Tutankhamun world tour sparks debate among antiquities experts

Tutankhamun world tour sparks debate among antiquities experts
German specialists in restoration work on antiquities in glass and metal Christian Eckmann works on the restoration process of the golden mask of Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 18 February 2018

Tutankhamun world tour sparks debate among antiquities experts

Tutankhamun world tour sparks debate among antiquities experts

CAIRO: Plans to embark on a worldwide tour to showcase 166 artifacts belonging to Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun set for next month have sparked a debate among antiquities experts, a news report said Sunday.
The exhibition is scheduled to tour seven foreign countries, starting from Los Angeles in the United States on March 23 and will continue over the next 7 years, Egypt Antiquities Minister Khalid Al-Anani said.
The exhibition includes 166 artifacts, excluding the basic pieces of Tutankhamun, Anani added. The full collection of Tutankhamun contains about 5,000 pharaonic pieces, he explained, which are scheduled to be displayed at the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum by the end of this year.
Egypt’s Heritage Task Force said that the duration of the overseas show is 7 years, and it is expected to generate close to $50mn.
But academics and scholars from within and outside the Antiquities Ministry are reportedly campaigning against the exhibition over concerns the monuments may be falsified, stolen or replaced.
A Facebook page has been created to call on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to intervene and open an investigation into the exhibition.
Monika Hanna, a member of the campaign, called the exhibition a “catastrophe,” according to Al-Masry El-Youm newspaper.
She said the law of archaeological artifacts allows the rental of duplicates, not originals, and leasing to scientific bodies or museums, not private companies as per the terms of this contract.
She noted that the “insurance value of the golden coffin of Tutankhamun is low,” amounting to only $5 million, and said the company may pay it to Egypt and claim it was stolen.
She expressed concern over the fact that the monuments will remain outside Egypt for 7 years, and wondered if the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum will be delayed until that time.
Gharib Sonbol, Head of the Central Administration for Restoration and a member of the Foreign Exhibitions Committee, said that an imprint was prepared for all the artifacts that are scheduled to travel to ensure that the pieces will not falsified or replaced.


French-Algerian singer Lolo Zouai slams Nick Jonas on Twitter

The French-Algerian singer called out Nick Jonas in a series of Tweets. File/Instagram
The French-Algerian singer called out Nick Jonas in a series of Tweets. File/Instagram
Updated 02 March 2021

French-Algerian singer Lolo Zouai slams Nick Jonas on Twitter

The French-Algerian singer called out Nick Jonas in a series of Tweets. File/Instagram

DUBAI: French-Algerian pop singer Lolo Zouai has taken to her official Twitter account to call out Nick Jonas for allegedly copying her song “Jade” in a series of Tweets.

Zouai posted a comparison of the first few seconds of Jonas’s newest single “Spaceman” and her song “Jade,” featuring Blood Orange, to hint at the supposed similarities.

Both songs feature warped keys in the beginning. 

“Remember when u flew me out to LA to sign me then ghosted me (sic)” the artist wrote, alongside three cry-laughing emojis. 

Based on the 25-year-old’s tweet, fans were able to deduce that her hit single that catapulted her into fame “High Highs to Low Lows” was partly inspired by Jonas.

“Is that what ‘High Highs to Low Lows’ was written about!?” asked one user, prompting her to respond: “It’s a part of it yes.”

Another fan responded to her Tweet: “Not High Highs to Low Lows being about Nick Jonas I-” 

“Not fully,” replied Zouai. “Don’t give him that much credit! Trust me there r many shady people out here (sic).”

In the song lyrics for “High Highs to Low Lows,” Zouai croons: “Ooh, you wanna help me/Ooh, you wanna fly me out to LA/Dreams you wanna sell me I took a bite/ that’s a gold plate, a gold plate/Timing, he said it’s just bad timing/Lying, all I got from you was silence.”

She also posted a screenshot of a blank iMessage text conversation directed towards the former Jonas Brothers star. “Should I do it?” she asked her 27.6 followers. 

It’s uncertain if she ever did.


Netflix’s new show ‘The Big Day’ is far from reality

‘The Big Day’ is now streaming on Netflix. Supplied
‘The Big Day’ is now streaming on Netflix. Supplied
Updated 02 March 2021

Netflix’s new show ‘The Big Day’ is far from reality

‘The Big Day’ is now streaming on Netflix. Supplied

BANGALORE: Think “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Bling Empire,” “Indian Matchmaking,” and now, “The Big Day.” It would seem that Netflix wants viewers to know that the rich Asian is here to stay, with its new production about India’s multibillion-dollar wedding industry.

The Conde Nast India reality series follows couples as they embark on over-the-top marriage events orchestrated by luxury wedding planners for a rich Indian clientele.

Three 40-minute episodes – each featuring two couples – focuses on the themes of connecting with roots, questioning age-old rituals, and love triumphing over all.

The premise of the show is the rise of an Indian millennial generation that is going against the grain – be it in the choice of a partner, opting for a sustainable wedding, or having a priestess officiate the marriage ceremony.

And it is not only limited to the festivities of the big day; this generation is ready to explore who they are and what they need out of relationships.

Three 40-minute episodes focuses on the themes of connecting with roots, questioning age-old rituals and love triumphing over all. Supplied

Equality in marriage is a common theme through the series – a concept that a patriarchal society such as India still grapples with. Only recently, regional film “The Great Indian Kitchen” was lauded for shining light on gender inequality in Indian marriages.

The redeeming moments in the show come by way of baby boomer parents admitting that commitment is far above rituals and societal pressures that Indian society is so entangled in, even in this day and age.

There are couples who challenge the power dynamics of the great Indian wedding: Why should the groom’s family have absolute power and say, and why is being a headstrong woman with a take-charge attitude considered a bad thing? The couples question age-old rituals and beliefs and retain whatever makes sense to them.

Unfortunately, the modern messages are drowned out by the ostentatious and blatant display of wealth, complete with life-size Faberge eggs and Victorian-themed parties.

It is a glaring privilege that lets the nouveau-riche choose a wedding venue or a partner – a vast majority of the subcontinent does not have that simple privilege. And it is this sad reality that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.      


Egyptian singer Fatma Said nominated for BBC Music Magazine award

 Egyptian singer Fatma Said nominated for BBC Music Magazine award
Updated 02 March 2021

Egyptian singer Fatma Said nominated for BBC Music Magazine award

 Egyptian singer Fatma Said nominated for BBC Music Magazine award

DUBAI: Egyptian singer Fatma Said has been nominated for the BBC Music Magazine’s 2021 Vocal Award for her debut album “El-Nour,” the music sensation announced on Instagram this week.

“I am excited and honored to learn that I am nominated for the BBC Music Magazine’s 2021 Vocal Award alongside wonderful artists that I admire and look up to,” she wrote captioning the announcement picture released by the BBC. 

She is competing against Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski’s album “Mahler,” as well as French pianist Alexandre Tharaud and operatic soprano Sabine Devieilhe for their album “Chanson d’Amour.”

In “El-Nour,” which she released in June 2020, she sings some of the most famous Arabic songs like “Sahar El-Layali” by renowned Lebanese singer Fairouz and “Yamama Beida,” an Egyptian folk song composed by Dawoud Hosny in the late 19th century. 

In a post she shared on Instagram upon the release of her album, the musician said: “My debut album ‘El-Nour,’ (the light) in Arabic, has been years in the making. With it, I want to explore how music that has been interpreted many times can be presented in different ways, in a different light.”

It connects three cultures and languages – Arabic, French, and Spanish – and shows how much, despite cultural, geographical, and historical differences, they have in common musically,” she added.⠀ 

Over her career, Said has shared the stage with renowned musicians such as Leo Nucci from Italy, Rolando Villazón from Mexico, Juan Diego Florez from Peru, Michael Schade from Canada and Jose Cura from Argentina. 

She also performed recitals with German clarinetist Sabine Meyer and British pianists such as Malcom Martineau, Roger Vignoles, Joseph Middleton.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in music from Berlin’s Hanns Eisler School of Music in 2013, Said was awarded a scholarship to study at the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala in Milan, becoming the first Egyptian soprano to perform on that iconic stage. 

In the past years she has won several major singing competitions including the 8th Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in Dublin, the 7th Leyla Gencer International Opera Competition in Istanbul, the second prize at the 16th International Robert Schumann Lied Competition in Zwickau and the Grand Prix at the 1st Giulio Perotti International Opera Competition in Germany. 


The theme ‘Hope’ unites artists at the Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival

The entry to the Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival. Supplied
The entry to the Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival. Supplied
Updated 02 March 2021

The theme ‘Hope’ unites artists at the Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival

The entry to the Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival. Supplied

DUBAI: It is rare these days to stage a large-scale art exhibition. With coronavirus restrictions still in place displaying art to the public continues to be a challenge. Yet outdoors amidst the desert sands and old Emirati edifices of the historic Al-Jazirah Al-Hamra Heritage village in the UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah, an exhibition of more than 130 artworks — including art, photography, films and sculpture by artists from around 50 countries — proved it was possible. The display marks the ninth edition of the Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival (RAKFAF), which runs until April 3.

Befitting these uncertain times, the festival is titled “Hope.”

In a world that is rapidly changing due to new technologies, climate change and urbanization, how can hope inspire art and vice versa? The works on display explore such questions, pondering the importance of human connection, the natural landscape, our struggles and what we have learned from the pandemic.

The Jebel Jais mini satellite exhibition. Supplied

“The Festival theme ‘Hope’ actually came about before the pandemic. In the year of the UAE's 50th anniversary, we wanted to explore how contemporary art can help us reflect on the past and inspire our future,” Suqrat bin Bisher, festival director, told Arab News. “Nevertheless, the pandemic’s effect on society and our collective consciousness is a part of that future, so of course, many artists were inspired by their experiences during these times.”

Emirati artists on show include Azza Al-Nuaimi, Nuwair Al-Hejari, Amani Al-Mansoori and Maryam Al-Mansoori, alongside the notable names of the Gulf, such as Awatif Al-Safwan, Gheed Ashor and Om Kaithoom Al-Alawi from Saudi Arabia, Esraa Al-Enzi and Lamia Ghareeb from Kuwait, Bahrain’s Perryhan Elashmaw and Oman’s Abullah Al-Blooshi. Further reflecting the theme are artworks of birds and feathers by the US Embassy’s special guest artist Robert Clark, a National Geographic Magazine award-wining photographer.

Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival exhibition sites. Supplied

Among the highlights is Emirati photographer Nuwair Al Hejari’s poignant photograph Harvest, which was shot in the Bidya desert in Oman last year and depicts men collecting a bountiful harvest that will bring good tidings for the rest of the year. There is also Emirati graphic designer Azza Al Nuaimi’s retro seventies style portrayal of Al Jazirah Al Hamra’s infrastructure, particularly of how the buildings appear to transform between sunrise and sunset.

There are also the captivating photographs of Emirati conceptual artist and photographer Faisal Al Rais. Strongly influenced by the

work of American street photographer Vivian Maier, Al Rais’s work attempts to deconstruct the mundane aspects of everyday life. One work in particular, Dreamer (2020) stands out and explores the endless imagination of children. One young boy leans out of a car window in contemplation, perhaps dreaming of what his life will one day be.

This year, the festival takes place in two new locations: the viewing platform at the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Jais, and Al Marjan Island’s serene Open Park. It also partners for the first time with Art Dubai and The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi.


Pieces of Dubai-based artist Sacha Jafri’s record-breaking artwork can now be yours

Pieces from “The Journey of Humanity” are now on display at the Leila Heller Gallery located in Dubai’s Al-Serkal Avenue. Instagram
Pieces from “The Journey of Humanity” are now on display at the Leila Heller Gallery located in Dubai’s Al-Serkal Avenue. Instagram
Updated 02 March 2021

Pieces of Dubai-based artist Sacha Jafri’s record-breaking artwork can now be yours

Pieces from “The Journey of Humanity” are now on display at the Leila Heller Gallery located in Dubai’s Al-Serkal Avenue. Instagram

DUBAI: Dubai-based British artist Sacha Jafri recently broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s “Largest Art Canvas,” and now the incredible work can be yours– or at least a portion of it.

The acclaimed artist is selling off 70 individual, framed sections of the artwork, titled “The Journey of Humanity,” at an auction, in a bid to raise $30 million for Humanity Inspired, a non-profit which funds charitable initiatives in the educational, digital, connectivity, healthcare and sanitation sectors.

Scaling over 17,000 square feet, Jafri has been working on the painting since March at Dubai’s 5-star Atlantis The Palm.

It took him seven months, 20 hours a day, to complete it. He used 1,065 paint brushes and a whopping 6,300 liters of paint to create the artwork.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sacha Jafri (@sachajafri)

The artwork consists of the artist’s own handiwork layered over submissions by children from around the world. 

Jafri invited these children to share their original creations inspired by effects of the pandemic on them, notably on isolation and connection. 

The official unveiling of the painting took place last month at Dubai’s Atlantis The Palm. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sacha Jafri (@sachajafri)

“The Royal Unveiling of ‘The Journey of Humanity,’” Jafri said on Instagram sharing a series of photos with Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahayan at the unveiling. “So honored to have His Highness with us on the night, and The Royal Family of Abu Dhabi, Dubai & The UAE supporting this incredible project.”

Pieces from “The Journey of Humanity” are now on display at the Leila Heller Gallery located in Dubai’s Al-Serkal Avenue.