minds are the ones whom we are planning to influence because of their enormous contributions to changing the face of the Middle East.”

Asked whether this show will be Dubai-centric on the whole, Mousawi said, “Each artist is presenting their solo works keeping in mind that what they display conforms to the changing landscape of the city. For this, we have been collaborating with the artists for a year now.”
Let’s take the art work of Michael Rakowitz for instance, who “will be bringing to life one of his favorite creations known as 'Enemy Kitchen' with a different name altogether — Dar Al-Sulh, or Domain of Conciliation. The whole set-up of it revolves around a pop-up restaurant that will serve his grandmother’s cooking recipes at Traffic (a non-profit arts space) which is located in the heart of the industrial area “Al-Quoz.”
The other thing that has everybody guessing is related to its peculiar name “The Moving Museum” which Mousawi justified by saying, “First and foremost, it’s not a traditional museum bound by curatorial opinions. Rather, it’s a moving institution where art evolves and brings together the artists and the audience together to share their thoughts in an equally open space.”
Its message is loud and clear. It aims to reach people far and wide in order to make them understand the importance of contemporary art. “The Moving Museum is a registered not-for-profit organization with social and educational objectives at its core. That’s why we feel strongly that there is an ethical and transparent way of engaging the commercial side of the art world," the organizers said.
For art enthusiasts, it’s a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to buy the works of their most loved artists as their influential works of art have been assigned to go on sale. From here, this mega show will be organized in Venice and London in the upcoming months.

Film review: Great storytelling makes for fascinating watch in Netflix’s ‘Yeh Ballet’

“Yeh Ballet” is no rags-to-riches story, but one of sheer fortitude and a bit of luck. (Supplied)
Updated 24 February 2020

Film review: Great storytelling makes for fascinating watch in Netflix’s ‘Yeh Ballet’

CHENNAI: Sooni Taraporevala gained immense fame by writing for Mira Nair’s films, such as “The Namesake,” “Mississippi Masala” and the Oscar-nominated “Salaam Bombay.” In 2009, Taraporevala stepped behind the camera to helm a small movie called “Little Zizou” about the Parsi community. It was a hit, and three years ago, she took up the camera again to create a virtual reality short documentary about two boys from Mumbai’s slums who became renowned ballet dancers. 

Taraporevala converted her documentary into a full-length feature, “Yeh Ballet,” for Netflix, and the work, though with a somewhat documentary feel, is fascinating storytelling — a talent we have seen in her writings for Nair. 

Happily, “Yeh Ballet” is no rags-to-riches story (of the kind “Gully Boy” was), but one of sheer fortitude and a bit of luck. The film begins with a breathtaking aerial shot of the Arabian Ocean on whose shores Mumbai stands — an element that points toward the director’s background as a photographer. 

The film chronicles the lives of Nishu and Asif Beg. (Supplied) 

A story inspired by true events, “Yeh Ballet” chronicles the lives of Nishu (Manish Chauhan) and Asif Beg (newcomer Achintya Bose). The two lads are spotted by a ballet master, Saul Aaron (British actor Julian Sands) who, driven away from America because of his religion, lands in a Mumbai dance school.

Nishu and Asif, despite their nimble-footed ballet steps, find their paths paved with the hardest of obstacles. When foreign scholarships from famous ballet academies come calling, they cannot get a visa because they have no bank accounts. And while Asif’s father, dictated by his religion, is dead against the boy’s music and dancing, Nishu’s dad, a taxi driver, feels that his son’s passion is a waste of time and energy.

Well, all this ends well — as we could have guessed — but solid writing and imaginative editing along with Ankur Tewari’s curated music and the original score by Salvage Audio Collective turn “Yeh Ballet” into a gripping tale. It is not an easy task to transform a documentary into fiction, but Taraporevala does it with great ease. Or so it appears. Of course, the two protagonists add more than a silver lining to a movie that will be long remembered — the way we still mull over “Salaam Bombay” or “The Namesake.” But what I missed was a bit more ballet; the two guys are just wonderful to watch as they fly through the air.