Art exhibition marries Egyptian and Saudi ‘Faces and Places’

Ismat Dawstashi opening his exhibition — ‘Faces and Places’ — which showcases the works of over 60 artists, both Egyptian and Saudi Arabian. (AN photo)
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Updated 09 January 2020

Art exhibition marries Egyptian and Saudi ‘Faces and Places’

  • ‘Faces and Places’ houses the work of over 60 artists, both Egyptian and Saudi Arabian
  • The exhibition is located in the Giza suburb of Cairo, and is the result of a three-week workshop held at the gallery

CAIRO: Dai Gallery is currently hosting “Faces and Places,” a fine arts exhibition, which showcases the works of a number of talented artists from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The exhibition is located in the Giza suburb of Cairo, and is the result of a three-week workshop held at the gallery.

“Faces and Places” houses the work of over 60 artists, both Egyptian and Saudi Arabian.

It is part of Ismat Dawstashi’s launch of his book “Portrait.” Dawstashi worked as a director for the Ministry of Culture in Egypt, as well as in the museum of Mahmoud Said, one of Egypt’s finest 20th century artists. 

Dawstashi studied at the School of Fine Arts in Alexandria, and his work has been showcased in various locations across the Middle East and in Europe.

Dawstashi gave himself the title “Enlightened Dada,” since his surrealist work took inspiration from the early 20th century art movement. Dawstashi’s “Portrait” tackles the issue of the self-portrait and contains over 150 studies of Dawstashi himself, drawn by other artists.

The exhibition lasts three weeks following opening night on Dec. 28.

Talal Zahid, a major sponsor of Saudi and Egyptian fine arts, said the launching of the book was seen as an opportunity to bring together artists of different backgrounds and cultures to exchange experiences, and strengthen the relationship between both nations.

Zahid explained that when a large number of artists are involved in such a project, a competitive spirit is born which pushes each artist to deliver his or her best work.

The exhibition showcases a merging between two cultures. The Saudi artists were inspired by the environment they lived in, and hence delivered works that married both cultures into one.

Artists who took part in the exhibition include Ebada El-Zohairy, Khaled Ameer, Taher Abdel-Azeem and Yara Hassan.

“The pioneering artist Ismat Dawstashi believed that faces just get more beautiful every time we look at them,” Hisham Kandil, chairman of the board of directors of Arab Atelier of Culture and Arts at Dai Gallery, said.


Lebanese luxury soap brand sees boost in sales amid pandemic

Updated 27 May 2020

Lebanese luxury soap brand sees boost in sales amid pandemic

DUBAI: In 1999, Syrian-Palestinian fragrance connoisseur Hana Debs Akkari pursued her passion project in Lebanon by founding a sophisticated soap company called “Senteurs d’Orient,” or “Fragrances of the East” in French.

Akkari envisioned that her handcrafted soaps would symbolize the beloved floral essences of the Middle East, particularly the Levant, which is reportedly the world’s oldest soap-making region.

With the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Akkari’s small, family-run luxury soap business has witnessed an increased demand in their natural products nearly twenty years since its founding.

Portrait of Sarah Akkari, CEO of Senteurs d’Orient. (Supplied)

“Since the pandemic was declared, we saw a spike in our online sales,” said Lebanese-Canadian and New Yorked-based Sarah Akkari, Hana’s daughter and CEO of Senteurs d’Orient, to Arab News. “People are washing their hands more often, and their hands are becoming drier as a consequence. So, they’re also looking for a natural soap, such as the ones we offer. Our antibacterial soaps are packed with different nourishing ingredients like glycerin, Shea butter and Vitamin E.”

Operating from Lebanon, Senteurs d’Orient’s factory is run by a diligent team of chemists and artisans, many of whom are women as female education and empowerment in the workforce is at the heart of the company’s ethos.

Engraving soaps at the Lebanon factory. (Supplied)

After mixing the chemical-free ingredients by hand, the soaps are air-dried for 10 ten days and later machine-molded and carefully hand-wrapped. True to the company’s name, the delicate floral scents of gardenia, jasmine, tuberose, and rose of Damascus draw their inspiration from eastern gardens.

To show support for the selfless medical workers, some of whom reached out to Akkari and expressed interest in Senteurs d’Orient’s soaps, she recently donated nearly 500 packages to doctors and nurses from four American hospitals — two in Los Angeles, one in New York and another in New Jersey.

Each package is an ‘Oriental Trio Box’, containing three bars of soap, the shapes and engravings of which are inspired by the decoration of ‘maamoul’, the Levant region’s quintessential pastry.

“When you’re facing this type of crisis and you’re receiving emails from doctors and nurses or anyone on the frontlines, it’s a not a request you can reject,” explained the 32-year-old entrepreneur. “It’s something that we really wanted to be part of and it brought us much satisfaction knowing we could contribute in this way.”

The company has expanded its international presence and line of therapeutic products, creating bath salts, multi-purpose oils and thinly sliced, single-use soap leaves. (Supplied)

Under the leadership of Akkari, the company has expanded its international presence and line of therapeutic products, creating Mediterranean orange blossom bath salts, multi-purpose oils and thinly sliced, single-use soap leaves of amber and tea flower.

It is the authenticity of Senteurs d’Orient’s products that Akkari hopes will come through.

“You feel the fragrance is coming straight from the flower,” she said.