Ithra exhibition set to showcase life during lockdown

Ithra will showcase personal objects belonging to individuals around the world that symbolize this turbulent period. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 July 2020

Ithra exhibition set to showcase life during lockdown

  • The exhibition, which launches digitally in July, focuses on memories, thoughts and reflections in the form of objects

DUBAI: As countries reopen their borders and economies following months of lockdown, many are contemplating their experiences during the pandemic.

A new exhibition at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), in Dahran, Saudi Arabia, titled the “COVID-19 Exhibit,” will showcase personal objects belonging to individuals around the world that symbolize this turbulent period.

Exhibits will include new works of art, a pen, photos of loved ones and relatives, musical instruments and fitness gear.

Bland Corona. (Supplied)

“While this is an unprecedented time, it is also an unprecedented moment of global solidarity,” said Ithra’s Head of Museums, Laila Faddagh.

She added: “The ‘COVID-19 Exhibit’ is an opportunity for the global community to tell our stories during this complicated and difficult time. Art is about connecting people through culture – and culture is based on the exchange of ideas and identities – but we connect maybe even more easily through common objects.

“We can all understand the personal value of family photos, a special mug, a note from an important friend, a musical instrument, a favorite painting, your camera, the pen you use to write in your diary… just as we understand Charlie Browns’ friend Linus and his security blanket. The exhibition is a platform where you can express yourself and explain your pandemic experience so you can connect with people around the world – and they can connect with you,” Faddagh said.

Keystrokes. (Supplied)

Submissions are now open to people from around the world. Ithra hopes to obtain about 700 submissions and select up to 300 objects for display.

In 2021, objects selected by the museum’s curators from online submissions will be on display at Ithra.

The exhibition also serves to build a sense of community.

“When people see the physical exhibition, we want them to connect with the objects and remember how it was to be in lockdown,” said Farah Abushullaih, the exhibition’s curator.

Passion of Sourdough. (Supplied)

“The idea is that these objects will relate not just to one person’s experience but to many — to a larger global collective,” she added.

“Each object holds meaning to its owner and their particular lockdown story. I want people to tackle the personal side of things through these objects,” Abushullaih said.

The objects that will be shown are those that are taken for granted in everyday life. Under lockdown, these everyday items have taken on a new significance and meaning.

Arab movies to debut at Toronto International Film Festival

Updated 13 min 30 sec ago

Arab movies to debut at Toronto International Film Festival

DUBAI: Organizers of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) have released a new lineup of 50 movies for screening at this year’s event including a number of Arabic flicks.

Egyptian filmmaker Mayye Zayed’s “Ash Ya Captain” (“Lift Like a Girl”), an intimate journey into the life of an aspiring athlete, will premiere at the 45th edition of the festival, due to take place between Sept. 10 and 20.

Also featured will be Palestinian filmmaking twins Tarzan and Arab Nasser’s “Gaza Mon Amour,” a satire on love and desire. The brothers’ second feature film, it tells the tale of a 60-year-old fisherman who is secretly in love with a market dressmaker. As the story unfolds, the fisherman discovers an ancient Greek statue that will trouble him.

British director Ben Sharrock’s “Limbo” will see Egyptian-British actor Amir El-Masry star as a Syrian asylum-seeker who finds himself living on a small Scottish island.

Egyptian-British actor Amir El-Masry stars in British director Ben Sharrock’s “Limbo.” (Toronto International Film Festival)

Meanwhile, American director Spike Lee’s film version of David Byrne’s hit Broadway show “American Utopia” will open at the event which will be capped off by American-Indian director Mira Nair’s “A Suitable Boy.”

In addition, there will be showings of Iranian directors Manijeh Hekmat’s “Bandar Band” and Farnoosh Samadi’s “180 Degree Rule.”

Most screenings will take place virtually due to government restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s artistic director, said in a released statement: “We began this year planning for a festival much like our previous editions, but along the way we had to rethink just about everything.

“This year’s line-up reflects that tumult. The names you already know are doing brand-new things this year, and there’s a whole crop of exciting new names to discover.”

The full schedule of the festival will be released on Aug. 25.