Emirati photographer Hussain Al-Moosawi discusses his friendly facades

Emirati photographer Hussain Al-Moosawi discusses his friendly facades
Hussain Al-Moosawi is an Emirati photographer and graphic designer . (Supplied)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Emirati photographer Hussain Al-Moosawi discusses his friendly facades

Emirati photographer Hussain Al-Moosawi discusses his friendly facades
  • The Emirati photographer and designer explains how his exploration of architecture allowed him to feel at home in his country again

DUBAI: Sometimes when we paradoxically find ourselves feeling out of place in a city or country we call home, we might be able to rekindle a sense of who we are through cultural means — whether it be food, music, or language.

For Emirati photographer and graphic designer Hussain Al-Moosawi, who went to study in Australia in 2005, returning in 2013, an effective way of warming up again to his urban surroundings was through architecture.

“I was overseas for eight years and for Dubai — or the UAE in general — that was a time when a huge real estate boom took place. I would come back once a year and not see new buildings, but a new cluster, a new neighborhood. With time, I could not make sense of what was happening and I didn’t feel like I belonged to it,” Al-Moosawi tells Arab News. “So, when I came back to my city, my place, (for good), it was alien to me, because my knowledge as a designer was not mature and the space was different. At a subconscious level, I wanted to document that, to feel connected again to the place. I had to renavigate the space by looking at small details. The typologist in me wants to understand that landscape; my quest is to make sense of space.”




“Bin Ghatti Vista” is from “Facades of the UAE.” (Supplied)

Al-Moosawi involved himself in a number of projects and the resulting images may come as a surprise to outsiders (perhaps some residents too), who have likely been exposed to the UAE as a glitzy, skyscraper-lined destination of movers and shakers. Nearly five years ago, he started photographing the uniquely colorful and patterned fences around construction sites in the UAE’s residential neighborhoods.

“It’s the state of being temporary that gives these fences the license to be whatever they want. To express freely. To be yellow or pink, or a bit of both. They teach us a lesson to be free,” he wrote of that project — “Under Construction” — in a statement.

Meanwhile, in 2019, Al-Moosawi dedicated time to capturing interior and exterior details of 40 places of worship — for a variety of faiths — across the UAE, all of which have been collected in a book, backed by the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Youth, called “In Search of Spaces of Coexistence in the UAE.”




“Liwa Tower” is from “Facades of the UAE.” (Supplied)

“It took me six years, possibly, to reintegrate and I’m honored when I say that these projects did connect me back to the community,” he says.

For the past three years, Al-Moosawi has been following what he describes as his “life calling” — developing a pictorial database documenting the geometrical facades of buildings from the seven emirates: Classical and contemporary, high-rise and low-rise, flamboyant and brutalist.

What instantly stands out in “Facades of the UAE” — which can be viewed in a group exhibit at Dubai’s Gulf Photo Plus until January 30 — is the bedazzling and repetitive aesthetics of symmetry.




This picture is from “Under Construction.” (Supplied)

“There is a natural appreciation of symmetry to the human eye,” he says, comparing the facade’s visual appeal to that of a symmetrical human face. The varying facades are full of character with their earthy tones and glassy blues, not to mention the sheer variety of window shapes. Beyond their surface, though, the buildings also reflect the influence of a wide range of foreign design styles on the country since its unification in 1971.

“Many architects who were commissioned from the 1970s and 1980s came from the region, whether it was the Arab world or the Indian subcontinent,” Al-Moosawi explains. “But from the 1990s onwards, when the international firms came in, things got a bit messy in terms of how to build. I think it’s very important to mention that in those days usually the owner of the building would commission the architect or contractor directly. (That doesn’t happen nowadays) because real estate companies took over. Today, whatever you see around you, even towers, has been commissioned by real estate firms so you don’t have that individual touch.”




This picture is from “In Search of Spaces of Coexistence in the UAE.” (Supplied)

As you’d expect from his photographs’ meticulous composition, Al-Moosawi describes himself as systematic, trusting his instincts and clearly knowing what he’s seeking when clicking the button. He says that it can be a challenge driving around and finding the perfect building or location for his project. He has so far captured around 100 buildings.

“I love architectural details. You zoom out and you see windows, a portion of the buildings and then facades,” he says. “There are so many different kinds of zoom-ins, zoom-outs, and I think facades are a good crop to give people an impression about a city.”

Ultimately, Al-Moosawi hopes his repertoire of images will be featured in a series of books – classifying the facades according to era, location, style – that can be of use to architects for analytical purposes. “Architecture is very important. People care about it, but they need to be shown these things in a specific way, because sometimes without you showing it in such a way, they don’t pay attention,” he says. “The greatest achievement for me is when someone tells me, ‘Now I started noticing these buildings.’”

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Six DYI resistance exercises to build muscle at home

Six DYI resistance exercises to build muscle at home
Updated 19 October 2021

Six DYI resistance exercises to build muscle at home

Six DYI resistance exercises to build muscle at home

DUBAI: Nora Hameidani, founder of Dubai’s Barre Effect fitness studio, shows you how to build and maintain strength in or out of the gym. Try these simple yet effective barre moves to help you build lean muscle in the comfort of your own home.

Pushups

Start with hands slightly wider than shoulders, fingers pointing forward. (Shutterstock)

Targets: Arms/chest/shoulders

Start with 10 reps, build up to 3 sets of 10

Start with hands slightly wider than shoulders, fingers pointing forward.  Place knees slightly behind your hips, tuck hips under.  Bend your elbows wide and slightly downwards, hips lower with chest, keeping abdominals engaged, then press arms to straight.  For a challenge, legs can lengthen.

Tricep Dips

Bend and straighten your elbows, lifting and lowering your hips, keeping your elbows pointing backwards and your chest proud. (Shutterstock)

Targets: Triceps/shoulders

Start with 15 reps, build up to 3 sets of 15

While sitting tall with your legs bent in front, place hands under shoulders, with fingers pointing towards your hips.  Bend and straighten your elbows, lifting and lowering your hips, keeping your elbows pointing backwards and your chest proud.

Forearm Plank

Keep your legs straight and a hips distance apart, keep hips in line with shoulders or slightly above shoulder height. (Shutterstock)

Targets: core/arms/shoulders

Holding still for 30 sec, build up to 3 sets of 30 sec

Lying on your front, place your elbows under shoulders, pointing your fingers forward and keeping your forearms parallel.  Keep your legs straight and a hips distance apart, keep hips in line with shoulders or slightly above shoulder height. 

Bicycle Crunches

Start lengthening one leg at a time to the high diagonal, simultaneously rotating your chest, shoulders and arms towards the opposite, bent leg. (Shutterstock)

Targets: abdominals/obliques

Alternating sides for 30 sec, build up to 3 sets of 30 sec

Lying on your back, bring your legs to a tabletop position with your knees bent 90 degrees on top of your hips.  With your hands behind your head, elbows wide, engage your abdominals to lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor.  Start lengthening one leg at a time to the high diagonal, simultaneously rotating your chest, shoulders and arms towards the opposite, bent leg.

Wide 2nd Pulses

Pulse hips at knee height, in small, controlled movements for only about an inch. (Shutterstock)

Targets: Inner and outer thighs/glutes

Pulsing for 30 seconds, build up to 3 sets of 30 sec

Place your feet out wide, bending your knees so they stack on top of your heels. Externally rotate your feet so that your knees track through the middle of your foot. Pulse hips at knee height, in small, controlled movements for only about an inch.

Lunges

Keeping front leg still and stable, pulse back knee in small, controlled movements, only about an inch, toward the floor. (Shutterstock)

Targets: Thighs/hamstring/glutes

Pulsing 1 set of 30 seconds on each leg, build up to 3 sets of 30 seconds per leg

With your feet parallel, hips distance apart, bend both knees and step right leg directly back.  Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle, front knee on top of heel, back right knee bending slightly behind the torso. Keeping front leg still and stable, pulse back knee in small, controlled movements, only about an inch, toward the floor.


From Beyonce to singer Tinashe, Arab label Marzook snaps up celebrity fans

From Beyonce to singer Tinashe, Arab label Marzook snaps up celebrity fans
Updated 19 October 2021

From Beyonce to singer Tinashe, Arab label Marzook snaps up celebrity fans

From Beyonce to singer Tinashe, Arab label Marzook snaps up celebrity fans

DUBAI: Kuwaiti label Marzook is continuing to snap up celebrity fans, with US singer Tinashe and superstar Beyonce spotted sporting its curved creations in recent days.

Tinashe, famous for her hit song “2 On,” showed off a pill-shaped bag by the brand during a photoshoot for A Book Of digital and print magazine this month.

The singer was photographed in a retro look, complete with a white hairband, larger-than-life hair and a sleek cat eye. Styled by Wilford Lenov, the ensemble featured a glittering Marzook bag called the Pill Dusty Pink.

Meanwhile, Beyonce was photographed with the Kuwaiti arm candy in Italy over the weekend.

The world-famous singer was photographed outside Alexandre Arnault’s wedding to Geraldine Guyot in Venice, Italy, on Saturday. Guyot is the founder of the French brand D’Estrëe, while Arnault is the son of one of the world’s richest men, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, and the executive vice president of product and communications at Tiffany & Co.

The singer showed off a bag by Marzook during a recent photoshoot for A Book Of magazine. (Instagram)

For the occasion, Beyoncé opted for a Tiffany-blue silk gown and heels with a Dolce & Gabbana double-breasted wool coat. She accessorized the look with a Marzook crystal orb purse and Lorraine Schwartz diamond jewelry.

Helmed by Kuwaiti siblings Fahad and Shouq Al-Marzooq, the Beirut-based accessories brand was established in 2014. The brother sister duo started off in the fashion industry by designing pieces for their family and friends and quickly went on to garner worldwide attention and sign celebrity collaboration deals.

In 2019, US influencer and model Sofia Richie, singer Lionel Richie’s daughter, collaborated on a new line of handbags with the label.  

 “When you’re one of social media’s most popular style stars, your style influence is extremely crucial.  Sofia’s style is very much aligned with the Marzook girl, who rather than follows trends, creates trends,” the fashion label wrote on its website at the time.

The collaboration featured Marzook’s perennial favorite, the spherical Lucid Classic bag, in a new set of neon shades — “Powerful Pink, Neon- Z Green and Traffic Cone Orange.”

And those are not the only celebrities who have shown love for the Arab brand.

Kylie Jenner showed off a crystal-covered orb bag by the label on her birthday in 2018, triggering many a newspaper headline.

The accessories house’s bags have been sported by the likes of human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, actress Lupita Nyong’o and model Cara Delevingne.

The label’s line of accessories consists of exotic leather and skins, precious metals and resins in pill or spherical shapes.


Angelina Jolie’s iconic Elie Saab gown nabs spotlight at ‘Eternals’ premiere

Angelina Jolie’s iconic Elie Saab gown nabs spotlight at ‘Eternals’ premiere
Updated 19 October 2021

Angelina Jolie’s iconic Elie Saab gown nabs spotlight at ‘Eternals’ premiere

Angelina Jolie’s iconic Elie Saab gown nabs spotlight at ‘Eternals’ premiere

LOS ANGELES: Actors Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek brought Hollywood glamor to the world premiere of Marvel Studios’ latest comic book adaptation, “Eternals,” this week.

Jolie attended the red carpet with her four children, who she shares with her ex-husband Brad Pitt.

For the ocassion,  46-year-old actress lent her daughter Zahara her sequined Elie Saab gown that she wore to the Oscars in 2014, sparking many an international headline.

It’s not often mother-to-daughter hand-me-downs include iconic dresses by a Lebanese designer.

“My kids are all mixed with vintage, and in my old Oscars dress,” she said. “We did all vintage and upcycled my old stuff,” Jolie told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet.

Angelina Jolie at the 2014 Academy Awards. (AFP)

Directed by Chloe Zhao, who won best director and best picture for the film “Nomadland” at the Oscars earlier this year, “Eternals” boasts one of the most diverse casts of any Marvel movie.

Actress Salma Hayek arrives for the world premiere of Marvel Studios’ “Eternals” at the Dolby theatre in Los Angeles. (AFP)

“I hope it just starts to normalize what should have been there in the first place,” Jolie told Reuters. “I hope people watch these films in years to come and we don’t even think about it as being diverse.” 

The film stars Syrian refugee-turned-actor Zain Al-Rafeea as part of the star-studded cast, who plays the role of a villager who comes across the Eternals when they arrive on Earth.

Delayed a year due to the pandemic, “Eternals” will finally hit cinemas on Nov. 5 in the Middle East. 


What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy
Updated 18 October 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

In March 1946, some of the greatest minds of the 20th century — among them John von Neumann, Norbert Wiener, Warren McCulloch, and Walter Pitts — gathered at the Beekman Hotel in New York City with the aim of constructing a science of mental behavior that would resolve at last the ancient philosophical problem of mind and matter. The legacy of their collaboration is known today as cognitive science.
Jean-Pierre Dupuy, one of the principal architects of cognitive science in France, reconstructs the early days of the field here in a provocative and engaging combination of philosophy, science, and historical detective work.
He shows us how the ambitious and innovative ideas developed in the wake of that New York meeting prefigured some of the most important developments of late-20th-century thought. Many scholars, however, shunned the ideas as crude and resented them for being overpromoted.
This rejection, Dupuy reveals, was a tragic mistake and a lost opportunity.


More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models

More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models
Updated 19 October 2021

More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models

More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models
  • The museum opened its 25th branch in Dubai last week

DUBAI: Additional Middle East personalities could join the list of famous Arab figures on display at Madame Tussauds Dubai.

“We listen to our customers; we listen to their feedback. So, we will always be updating the figures and enhancing the products,” Sanaz Kollsrud, general manager of Madame Tussauds Dubai, told Arab News.

The museum opened its 25th wax attraction in the city on Oct.14, making it the brand’s first branch in the Middle East. 

Maya Diab at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)

The famous attraction has a total of 16 figures from the Middle East region. These include talents from the music industry — such as Lebanese singers Nancy Ajram and Maya Diab — and athletes that were made exclusively for the branch in Dubai.

“At the moment, Madame Tussauds has 25 wax attractions around the world, including the US, Europe, and Asia. I’m sure that the brand will look at opportunities to expand at a later stage,” Kollsrud said.

Dubai has been a perfect choice for the Middle East branch, as it is a global tourist destination. The general manager said the museum is also located near a major attraction in the city, Ain Dubai, and is surrounded by a variety of retail and dining options.

Donald and Melania Trump at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)

When asked how the museum chooses the figures it wants to display, Kollsrud said there is a lot of research behind figure selection, including customer research.

“It took about 18 months to put together a figure list, during which we looked at the popularity of the celebrities regionally and globally, especially within the UAE,” she said.

To keep the figures clean and protected, a team of artists works daily to make sure the statues are in perfect shape, the general manager said.

Lewis Hamilton at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)

She added that a team of 20 artists completes one wax figure within four to seven months. 

They even insert real hair strands, which can cost $190,605.

"There is a sitting involved with the talent, where they come and we do around 500 measurements, including head to toe," Kollsrud said.

The tourist destination consists of seven themed rooms and includes over 60 lifelike wax figures.

Chinese President Xi Jinping at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)