Syrian artists memorialize George Floyd in war-torn country

Syrian artists memorialize George Floyd in war-torn country
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Updated 02 June 2020

Syrian artists memorialize George Floyd in war-torn country

Syrian artists memorialize George Floyd in war-torn country

DUBAI: In the past few weeks, people across the world have been protesting against police brutality and to honor George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others who have lost their lives at the hands of police.

Syrian artists Aziz Asmar and Anis Hamdoun decided to show solidarity to the protestors and Black Lives Matter movement  by painting a powerful mural of Floyd against the backdrop of Idlib’s ruins. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ghaith Alsayed (@ghaith.alsayed) on

The mural depicted a portrait of Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, alongside the words “I can’t breathe” and “No to racism.”

Asmar said Floyd’s death “by suffocation” reminded him of Syrian civilians “killed by suffocation after the Syrian regime hit them with chemical weapons,” according to a local news report.

The artists said they painted the mural to “to call for peace and love” worldwide.

The pictures instantly went viral on social media and Twitter users praised the artists for choosing to paint the mural of Floyd in Syria, which has been facing a humanitarian crisis for years.

“It truly warms my heart to see Syrians supporting BLM even with everything they’re going through in Syria!” wrote one user on Twitter. “Syrian artists Aziz Asmar and Anis Hamdoun in the town of Binnish in Idlib!”

From Syria to Spain, murals memorializing Floyd have cropped up in cities across the globe. In the occupied Westbank, Palestinian artist Walid Ayyoud painted a portrait of Floyd wearing a keffiyeh and in front of the Palestinian flag on the Apartheid Wall.


Shoe maven Amina Muaddi teams up with Net-a-Porter for good cause

Amina Muaddi created a charitable t-shirt for Net-a-Porter. Instagram
Amina Muaddi created a charitable t-shirt for Net-a-Porter. Instagram
Updated 09 March 2021

Shoe maven Amina Muaddi teams up with Net-a-Porter for good cause

Amina Muaddi created a charitable t-shirt for Net-a-Porter. Instagram

DUBAI: March 8 marked annual International Women’s Day, a day that celebrates and champions the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world and also highlights what still needs to be done in the ongoing fight for women’s rights and equality.

To celebrate the occasion, many brands, designers and retailers introduced Women’s Day-themed collections and cause-driven products that see all profits go towards charities and organizations that advocate for women and girls, including Net-a-Porter.

The luxury e-tailer, which launched a localized platform in the Middle East this week, teamed up with 12 female designers who have created exclusive pieces.

Among the designers who have participated in the initiative is Jordanian-Romanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi, who has created a white, long-sleeve shirt that bears the words “I got you” in pink and of which 100% of the proceeds will be donated to charity Women for Women International.

“Happy International Women’s Day Sisters!” she wrote on Instagram.

“I made this long sleeve tee to support @netaporter’s charitable partnership with @womenforwomen. 100% of profits will be donated to Women for Women International,” she said, adding that in 2020 Net-a-Porter “raised over $230,000 for women survivors of war, and in total over the last three years, raised enough to fund over 850 women through the Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program.”

Other designers that took part in the initiative include French-Algerian homeware designer Anissa Kermiche, who created a set of mini jugs inspired by her bestselling Jugs Jug, reimagined as a pair to promote female solidarity.

Designers Stella McCartney, Emilia Wickstead, Westman Atelier, Tove, Anya Hindmarch, Jennifer Fisher, Simone Rocha and Ninety Percent, Roxanne Assoulin and Alighieri also took part in the initiative.


George Clooney jokes ‘ER’ role is causing trouble with Amal at home

George Clooney jokes ‘ER’ role is causing trouble with Amal at home
Updated 09 March 2021

George Clooney jokes ‘ER’ role is causing trouble with Amal at home

George Clooney jokes ‘ER’ role is causing trouble with Amal at home

DUBAI: Hollywood actor George Clooney joked this week that his hit TV series “ER” is causing him problems with his wife, British-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. 

The Oscar-winning actor said in an interview with podcast SmartLess on Monday that his wife is currently watching the 1994 medical drama. 

“It’s getting me in a lot of trouble because I’d forgotten all of the terrible things (his character Doug Ross) was doing picking up on women,” said the “The Midnight Sky” actor.

Clooney played the role of a pediatrician who was dedicated to his profession, but also was a ladies’ man. He later married a nurse, Carol Hathaway, played by US actress Julianna Margulies.

Amal and George first met in 2013. They married in a lavish ceremony in Venice in 2014, and had twins, a boy, Alexander, and a girl, Ella, in 2017.

The “Ocean’s Eleven” actor also spoke about meeting his wife on the podcast. “She took my breath away. She was brilliant, funny and beautiful and kind. I was sort of swept off my feet,” he told the hosts.

“She was brilliant and funny and beautiful and kind,” he added. “I was sort of swept off my feet. We got engaged after a few months and got married within the first year that we met. It surprised me more than probably anybody else in the world — and everybody else was pretty surprised.”


‘Memory Box’ is a haunting look at love in battered Beirut

‘Memory Box’ is a haunting look at love in battered Beirut
Updated 09 March 2021

‘Memory Box’ is a haunting look at love in battered Beirut

‘Memory Box’ is a haunting look at love in battered Beirut

CHENNAI: A compelling work about love, life and loss packaged neatly and executed with brilliance, “Memory Box” competed for the Golden Bear at the recent Berlin International Film Festival. Part of the reason why the movie is so touching is its story and script, which drew inspiration from Lebanese co-director Joana Hadjithomas’ letters and diaries penned during her teens. Made with Khalil Joreige – the duo is known for their range of documentaries, features and performance art – “Memory Box” covers three generations of women from 1980s war-ravaged Beirut to icy Montreal. The writing — by the directors — is tight and leaves no room for confusion in this back-and-forth narrative.

The first film from by the award-winning directors in nine years, it has a picturesque start. It is Christmas Eve in Montreal, but one woman carries in her heart the ravages of the war, the loss of her love and the distress of seeing a sibling and parent die.

Hundreds of grainy old photos, notebooks, newspaper articles and cassettes arrive in a huge box without warning during a snowstorm at the Montreal home of Maia (Rim Turki) and her teenage daughter, Alex (Paloma Vauthier). The parcel is from Paris, and it contains just about everything Maia sent to her best friend, Liza after she left Beirut in 1983. Maia had put down every thought, every feeling, every sorrow in letters, notepads and cassettes and mailed them to Liza. Now that she is dead, the boxful of memories has been returned to the sender.

Alex is infinitely curious to see what the parcel contains, but her grandmother, or Teta (Clemence Sabbagh), discourages her, telling the young girl to hide it and wait for the holidays to be over before informing Maia. But in the middle of the night, Alex sneaks into the basement and discovers the ecstasy and agony of her mother’s youth, her love, her stolen kisses inside a car with bullets flying all around or sometimes in the darkened auditorium of a cinema.

Alex finds out that her mother, Young Maia (passionately played by Manal Issa) was strong-willed and lived with her parents, who struggled to accept the death of their son in the war. The father was a principal who refused to leave his school, and the mother a nervous wreck living each minute in fear. But carefree Maia roamed the streets with her girlfriends, until she meets the handsome Raja (Hassan Akil). And then there was no stopping them — in a visually engaging sequence we watch the two zip along on a motorbike with the city in flames. This is one of the impressive visual effects by Laurent Brett. Josee Deshaies’ cinematography offers some arresting moments. The contrast between a city living under falling bombs and the tranquility of the Canadian metropolis, where snow-white clouds hang tantalizingly low, is striking, to say the least. And the last shot of the sun rising over post-war Beirut infuses certain warmth.

It is a heady cocktail of a mother-daughter struggle and a story on the overwhelming power of memories. But the end is a tad too tame, even slightly contrived, which rather lets a wonderful film down.


‘The Queen’s Gambit’ to be turned into a musical 

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ to be turned into a musical 
Updated 09 March 2021

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ to be turned into a musical 

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ to be turned into a musical 

DUBAI: Hit 2020 Netflix show “The Queen’s Gambit” is getting turned into a stage musical.   

This week, production company Level Forward obtained the theatrical stage rights to the award-winning show and is expected to develop a musical adaptation of the series.

 

The mini-series tells the story of orphan Beth Harmon who masters chess in 1960s America. But child stardom comes at a price for the young introvert.

It is based on a novel of the same name written by author Walter Tevis in 1983. 

The show recently won the Golden Globes for Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. Actress Anya Taylor-Joy also scored the prize for best lead performance.


Jessica Kahawaty shows support for Chloe, UNICEF mission

The model took to social media to raise awareness about UNICEF’s campaign with Chloe. Instagram
The model took to social media to raise awareness about UNICEF’s campaign with Chloe. Instagram
Updated 09 March 2021

Jessica Kahawaty shows support for Chloe, UNICEF mission

The model took to social media to raise awareness about UNICEF’s campaign with Chloe. Instagram

DUBAI: French fashion house Chloe has partnered with UNICEF on a new capsule collection to support Girls Forward, a non-profit initiative dedicated to creating and enhancing opportunities for girls who have been displaced due to conflict or persecution. The charitable line of jewelry and attire was launched on International Women’s Day, which took place on March 8, with the support of influential faces such as Lebanese-Australian model Jessica Kahawaty and Saudi creative Alaa Balkhy.

The collection includes a graphic t-shirt, a vibrant scarf, a bracelet, necklace and pins with graphic medallions, as well as a soft, heart-shaped printed pouch. It should be noted that the t-shirt in question has already been worn by many style influencers on Instagram.

Kahawaty took to the social media platform to show support for the initiative.

“On this symbolic and historic day, I’m proud to be a small part of the Chloé and UNICEF initiative,” she wrote alongside a picture of herself donning the charitable t-shirt that depicts people holding hands.

“They have together sealed a three-year agreement around gender empowerment initiatives that is set to reach 6.5 million adolescent girls and young women around the world, providing them with skills to advance in the workplace.”

She went on to add that “the Girls Forward initiative, which encompasses digital and technology skills as well as entrepreneurial advancement, will be implemented in countries such as Bolivia, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Tajikistan. 100% of revenues from this capsule go towards UNICEF.”

It’s not the first time that the model, humanitarian and entrepreneur has teamed up with UNICEF. She previously visited Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp near the border with Syria in a bid to raise awareness about the plight of the families who live there.

She also visited the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan to help children affected by the Syrian crisis.

Chloé announced a three-year partnership with UNICEF in 2019 with the aim of supporting UNICEF programs that help young women empower themselves with regard to education, employability and active citizenship.

The collection is available online on chloe.com and in Chloé boutiques in France, Italy, Japan, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States.