Spoken word artist makes herself at home in the Middle East

Danabelle Gutierrez at Louvre Abu Dhabi, where she appeared last month. (Supplied)
Updated 03 December 2018

Spoken word artist makes herself at home in the Middle East

  • Danabelle Gutierrez emphasized how the UAE has been instrumental for her as an artist.
  • She has published two poetry books while living in Dubai and is soon releasing a third book

DUBAI: “I've been a vagabond for far too long now. I can't keep navigating the rough terrains in the land of men. I would like to set my bags down now. I want to go home,” reads a passage from a prose written by Danabelle Gutierrez, a Dubai-based Filipino writer who has found her home in the UAE’s cultural oasis.

Gutierrez settled in Dubai more than a decade ago after moving between five different cities – Manila, Vienna, Oman, Cairo and Doha – a transient life, which according to her, has informed her art.

“I’ve been moving from country to country since I was 7 years old, I bring every city that I’ve lived in, and at some point, called home, with me, and it’s evident in my work, the imagery is all over the poetry,” she said.

“I have lived here for nearly 15 years, and it’s the longest that I’ve stayed anywhere,” she added.

Although Gutierrez admitted that she’s only in the country “for as long my job allows me to be here,” she emphasized how the UAE has been instrumental for her as an artist.

She has published two poetry books while living in Dubai and is soon releasing a third book, which she said would deal “a lot with the idea of home and this somehow nomadic existence.”

In 2014, Gutierrez started going to spoken word gigs, sitting in the audience. But after attending three open mic events, she finally stood up and performed her poems, which usually tackle raw human emotions, drawn from her own experiences.

Four years later, Gutierrez’s audience got bigger, as she was handpicked to perform at Louvre Abu Dhabi in early November, a gig she described as the best thing that happened to her career.

“It’s still not my favorite thing to do. I only do it because I want to be fair to the work that I’ve written, and poetry is meant to be read,” she said.

Gutierrez wishes to write and publish more books in the future, while also regularly attending spoken word events.

Gutierrez will be appearing as part of the fourth annual Hekayah at the East Plaza in New York University Abu Dhabi on Dec. 5, along with nine other award-winning spoken word artists. 


Regional brands join the fight against breast cancer

Updated 20 October 2020

Regional brands join the fight against breast cancer

DUBAI: October is breast cancer awareness month and in light of this, a number of regional labels are showing their support by way of charitable initiatives that see a portion of the proceeds of their sales being donated to different organizations.

Among those brands is the rising Saudi label Honayda. “To all the women who have fought breast cancer  and to those who are still fighting it, you are champions,” wrote the brand’s designer Honayda Serafi on Instagram, adding that she has joined the #PinkMovement initiative to help spread awareness about breast cancer and to remind women to routinely get check-ups for early detection.

Bahrain-based label Noon by Noor, which was founded by cousins Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa have curated “The Pink Edit” on the brand’s website, which features a selection of draped gowns, tunics, T-shirts, trousers and cropped jackets in varying shades of rose. 

The edit was launched in collaboration with Think Pink, a breast cancer society in Bahrain. Shoppers are invited to purchase their favorite rose-tinted pieces throughout the month of October, with 10 percent of proceeds going to Think Pink. 

Also raising awareness about the disease and the benefits of early detection is Kuwaiti accessories label Marzook. The handbag brand, which is known for its over-the-top, orb-shaped clutches, is offering 15 percent off on all of the pink-hued Marzook bags on their website and donating to support various giveback programs. 

“In celebration of breast cancer awareness month, Marzook wants to take the opportunity this month to celebrate survivors and their loved ones and raise awareness around the importance of early detection and screening,” wrote the brand on Instagram. 

Featured products include a crystal-embellished pink clutch, a crystal orb bag and a lucid, circular purse among others.

Other fashion and beauty brands continuing their efforts to support the cause and put a spotlight on the issue include the likes of Ralph Lauren, Estée Lauder and Beautyblender, among others, by launching products, capsule collections and pop-up shops to donate funds to organizations such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.