Saudi Arabia’s Mono Gallery heads to Art Dubai for the first time

Saudi artist Lulwah Al-Homoud’s ‘The Language of Existence.’ Supplied
Saudi artist Lulwah Al-Homoud’s ‘The Language of Existence.’ Supplied
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Updated 29 March 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Mono Gallery heads to Art Dubai for the first time

Saudi artist Lulwah Al-Homoud’s ‘The Language of Existence.’ Supplied

DUBAI: The 2021 edition of Art Dubai, set to kick off on March 29, will welcome first-time gallery participants from Europe and the Middle East. Among the newcomers to the fair is the recently founded Mono Gallery, based in Riyadh. Founded in 2017, the Mono Gallery was established by Saudi businessman and medical engineer Momen Al-Muslimani, who sought to go beyond the monotonous lifestyle of his daily job as CEO of his company. In an atypical move, he ventured into the art world.

“I lost the excitement of challenges — of failure and success — and I started to look for something new,” he told Arab News from his office, decorated with a number of artworks created by the artists he supports.

The turning point in Al-Muslimani’s career was when he came across inspiring posts on Instagram that showed him how art can have a profound effect on people.




The Mono Gallery space. Supplied

“I thought, ‘Okay, let me discover this world,’ and I was keen to visit every art exhibition in Saudi Arabia, from Jeddah to Dammam and Alkhobar,” he said.

The lack of a gallery presence in Riyadh encouraged him to take action.

As director of his gallery, he currently represents a variety of artists who hail from the Arab world. Although the gallery’s name is phonetically similar to Al-Muslimani’s first name, he intentionally avoided naming it after himself.   




By Amani Mousa. Supplied

“I care about art and the artists,” he said. “I want to present them to the world and show that I am standing behind them. ‘Mono’ means a single, independent line. With that name, I wanted to express the idea that Mono Gallery has its own DNA or identity and is not a copy of anybody else.”

At the fair, the gallery will present an all-women’s line-up of works by four Saudi artists — Reem Al-Faisal, Lulwah Al-Homoud, Tarfah Al-Saud and Kholood Al-Bakr — and one emerging artist from Egypt, Amani Mousa. Exploring photography, geometry, and architecture, each multidisciplinary artist brings to light her own experience and interests as explored through art.




By Lulwah Al-Dhahir. Supplied

After what has been a challenging year for the arts sector due to the pandemic, Al-Muslimani believes it is more important than ever to participate this year at the fair. “I felt a responsibility toward Art Dubai,” he says. “They gave us the confidence, and they guided and helped us to present our artists and our identity. We have to pay them back by standing with them, also in hard times.”


Bella Hadid celebrates niece Khai’s birthday with never-before-seen snaps

US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday. (File/ Getty Images)
US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday. (File/ Getty Images)
Updated 20 September 2021

Bella Hadid celebrates niece Khai’s birthday with never-before-seen snaps

US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday. (File/ Getty Images)

DUBAI: US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid took to Instagram on Sunday to celebrate her niece’s first birthday, and paid special tribute to Gigi Hadid and her partner Zayn Malik on their daughter’s big day.

“Happy Birthday to the greatest gift our family has ever been blessed with… I didn’t know my heart could grow this big!!!” Bella posted on Instagram, alongside a carousel of photos featuring the now-one-year-old.

Although baby Khai’s face was blocked by emoji stickers in all the shots, for privacy reasons, Bella managed to gush over the family’s bundle of joy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

“You make me smile when I’m sad and make me cry of happiness just because (you’re) alive. I can’t wait to watch you grow into the most perfect specimen of all. @gigihadid @zayn thank you for my forever best friend,” the model aunt added.

The couple announced the birth of their daughter in September 2020, with Gigi sharing the exciting news with her 58.5 million Instagram followers.

“Our girl joined us Earth-side this weekend and she’s already changed our world,” she said at the time.

For his part, proud father and British signer Malik write: “Our baby girl is here, healthy and beautiful. To try put into words how I am feeling right now would be an impossible task.”

“The love I feel for this tiny human is beyond my understanding. Grateful to know her, proud to call her mine, and thankful for the life we will have together,” he added.


Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend
Updated 20 September 2021

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

Review: ‘Schumacher’ is a touching, if unsatisfying, portrait of a legend

LONDON: Michael Schumacher will always be an iconic figure in Formula 1 — widely regarded as one of the most gifted racers of all time, with a work ethic hitherto unseen in the sport, and a drive for perfection that left his rivals staggered by his laser focus. And while this documentary, created with the blessing and cooperation of the Schumacher family, offers an incredible look at the personal and private life of the German driver, it does little to expand on what most people already know about the seven-times world champion.

Now streaming on Netflix, a procession of famous faces from the world of F1 — Ross Brawn, Flavio Briatore, Jean Todt, Eddie Irvine, David Coulthard and many others — offer their recollections of Michael, and those interviews are expertly combined with archival material from Schumacher himself, home videos released by the family, and interviews with his wife and children.

Michael Schumacher’s documentary offers a look at the personal and private life of the German driver. (Motorsport Images)

But while directors Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns, Vanessa Nöcker and Michael Wech do a skilled job of stitching everything together, they rarely take the chance to take “Schumacher” into new territory. Subjects such as Schumacher’s aggression-fueled lapses in racing judgement, or his insistence that he simply couldn’t be in the wrong in any crash, get little more than lip service — perhaps understandably, given that the film was created in such close cooperation with his family. But it does beg the question of what “Schumacher” hopes to achieve. Anyone who follows F1 knows that his was a generation-defining talent, and hearing that same sentiment reflected by a series of notable interviewees simply rings a little hollow.

What’s more, the movie steers clear of offering up any glimpse of Schumacher today. At the end of 2013, Michael suffered a significant brain injury during a skiing trip and hasn’t been seen since. He is, his family insists, continuing to live his life as privately as possible. And while that privacy is important, and absolutely his right, it makes for a strange juxtaposition with a film billed as offering such an intimate portrait of a racing legend.


Luxury label Jean Paul Gaultier celebrates Saudi National Day with new film

Luxury label Jean Paul Gaultier celebrates Saudi National Day with new film
Updated 20 September 2021

Luxury label Jean Paul Gaultier celebrates Saudi National Day with new film

Luxury label Jean Paul Gaultier celebrates Saudi National Day with new film

DUBAI: French luxury fashion label Jean Paul Gaultier is celebrating Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day, which falls on Sept. 23, in its first-ever launch dedicated to a Middle Eastern country.

The brand has brought to life the traditional card game of baloot through a film shot by an all-Saudi production team in Riyadh. 

The brand is also celebrating the country’s heritage and culture with the baloot box. (Supplied)

The film features a host of Saudi personalities, including actress Sarah Taibah, emerging fashion model Domie Alsalim, fashion and beauty multi-hyphenates Yara Alnamlah and Faisal Alghazzawi, as they compete in the game. 

The brand is also celebrating the country’s heritage and culture with the baloot box — a luxe green reimagination of its signature perfume case which comes in velvet stamped with gold details.

 

The celebrity-loved fashion house created a deck of cards exquisitely designed by Saudi artist Raghad Al-Ahmad. 

Al-Ahmad merged Jean Paul Gaultier’s signature iconography with cultural motifs rooted in the identity of Saudi Arabia through the art form of collage. The queen, king and jack of the deck are reimagined to represent the regions and cities in the Kingdom. 

The queen, king and jack of the deck are reimagined to represent the regions and cities in the Kingdom. (Supplied)

The baloot box is packed in a green bag with gold-embroidered straps, patterned after the intricate gold trimming of the traditional Saudi bisht.

The bag was designed and created by traditional Saudi tailor Salman Alhamad and Atharna, a social enterprise dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Saudi crafts and culture.


Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 

Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 
Updated 20 September 2021

Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 

Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay to star in Netflix drama 

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Rosaline Elbay is set to star in Netflix’s upcoming heist action drama “Jigsaw” alongside US actor Giancarlo Esposito, she revealed this week. 

The series centers around a large heist that is loosely based on the $70 billion in bonds that went missing in New York’s downtown Manhattan when Hurricane Sandy struck the city in 2012.

Elbay, who is also a writer, will play the role of Judy Goodwin, the crew’s demolitions specialist who is clever, talented and independent.

The eight-episode series, which ranges from 24 years before the heist to one year after, also casts Spanish actress Paz Vega, British star Rufus Sewell, US actors Tati Gabrielle and Peter Mark Kendall, Australian talent Jai Courtney and Iranian actress Niousha Noor.

Elbay is famous for her role as Amani in Hulu’s award-winning series “Ramy,” which stars US-Egyptian Golden Globe winner Ramy Youssef. 


Director Mounia Akl’s ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’ wins award at Toronto Film Festival

Director Mounia Akl’s ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’ wins award at Toronto Film Festival
Updated 20 September 2021

Director Mounia Akl’s ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’ wins award at Toronto Film Festival

Director Mounia Akl’s ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’ wins award at Toronto Film Festival

 

DUBAI: Lebanese director Mounia Akl this week won the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) award at the 46th Toronto International Film Festival for her feature “Costa Brava, Lebanon.”

Her impassioned debut is an eerie family drama set amid a raging climate crisis in near-future Lebanon.

The film stars actors Saleh Bakri and Nadine Labaki. 

Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri plays Walid and Lebanese star Nadine Labaki plays his wife, Souraya. (Supplied)

“Costa Brava, Lebanon – an exquisite intergenerational family story – is an ode to sustainable futures by visionary new talent, Mounia Akl from her precious and troubled country,” said the NETPAC jury, that included Spanish filmmaker Gemma Cubero del Barrio, Beijing based film producer Isabelle Glachant and BAFTA-nominated producer Elhum Shakerifar, in a statement published in Deadline.

The 32-year-old filmmaker’s haunting and upsetting feature was originally meant to depict a dystopian Lebanon in 2030 at its worst.

“I tried to imagine this dystopian future where none of our problems had been solved and the country was an extreme version of itself,” she told Arab News at the festival.

“It was somehow a way for me to imagine the worst for myself in the same way you sometimes want to explore your trauma in a cathartic way. It was a way for me to imagine the worst in my mind as a way of avoiding the worst happening in my mind and in life.”

The film follows a family who move out of Beirut. (Supplied)

But Lebanon’s crisis deepened as Akl and her team got closer to shooting the movie. “The reality of Lebanon became more tragic and more dystopian than even the dystopia that I imagined in 2030,” she said.

In the film, the now trash-filled surroundings of Lebanon’s “Costa Brava” had meant to be the free-spirited Badri family’s getaway utopia from the pollution and social unrest of Beirut. But their dreams were trashed when construction of a landfill site started next door to the family’s home.

Costa Brava is an actual landfill in Lebanon that opened in April 2016 as one of two sites advertised by the Lebanese government as a solution to the eight-month trash crisis the country had experienced the year before. However, within two weeks of its opening, residents and activists launched protests at the site demanding its closure.