DUBAI: Desert X is an annual art biennial which displays the works of international artists in California’s Coachella Valley, and this year, it is bringing the works of two Arab artists for its 13th edition, which kicked off on March 12.
Saudi artist Zahrah Al-Ghamdi is showcasing her installation “What Lies Behind the Walls,” a larger-than-life sculptural wall made out of 6,000 tiles containing cements and soils that are stacked to form striking patterns.
Also showcasing her work during the two-month-long art event is Ghada Amer.
“Women’s Qualities,” by the New York-based Egyptian artist consists of words such as “Resilient,” “Loving” and “Strong” spelled out in large letter-shaped planters with desert plants. For the installation, Amer polled diverse communities of men and women to share words that describe the qualities they identify with and have been described as.
Originally slated to open in February, the outdoor art exhibition, taking place until May 16, was delayed in response to COVID-19.
Other participating artists include Felipe Baeza, Judy Chicago, Serge Attukwei Clottey, Nicholas Galanin, Alicja Kwade, Oscar Murillo, Christopher Myers, Eduardo Sarabia, Xaviera Simmons, Kim Stringfellow and Vivian Suter.
The best dressed stars at the 2021 Cairo international Film Festival
Updated 27 November 2021
DUBAI: The 43rd edition of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) kicked off in style on Friday evening with a plethora of glamorous A-list Arab celebrities walking the red carpet at the annual opening ceremony in Egypt.
Running until Dec. 5 at the famed Opera House in Zamalek, the Arab world’s longest-running film festival brought together a host of stars, including actors Tara Emad, Dorra Zarrouk and Salma Abudeif in addition to 68-year-old film icon Fifi Abdou, who were all dressed to the nines in up-and-coming as well as established regional designers.
Check out our pick of the best dressed stars at the 2021 Cairo International Film Festival below.
Past and future meet in UAE-based trio’s ‘Beyond: Emerging Artists’ display
Updated 27 November 2021
Rebecca Anne Proctor
DUBAI: Challenges of the future and painful reminders of the past are among themes explored by three UAE-based artists in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al-Saadiyat.
New commissions by Emirati artists Maitha Abdalla and Hashel Al-Lamki, along with American Christopher Benton, now based in Dubai, are included in “Beyond: Emerging Artists,” a section of the now-wrapped up Abu Dhabi Art fair.
“Beyond: Emerging Artists” was curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath and is running beyond the end of the fair until Dec. 4, 2021.
Bardaouil and Fellrath told Arab News that the three artists’ strong links with Abu Dhabi allowed them to examine the city’s history and diversity, as well as its challenges and opportunities.
The artists rely on media ranging from painting to sculpture, soundscapes, video works, found objects and site-specific installations.
Abdalla’s commissions are part of a series of works that “negotiates the wild nature of women that social forces have often attempted to tame,” according to the artist.
“In my work, I am interested in storytelling and folk tales, and for this exhibition I was inspired by the book ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves,’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, an American psychoanalyst. She talks about how in every woman there is a wild creature and that this creature is powerful. She calls it wild woman and says this creature is an endangered species,” Abdalla said.
Fair Director Dyala Nusseibeh told Arab News: “The work is amazing — from performances that revolve around notions of female wildness to sculptures and paintings that provoke discussion around what’s considered right and wrong behavior and thought in communities.”
Benton’s installation of a chained palm tree also fosters debate around labor economies and the appropriation of Middle Eastern culture in the US.
The artist’s film “The Kite Has Come” features archival images of Zanzibar from 1860-1910 — when the world’s last slave market operated in the city — and explores how slave histories in past centuries resonate in today’s world.
Meanwhile, Al-Lamki examines the rapid pace of change in the UAE, particularly evident in his hometown of Al-Ain.
The artist, who founded the art group Bait 15 in a residential neighborhood in downtown Abu Dhabi, uses natural pigments collected from regional locations, referencing traditions that are under threat from new technologies and consumerism.
“The extravagance of the glitter and dyes in his paintings alongside the use of batteries, star stickers and popcorn in his sculpture, contribute to a sense of spectacle and futurism, but also a note of wistfulness for what is left behind,” Nusseibeh said.
US singer Nick Jonas to hit the stage at VidCon Abu Dhabi
Updated 27 November 2021
DUBAI: US singer Nick Jonas is set to hit the stage at VidCon Abu Dhabi for a live performance on Dec. 3.
He will join a lineup including R&B singer Kehlani, who will perform at the three-day event taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) on Dec. 4.
The 29-year-old, who gained prominence as a member of the Jonas Brothers with his two older siblings, also has a fruitful solo career, giving us hits like “Jealous” and “Levels.”
VidCon Abu Dhabi was originally set to be held in March 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other big names set to appear include Egyptian TV show host and comedian Bassem Youssef, Emirati influencers Khalid Al-Ameri and Salama Mohamed, Saudi YouTuber Naz and travel blogger Iknani, among others.
UNHCR ambassador Karen Wazen meets with victims of Beirut blast in Lebanon
Updated 27 November 2021
DUBAI: Karen Wazen Bakhazi has joined hands with the UN refugee agency, UNCHR, to support her native Lebanon.
The Dubai-based social media influencer was named as a High Profile Supporter of UNHCR last year for her dedication and commitment to raising awareness of the plight of refugees and displaced populations across the region over the past three years. The title was officially given to Wazen at a signing ceremony held at the UNHCR offices in International Humanitarian City, Dubai.
The style icon and entrepreneur, who launched her successful eyewear company in 2018, has been on numerous field missions in support of the refugee cause over the past three years. Most recently, the humanitarian visited Beirut to meet with families who have been affected by the devastating Aug. 4 explosion.
“It is always a honor to work closely with the UNHCR and see first-hand the effort and work that is done towards vulnerable families in our communities,” wrote Wazen on Instagram, alongside a carousel of images.
“Yesterday I visited and engaged with a Lebanese family that was deeply affected by the Beirut blast and economic situation and it is so heartbreaking to hear of all the injustices that unfortunately are very present in our world,” she added.
“Many people think that the @unhcr_arabic only helps refugees. But in fact, UNHCR also provides a lot of support to host communities in Lebanon and to Lebanese families directly.
“It’s so painful to face the reality of some of the families suffering in Lebanon and in our region. I wish the world would come together to make a difference by raising awareness, listening out for each other and donating whenever possible.”
On Aug. 4, 2020, a massive explosion ripped through the port area of Beirut, killing at least 73 people and injuring thousands. The giant blast, which was felt 264 km away in Cyprus, sent shockwaves throughout the city, shattering windows and blowing off balconies on apartment buildings. The mushroom-like explosion caused widespread damage, destroying much of the capital.
Following the horrific blast, the Lebanese social media icon donated $10,000 via her eyewear company, Karen Wazen Eyewear, to the Beirut Eye & ENT Spec Hospital (BESH) to help the thousands of people who were injured during the explosion.
Italian label Loro Piana collaborates with Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej for UAE National Day
Updated 26 November 2021
DUBAI: Italian brand Loro Piana has unveiled an artistic collaboration with Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej in celebration of the UAE’s 50th National Day.
The partnership features 50 limited-edition Loro Piana cashmere plaids, each signed and numbered by the painter.
For the collaboration, Bin Lahej reimagined the UAE National Anthem using his own Arabic font, Mattar.
He also created a 5.5-meter-tall, stainless-steel sculpture, “Constitution,” that was unveiled during a gala dinner on Tuesday at Dubai’s Etihad Museum.
Speaking at the event, Loro Piana’s chief executive officer, Damien Bertrand, said: “The plaid is, for Loro Piana, very precious and unique. It perfectly embodies the memorable touch of Loro Piana, which is at the core of the brand. A unique touch which is a result of a unique craftsmanship.”
Bertrand also announced that the fashion label was partnering with the Emirates Red Crescent to supply winter clothing for Syrian refugees in the charity’s Jordan camp.
In her address to dinner guests, Emirates Red Crescent marketing director, Reef Al-Khajeh, said: “The UAE has been known as a generous and caring nation. This collaboration is a demonstration of how deep rooted the culture of giving is embedded.
“The Emirates Red Crescent is constantly acting and reacting to the urgent needs of people affected by misfortune all around the world, and our partnership with Loro Piana will complement the efforts we make to provide relief to those forced into shelters and facing extreme conditions due to disasters and emergencies,” she added.
The event featured performances by Laura Marzadori, first violinist of the Teatro alla Scala, joined by the string section of the National Symphony Orchestra. The dinner was made by Italian Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito, who joined forces with Emirati pastry chef Sahar Parham Al-Awadhi to serve a culinary ode to Italy and the seven Emirates.