Poignant picture of Lebanese tailor wins prestigious photography award

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Zeinab Khalifeh’s award-winning ‘Am Hasan’ photograph. (Supplied)
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Zeinab Khalifeh, a nurse by profession, was declared winner of ‘Moments’ with her Am Hasan photo, above. (Supplied)
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Wafa Abdulmajeed, a student from Oman, won in the children’s category of the competition. (Supplied)
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Wafa Abdulmajeed from Oman poses with her winning photo of a shopkeeper in Muscat’s Mutrah Souq. (Supplied)
Updated 22 November 2019

Poignant picture of Lebanese tailor wins prestigious photography award

  • Zeinab Khalifeh, a nurse by profession, declared winner of ‘Moments’ at a ceremony in Dubai
  • Organized by National Geographic Abu Dhabi, the competition attracted over 50,000 entries

DUBAI: People often say a picture is worth a thousand words. For Zeinab Khalifeh, a 26-year-old nurse in Lebanon, a photo she took of a tailor and his sewing machine in an old souq in Sidon has proved to be worth a lot more than a thousand words.
At a ceremony on Tuesday at the Youth Hub in Emirates Towers in Dubai, Khalifeh was named one of the two winners of the ninth edition of “Moments,” the Arab world’s prestigious annual photography competition.
Organized by National Geographic Abu Dhabi (NGAD) and Almarai, the competition, which seeks to nurture the talents of aspiring regional photographers, received over 50,000 entries. The winning ones were selected from a shortlist of 90 photos.
Khalifeh, who won in the adult category of the competition, said she saw photography as a way to put the many “forgotten people and places” in her community in focus.
She described the elderly man in the photo as “Am Hasan,” or “Uncle Hasan,” a tailor who plied his trade in the Sidon souq for over 40 years before passing away a few months ago.
Am Hassan, whose age could not be confirmed, was unable to recognize his family members in his final months, but would repeatedly talk about his sewing machine, according to Khalifeh.
“My picture portrays one moment in his 40 years in the souq. Forty years of hope and sadness that he shared with his sewing machine,” Khalifeh told Arab News.
Khalifeh, a self-taught photographer, shot the tailor’s portrait during one of her many trips to the souq, where she often went to practice photography and mingle with the local people.
Recalling how photography became a hobby, Khalifeh said she bought her first camera using her first paycheck. She began to dabble in photography at the age of 21, snapping away on the streets she grew up in.
She read books, watched videos and attended workshops on photography to improve her technical skills and to better understand the art.
“To me, photography is about building a pure connection with people and trying to portray it in one moment,” Khalifeh said.
“I feel like my nursing skills have helped me build this connection with people. Even though I am talking about two different fields, medicine and art, somehow they are connected.”
Also at Tuesday’s ceremony in Dubai, Wafa Abdulmajeed, a 17-year-old-high-school student in Oman, was declared the winner in the children’s category of the “Moments” competition.
Her winning photograph showed a shopkeeper in Muscat’s Mutrah Souq, surrounded by precious stones, rosary beads and traditional daggers.
While visiting the souq with her mother earlier this year, Abdulmajeed snapped the photo of the shopkeeper in a moment of quiet reflection.
Speaking to Arab News, Abdulmajeed said her passion for photography began at a young age and developed after meeting her role model, photographer Steve McCurry, best known for his portrait of the “Afghan Girl.”
“I had only dreamt of meeting him. And when I did, his advice was ‘Go for it’,” she said.
“After that day, I have been taking photos not only during family gatherings but of streets and different aspects of society.”
Abdulmajeed said she hoped to study medicine in university, but intended to keep improving her photography skills.
While the winning entries will be printed in the National Geographic magazine’s Arabic edition, the winners will receive $5,000 worth of photography equipment. They will also be invited to join a 10-day expedition trip worth $10,000, where they will be mentored by National Geographic’s expert photographers.


Quoz Arts Fest returns to Alserkal Avenue featuring regional talents

Quoz Arts Fest is held on Jan. 24 and 25 in the UAE’s Alserkal Avenue. (Supplied)
Updated 24 January 2020

Quoz Arts Fest returns to Alserkal Avenue featuring regional talents

  • During the festival, visitors will be able to bring their creative designs to life on stone or camel leather at the high-end footwear brand Tamashee’s workshop
  • The program includes a free concert by Jordanian-Palestinian band 47Soul, the exhibition “New National Dish: UAE,” Reel Palestine Film Festival screenings, a contemporary dance performance by Sima Dance Company, and much more

DUBAI: More than 60 creatives will lead the two-day Quoz Arts Fest held on Jan. 24 and 25 in the UAE’s Alserkal Avenue, which will feature exhibitions, live music, contemporary dance performances, food trucks, outdoor art installations, film screenings, and educational seminars.

During the festival, visitors will be able to bring their creative designs to life on stone or camel leather at the high-end footwear brand Tamashee’s workshop, which explores the “contemporary application of ancient art and Arabian scripts of the Peninsula.”

Visitors will be able to bring their creative designs to life on stone or camel leather at the high-end footwear brand Tamashee’s workshop. (Supplied)

Tamashee, owned by Saudi entrepreneur Muneera Al Tamimi and Emirati Mohammed Kazim, will give visitors a chance to participate in a 12,000-year-old form of expression at heir activation wall, inspired by their “1441 H” collection, which references archeology, rock art, and ancient inscriptions of the Arabian Peninsula.

In its eighth edition, the festival explores the theme “In Search Of…,” with special programs including a free concert by Jordanian-Palestinian band 47Soul, the exhibition “New National Dish: UAE,” Reel Palestine Film Festival screenings, a contemporary dance performance by Sima Dance Company, and much more.

47Soul, who will take the stage in The Yard, on Jan. 24, combines traditional Dabke music with electronic beats. The band is best-known for creating the Shamstep, a combination of mijwiz–a Levantine folk musical style– and dubstep.

47Soul, who will take the stage in The Yard, on Jan. 24, combines traditional Dabke music with electronic beats. (Supplied)

The “New National Dish: UAE” exhibition presents four imagined proposals for a new Emirati national dish, based on the environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change.

Visitors to the exhibition will get to try the food and discuss the future of popular dishes.

The “New National Dish: UAE” exhibition presents four imagined proposals for a new Emirati national dish, based on the environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change. (Supplied) 

The contemporary dance performance Ansaf, set to take place on Jan. 24, is created by acclaimed Palestinian choreographer Alaa Krimed and explores questions and concepts facing the Arab world.