Amr Diab is the first Arab artist to get his very own Times Square billboard

Amr Diab is the first Arab musical artist to get his face plastered on a Spotify billboard in New York City’s iconic Times Square. (Supplied)
Updated 12 November 2019

Amr Diab is the first Arab artist to get his very own Times Square billboard

  • Amr Diab is the first Arab artist to appear on a Spotify billboard in Times Square
  • The move is a bid to promote the music and culture of the Middle East and North Africa

DUBAI: Amr Diab is the first Arab musical artist to get his face plastered on a Spotify billboard in New York City’s iconic Times Square. 

The streaming giant projected a smiling portrait of the Egyptian crooner in one of the most-visited landmarks in the Big Apple in a bid to promote the music and culture of the Middle East and North Africa.

“Today we are celebrating Diab’s legacy and we are proud to see him shine so brightly - literally - on the global stage,” says Claudius Boller, Managing Director, Spotify Middle East and Africa in an official press statement. 

According to Spotify, the legendary singer’s music is most streamed in the United States, followed by Sweden, Germany, the UK and Canada.

His album “Nour el-Ain” (Our Eyes Beam) brought him global success and earned him the title of “The Father of Mediterranean Music” for his style of blending Egyptian and western rhythms. 

Diab received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Big Apple Music Awards in 2009. At the 2014 World Music Awards, Diab was also awarded Best Egyptian Artist, Best Male Arab Artist, and World’s Best Arab Male Artist Voted Online.

He was also one of the first artists to headline a concert in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the Saudia E-Prix in 2018. He was part of a superstar lineup that included the likes of Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo, the Black Eyed Peas, One Republic and David Guetta. 

The 58-year-old singer is set to take the stage of the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre in Jan. 20, 2020. 


Art Dubai 2020: Why the Mideast’s leading art fair is turning to Africa 

An example of work by Kenyan artist Longinos Nagila, whose art will be at Art Dubai 2020. (Supplied) 
Updated 12 December 2019

Art Dubai 2020: Why the Mideast’s leading art fair is turning to Africa 

  • The artworks feature a selection of 55 galleries that aim to further the fair’s focus on expanding conversations beyond traditional art production centers
  • The 2020 edition will include 21 first-time exhibitors from Nigeria, Sudan and Vietnam

DUBAI: Art Dubai returns for its 14th edition in from March 25-28, 2020, with a fair that continues to build off Dubai’s pivotal location between South Asia, East Africa, and the Gulf, bringing together global perspectives from geographies often overlooked in the realm of international contemporary art. Next year’s edition presents 90 galleries from 38 countries, including 21 first-time exhibitors from Nigeria, Sudan and Vietnam.

Artist Hamra Abbas will present her work at the gallery. (Supplied) 

Artworks will be displayed across four gallery sections, including Art Dubai Contemporary, featuring a selection of 55 galleries that aim to further the fair’s focus on expanding conversations beyond traditional art production centers; Residents, curated by Johannesburg-based Kabelo Malatsie, which will focus on the African continent; Art Dubai Modern, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath presenting solo presentations by modern masters from the MENASA region; and Bawwaba, which means “gateway” in Arabic and is curated by Mumbai-based curator Nancy Adajania and showcases solo presentations by artists from, based in, and or focused on projects about the Middle East, Africa, Central, South and Southeast Asia and Latin America.

All eyes are on contemporary art from Africa and Art Dubai’s new focus for its Residents section, which showcases solo presentations from invited galleries whose artists have partaken in a UAE-based art residency, further affirms this statement. “The curatorial intervention in this year’s Residents will be looking at geometry and pattern,” Malatsie told Arab News. “Our perception of the world follows a logic that is learnt through various institutional and societal norms. The curatorial intervention will use institutional and individual norms to make biases and learnt perceptions visible to those coming to the exhibition.”

Grosvenor Gallery will be at Art Dubai. (Supplied)

This year, Residents will feature presentations of African Masters positioned alongside emerging artists from across the continent, including Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa and Sudan. The section will include London and Addis Ababa-based Addis Fine Art, exhibiting the work of Ethiopian artist Daniela Yohannes, Circle Art Gallery from Nairobi featuring the work of Kenyan artist Longinos Nagila, Accra-based Gallery 1957 presenting the work of Ghanaian artist Gideon Appah and SMAC with branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Stellenbosch, featuring the work of Wallen Mapondera from Zimbabwe amongst others.

“There is a natural progression in representation of art from the African continent at Art Dubai,” said Pablo del Val, the fair’s artistic director, to Arab News. “There are cultural and aesthetic connections that reflect in local social sensibilities and ideas and a significant community of African collectors based in Dubai. These relationships ensure that the art is contextualized, making it more powerful than if art from Africa were treated as an exception.”