DUBAI: The first ever Ramallah Art Fair began last week at the city’s Zawyeh Gallery. It brings together more than 100 works from 26 Palestinian artists.
‘What is Known #4’
The first ever Ramallah Art Fair began last week at the city’s Zawyeh Gallery. It brings together more than 100 works from 26 Palestinian artists, including this series by Jawabreh — silk embroidered representations of the faces of child martyrs.
‘Homeless in Yaffa’
All the participating artists, the gallery says, “explore a variety of subjects stemming from the Palestinian context.” Bacri’s work — much of which is set in the time of the war on Gaza in 2014 — is “a tribute to all the people who struggle to survive and who find beauty in even the worst tragedies.”
Samara’s works at the fair are a continuation of her theme of exploring social taboos through seemingly mundane, though intimate, scenes from people’s homes. Her 2020 series, though, involves extremely small artworks — this one is 25 x 30 cm — perhaps to draw the viewer into the scene.
What We Are Reading Today: Athens at the Margins by Nathan T. Arrington
Updated 22 October 2021
The seventh century BC in ancient Greece is referred to as the Orientalizing period because of the strong presence of Near Eastern elements in art and culture. Conventional narratives argue that goods and knowledge flowed from East to West through cosmopolitan elites. Rejecting this explanation, Athens at the Margins proposes a new narrative of the origins behind the style and its significance, investigating how material culture shaped the ways people and communities thought of themselves.
Athens and the region of Attica belonged to an interconnected Mediterranean, in which people, goods, and ideas moved in unexpected directions. Network thinking provides a way to conceive of this mobility, which generated a style of pottery that was heterogeneous and dynamic. Although the elite had power, they were unable to agree on the norms of conspicuous consumption and status display.
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Zac Efron, Jessica Alba return for latest Dubai Tourism campaign
Updated 21 October 2021
DUBAI: Hollywood actors Zac Efron and Jessica Alba are the stars of Dubai Tourism’s fifth and latest promotional campaign.
Released on Wednesday, the short action-packed clip, titled “Dubai: A Riveting Mystery,” sees the duo embark on an adventure to solve a mystery in the UAE city.
The video starts in the Dubai Opera center and features other locations including Al-Seef, the Museum of the Future, and Downtown Dubai.
Dubai Tourism recently released three videos, directed by Australian filmmaker Craig Gillespie, ahead of the long-awaited Expo 2020 Dubai event.
The first ad was a spoof of an action film featuring Alba and Efron fighting off enemies at well-known landmarks across the city, such as the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, and the Museum of the Future.
In the second video, the stars appeared as tourists visiting the city. Upon arrival at their hotels, they discover they have got each other’s bags. The celebrities then travel across the city on various adventures to meet and collect their identical luggage.
In the third advert, Efron plays two characters, a younger and older version of himself who comes from the future to teach him life lessons. The two characters go on a journey in the country’s souks and surrounding deserts, and also go skydiving.
For the fourth video, Alba stars as a young pilot who explores the country’s deserts. The clip takes a close look at the UAE’s traditional activities and attractions.
The films present some of Dubai’s most-admired sites, including the city’s dunes, Sheikh Zayed Road that runs through the heart of Dubai, Dubai Creek, and the historic Al-Fahidi district.
The plaza will also host six artists, including Moh Flow, Shebani, Freek, Michele, Molham and Mougleta, from Flash Entertainment and Virgin Radio Dubai’s Regional Artist Spotlight (RAS) initiative until 10:30 p.m.
Entry for the opening weekend at the plaza is free. However, visitors will need to purchase tickets at Ain Dubai’s website to experience a ride on the wheel.
Ain Dubai – or Eye Dubai in Arabic – stands over 250 metres. It will offer visitors a 360-degree view of the city and its coastline.
It will have 48 capsules, which can carry more than 1,750 visitors at once, with each of the 30-square-meter capsules having the capability to be converted into fine-dining venues for up to a dozen guests.
Louvre Abu Dhabi showcases historic cultural links between China, Islamic world
Second international exhibition of the year explores artistic exchange stretching back centuries
Updated 21 October 2021
Rebecca Anne Proctor
DUBAI: Over the past decade the world has watched as China has expanded its economic presence in the Gulf region, becoming the biggest trading partner and external investor for many Middle Eastern countries.
Yet what many forget is that China’s relationship with the Arab world dates back to antiquity — to the time of the Silk Road and the birth of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.
Thanks to Arab explorers, such as the 14th-century adventurer Ibn Battuta, and the expansion of trade activities in Europe, business and cultural exchange flourished between China and the Arab world.
What many analysts refer to as China’s “new Silk Road” is, in essence, a return to this shared past, one that is explored through the exhibition “Dragon and Phoenix: Centuries of Exchange between Chinese and Islamic Worlds,” on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi until Feb. 12, 2022.
The show includes over 200 masterpieces from the Louvre Abu Dhabi in partnership with the Guimet Museum in Paris, and showcases the cultural and artistic exchange between the two civilizations for more than 800 years up till the 18th century.
The exhibition pays tribute to the Dragon, representing China, and the Phoenix, referring to the Islamic world, with artifacts dating back to the establishment of the first Arab merchant colonies in the trading city of Canton in the 8th century.
Objects reveal the journeys of tradesmen and explorers from the Arab world through Central Asia and across the Indian Ocean to China and South-east Asia.
“Dragon and Phoenix: Centuries of Exchange between Chinese and Islamic Worlds” was curated by Sophie Makariou, president of the Guimet Museum, in collaboration with Souraya Noujaim, scientific, curatorial and collections management director, and Guilhem Andre, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s chief curator of Asian and medieval art.
“The exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to compare artworks, set side by side, from different regions that are connected by overwhelming aesthetic and symbolic similarities,” Andre told Arab News.
“The works appear similar at first glance, but when you uncover their history and provenance you are made aware of the many threads of inspiration and cultural exchange which run between the Chinese and Islamic worlds. Each of these items and the materials used represent mediums for artistic exchange between these great cultures.”
Masterpieces on display include the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s rare Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) gold cup with dragon-shaped handle from China, which may have been made for a nomadic dignitary.
Another highlight is the Panni Tartarici (or Tartar cloths) — Mongol silk fabric with gold threads — from the Guimet collection.
A calligraphy section features paintings and calligraphies by Wen Zhengming (1470-1559), Dong Qichang (1555–1636) and Zha Shibiao (1615–1698) on loan from the Guimet Museum. These works correspond to the exquisite letters of Arabic script found in a selection of illuminated manuscripts from the Qur’an.
The exhibition also includes paintings, silverware, ceramic, glassware, manuscripts and luxury fabrics.
“Wherever trade routes exist, artistic and cultural exchange exists in parallel,” Andre said. “With every exhibition, we hope that visitors come away with an understanding that, as humans, we have more in common than we realize, whether historically or in the present day. Exhibitions such as this allow us to trace the routes of exchange and inspiration between peoples and cultures that have been present for thousands of years and will continue to be sources of inspiration.”
The exhibition will be accompanied by a cultural program, including weekend family film screenings.
Andre said that the exhibition is the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s most important show of 2021. With the opening of Expo 2020, this is a pivotal year for the UAE in terms of cultural exchange, he added.
In 2022, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will feature a performance piece by local artist Ahmed Al-Areef. Starting in October, educational activities and programs will include daily express tours for adults, Take Me to Asia interactive events with museum educators, “MakeandPlay” activities inspired by the exhibition, and masterclasses.