Welcome to Miami: Mideast artists head to Art Basel

'Untitled (Food For Thought series)' by Maha Malluh. (AFP)
Updated 26 November 2018

Welcome to Miami: Mideast artists head to Art Basel

  • The 17th edition Art Basel Miami Beach is set to run from Dec. 6-9
  • It will feature a startling sampling of art from the Middle East

DUBAI: The 17th edition Art Basel Miami Beach is set to run from Dec. 6-9 and will feature a startling sampling of art from the Middle East.

According to organizers, this year’s edition will see 268 galleries and 29 new entrants from 35 countries across North and Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East take part.

The main section of the fair, which is considered one of the key art events on the international calendar, will focus on art from Latin America, with certain galleries paying tribute to the Middle East.

Beirut-based Sfeir-Semler Gallery is gearing up to showcase mixed media works by Lebanese artists Etel Adnan, Walid Raad and Rayyane Tabet, according to Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. The gallery will also show off work by Egyptian artist Wael Shawky and Moroccan creative talent Yto Barrada.
 

Meanwhile, the art fair’s Nova section will present new works from around the world, including a video installation by Iraqi artist Hiwa K, set to be showcased by Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani. Tunis’s Selma Feriani Gallery will present a series of works by Saudi artist Maha Malluh. The contemporary Saudi artist focuses her work on the impact of globalization and consumer culture in the Kingdom. Her sculptures often include bric-a-brac collected from junk shops and flea markets and she has been known to work with cassette tapes, dog-eared dishes and long-discarded cooking pots. A creation entitled “Al-Muallaqat” was one of the first pieces to be showcased in the contemporary section of the Louvre Abu Dhabi — an eyebrow-raising sculpture consisting of a set of hefty, black-bottomed pots hung on a white wall.
 

Another popular artist whose early work will be showcased at the fair — in the Survey section — is Monir Farmanfarmaian, who is known for her mirrored mosaics. At 94 years old, the Iranian artist has had her work featured in several of the world’s leading museums, including Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Guggenheim in New York and London’s Tate Modern.

It’s an event that attracts the who’s who of the art industry — an ideal platform to show off Middle Eastern creativity on the world stage.

 


Film Review: ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ plays on novelty

The jungle gets more challenging and the game scarier in ‘Jumanji: The Next Level.’ (Supplied)
Updated 15 December 2019

Film Review: ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ plays on novelty

CHENNAI: The remake of the 1996 film “Jumanji” landed in 2017, with an alluring title “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” could be described as sequel of sorts after 22 years. It was a high-octave adventure set in a virtual world, with four teens getting into it through a video game in a drawing room. Each sank into a character from the game, proving a super hit with children and adults, letting their imaginations run riot and indulging in the fantasies they had always desired.

“Jumanji: The Next Level” makes it a trilogy. The jungle gets more challenging and the game scarier. For director Jake Kasdan and co-writers Jeff Pinker and Scott Rosenberg, these alone may not have been enough to avoid franchise boredom. So they add more to their latest plot by giving new avatars to some of the characters, and adding two new ones, played by the brilliant Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, who portray estranged business partners, Eddie and Milo.

The starting point is a breakup between asthmatic Spencer (Alex Wolff) and the sweet Martha (Morgan Turner). While their friends, football player Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and forever online Bethany (Madison Iseman) are living it up, Spencer is depressed, and in a moment of weakness, decides to play the game, plunging into Jumanji. When his friends find out, they realize he cannot get out by himself and follow him, leaving Bethany behind, and taking Eddie and Milo.

A good part of the film’s freshness comes with the twist it throws up: Some of the virtual characters from the 2017 adventure take on different avatars. Spencer wanted to become the strong and suave Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) from the previous adventure, but is transformed into pickpocket/cat-burglar Awkwafina. And Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie, gets to be Smolder, with Johnson impersonating DeVito to much hilarity.

The film can be confusing, and the storytelling is somewhat sloppy, but the acting is good and the charisma shines through. The special effects are top-notch, turning the 3D imagery into a thrilling canvas. An undulating desert and African medinas add a touch of the exotica to this virtual wonder.