Remembering Ramzi Dalloul: One of the Arab world’s greatest patrons

Remembering Ramzi Dalloul: One of the Arab world’s greatest patrons
Dr. Ramzi Dalloul, with the work of ZIAD DALLOUL (1953), Syria, “Celebration of the absent,” 2013. (Courtesy of Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation)
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Updated 07 April 2021

Remembering Ramzi Dalloul: One of the Arab world’s greatest patrons

Remembering Ramzi Dalloul: One of the Arab world’s greatest patrons

DUBAI: Ramzi Dalloul, the Palestinian-born Lebanese businessman, economist and art collector, known for his expansive collection of over 3,000 works by Arab artists from across the Middle East, passed away March 24 in London from cancer-related health complications.

What he leaves behind is a legacy. During his lifetime he amassed one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary Arab art, which continues to occupy an entire building spanning six floors in downtown Beirut. Housed inside are some of the greatest names in Middle Eastern art, including Paul Guiragossian, Ayman Baalbaki, Nabil Nahas, Dia Azzawi, Adam Henein, Abdul Rahman Katanani, Mahmoud Mukhtar, Salwa Raouda Choucair and Alfred Basbous, among many others.

An elegant man with an acute eye and witty demeanor, Dalloul was born in Haifa in 1935. After studying at the American University of Beirut (AUB), he moved to Cairo where he studied aeronautical engineering. He then moved to the US where he obtained an MBA from Columbia Business School. In 1968, he received his PhD in economics from Columbia University. 

Dr. Ramzi Dalloul with PM Fouad Seniora, facing the work of AHMED MATER (1979), Saudi Arabia, “ARTIFICAL LIGHT,” 2012. (Courtesy of Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation)

He worked at the UN Economic Directorate for the Middle East in New York until 1970, when he moved to Beirut as a senior economist for the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia. From 1974 he led the Arab Company for Projects and Development as the board’s chairman and CEO, where he conducted economic research in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Iraq.

During the Lebanese Civil War, which began in 1975, Dalloul moved to Paris but always kept his home in Beirut.

Throughout his career, and together with a multinational team of economists, Dalloul developed strategies and policies to help stimulate economic growth in developing nations, particularly in the Arab world. But it was in the power of art that he believed most fervently. Throughout his life he held steadfast to the belief that by educating people on Middle Eastern history, culture and current affairs through art, the Middle East might come closer to solving its myriad political and social issues. 

“We need to use art as an instrument to educate the people,” he once told Harper’s Bazaar Arabia in 2016. “We always hear statesmen in the West say that what the Middle East is battling is a generational struggle that will take a long time to win. It is a battle of ideas and doctrines and the people of the region will need to take a lead in this fight. It will not be done by planes, warriors or by armies. It is a battle of ideas.” Art, believed Dalloul, is filled with ideas that reflect upon a certain moment in history.

Dr. Ramzi Dalloul, with the work of SLIMAN ANIS MANSOUR (1947), Palestine, “The Daughter of Jerusalem,” 1978. (Courtesy of Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation)

He amassed his collection over several decades during trips around the Middle East. It was while he was on a business trip in Baghdad that he purchased his first piece. His curiosity lured him to museums, such as the Gulbenkian Museum, which was later transformed to become the Saddam Modern Art Museum.

When he moved to Paris, he kept in touch with the Iraqi artists he had met. The collection kept expanding, and in every place he would travel to in the Middle East, he would buy art.

His collection is currently managed by his son Basel Dalloul, CEO and chairman of the Noor Group, a leading company in the field of information technology, who founded the Beirut-based Dalloul Art Foundation (DAF) in 2017. Pre pandemic, it hosted temporary exhibitions and is also known for its publicly digital database of the collection. The works in the collection have been loaned to eminent institutions around the region, including the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha and the Sharjah Art Museum.

Dr. Ramzi Dalloul, with the work of MOHANNA DURRA (1938-2021), JORDAN, “Untitled,” 2010. (Courtesy of Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation)

“While my father does indeed have so many great accomplishments, I would have to say his greatest was his impact on Arab art, and the market for it,” said Basel Dalloul. “If there were a single person to point to, in terms of who revolutionized this market, and the international interest in it, it would be Dr. Ramzi Dalloul.

“As far as my dad’s legacy is concerned, for the collection, housed at the Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, we will continue to do the important work of researching, introducing and archiving Arab art for local and international audiences.”

In July 2017, DAF announced that Dalloul’s long-term dream to build a private museum in Lebanon in order to highlight pioneering Arab artists would be realized in cooperation with the Beirut Arab Art Museum. The museum is now on hold due to the present situation in Lebanon.

One of the Arab world’s greatest champions, his legacy lives on through the art he collected and his vision to better serve humanity through art that unites and informs.  

Saudi-led fashion label Ramzen presents new collection in Milan

Saudi-led fashion label Ramzen presents new collection in Milan
Updated 27 September 2021

Saudi-led fashion label Ramzen presents new collection in Milan

Saudi-led fashion label Ramzen presents new collection in Milan

DUBAI: Saudi fashion house Ramzen presented its Spring/Summer 2022 collection this week on the sidelines of Milan Fashion Week. 

The collection, according to the brand, celebrates “Gioia di Vivere” which means “the Joy of Life.” 


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The brand’s new offerings for women and men feature luxurious, contemporary designs in bright colors. 

The show was inspired by the new Italy-based brand’s shared “global experience of joy after a difficult time of sacrifice.”


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Earlier this month, the label, who’s designer and creative director is Abdul Al-Romaizan, announced that the US pop singer Jack Gilinsky was selected to be the face of men’s Spring/Summer 2022 campaign. 

The fashion house’s first collection was released for Fall/Winter 2021. It featured casual and formal designs that are inspired by the 80s.


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Al-Romaizan’s brand offers fashion and lifestyle products that are inspired by his early-80s childhood. 

Al-Romaizan was born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Milan and studied in the US.


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“I am driven by passion and filled with optimism as we prepare to unveil this collection, which honors my heritage as well as the current vision for Saudi Arabia,” said Al-Romaizan in a statement ahead of his show. 

“Arab men are powerfully discriminating and elegant in both attitude and appearance; Saudi women were among the first to dress in haute couture, and they have a commanding presence in the fashion and beauty industry worldwide,” he added. “I am fully devoted to defying their expectations for quality of construction, elegance and sheer uniqueness, while offering men and women the world over contemporary evening wear unlike anything they’ve ever worn.”


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According to the label’s website, Ramzen is the first European fashion house to be run by a Saudi designer, “and its debut represents the realization of a long-held dream for Al-Romaizan.”

Sotheby’s to present jewelry, art by creatives in the UAE

Sotheby’s to present jewelry, art by creatives in the UAE
Updated 27 September 2021

Sotheby’s to present jewelry, art by creatives in the UAE

Sotheby’s to present jewelry, art by creatives in the UAE

DUBAI: Auction house Sotheby’s is set to showcase jewelry and artworks crafted by talents in the UAE at a Dubai exhibition titled “Made in the Emirates,” from Oct. 4 to 7.  

Katia Nounou-Boueiz, head of Sotheby’s UAE, said in a statement: “The exhibition brings the best of the Emirates under one roof at the same time as our international auction highlights, in a curated one-stop destination for lovers of art and jewelry alike.”

Promise Me Perfection rings, set with a 0.72-carat tourmaline or a 0.70-carat topaz with diamonds, HASHI. (Supplied)

The jewelry houses being showcased are Savolinna, Gafla, YATAGHAN, Misk, Susana Martins and HASHI, all of whose collections are crafted in Dubai. 

The pieces bring together a range of design influences, from reimagined traditional Emirati symbols and motifs to modern takes on art deco. 

Athier, Cats & Dogs (est. £3,000-4,000). (Supplied)

The artists on view are represented by Engage101, a platform centered around a quarterly sale of non-gallery represented artists based in the Gulf. 

The mission of the co-founders, Munira Al-Sayegh and writer Gaith Abdulla, is to connect emerging artists with collectors and elevate the voice of the arts scene from the region, according to a released statement.

Bella Hadid stars in Lanvin’s latest campaign

Bella Hadid stars in Lanvin’s latest campaign
Updated 27 September 2021

Bella Hadid stars in Lanvin’s latest campaign

Bella Hadid stars in Lanvin’s latest campaign

DUBAI: US-Palestinian–Dutch supermodel Bella Hadid has landed a new campaign. 

The 24-year-old catwalk icon was selected to star in French high fashion house Lanvin’s Fall/Winter 2021 campaign, which was lensed by fashion photography duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

The campaign images, released this week, show Hadid wearing three different outfits: A high-neck dress featuring colorful prints, a black number with knee-high boots and sheer sleeves, and a cream suit accessorized with an oversized black belt.    

For the show, styled by creative director Bruno Sialell, the model debuted a straight bob haircut. 


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The images, which Hadid shared with her 46.1 million Instagram followers, feature artworks by contemporary US artist James Rosenquist. 

These include the creative’s 1966 “Yellow Applause,” his 1981 “Ultra Tech,” the 1963 “Morning Sun” and his 2004 “Through a Glass Ceiling” art. 

Hadid starred alongside French singer Luv Resval in the campaign.

Despite being an in-demand model, Hadid recently opened up about the pressure she felt to publicly project a wild image early in her modeling career.

In an interview with Vogue Magazine for its September 2021 issue, Hadid, who made her runway debut aged 17, said: “It’s like there were two Bellas — me, this person in the process of figuring out who she was, and ‘Bella Hadid’ the alter ego, who was, I dunno, a… who goes out every night (sic).

“I have insane social anxiety! Partying is not my thing, but I felt enormous pressure to project that image because I assumed that’s all people wanted from me,” added Hadid, who is the daughter of property developer Mohamed Hadid and “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Yolanda Hadid. 

The fashion icon has walked runways for world-famous brands, including Off-White, Miu Miu, Mugler, Boss, Versace, Fendi, Max Mara, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, Jean-Paul Gaultier and many more. 

Despite her busy schedule, the model took time out in September to wish her baby niece a happy first birthday.

“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 earlier this month, alongside a carousel of photos featuring the now-one-year-old, who is the daughter of Gigi Hadid and British singer Zayn Malik.

MDLBEAST, Saudi Music Commission join forces for music conference in Riyadh

MDLBEAST, Saudi Music Commission join forces for music conference in Riyadh
Updated 27 September 2021

MDLBEAST, Saudi Music Commission join forces for music conference in Riyadh

MDLBEAST, Saudi Music Commission join forces for music conference in Riyadh

DUBAI: MDLBEAST and the Saudi Music Commission have partnered to present XP; a three-day music event with a conference and nightlife events in Riyadh.  

Set to run from Dec. 13-15, the event will feature roundtables, networking opportunities, and music activations.

The event will take place just before the SOUNDSTORM music featival, set to take place in Riyadh from De. 16-19.



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Ramadan Alharatani, CEO of MDLBEAST, said: “XP is a first for the region and will serve as the foundation for a thriving music industry across the Middle East. Providing a platform to authenticate and further build the music industry in the region, local and international guests will be embraced by the wealth of possibility offered by this exciting new market over the three days. Through XP, we aim to join the global conversation, and by hosting such an event we will continue to build & accelerate the music infrastructure across the region.”

XP is a three-day music event with a conference and nightlife events in Riyadh. (Supplied)

The event aims to build a foundation for talent development in the region, encourage research into the development of a sustainable music ecosystem, and initiate dialogue around music, mental health, wellbeing, and diversity in the industry.



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Nada Alhelabi, XP program director, added: “Through these conversations, we want it to inspire future generations to consider a career in the industry and promote music as a vehicle for job creation and innovation, making it a sustainable industry from which they can profit. A big focus for us is promoting diversity, wellbeing, and fair working conditions to empower females and give a voice to minority groups within the industry.”

The full schedule of events is set to be released closer to the date.

‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ leads early at the Tony Awards

‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ leads early at the Tony Awards
Updated 27 September 2021

‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ leads early at the Tony Awards

‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ leads early at the Tony Awards
  • Alex Timbers won the trophy for best direction
  • Broadway favorite Danny Burstein won a featured acting Tony

NEW YORK: “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” a jukebox adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s hyperactive 2001 movie, took an early lead at the Tony Awards, earning seven trophies at the halfway point.
The pandemic-delayed telecast kicked off with an energetic performance of “You Can’t Stop The Beat” from the original Broadway cast of “Hairspray!”
The optimistic number was performed for a masked and appreciative audience at a packed Winter Garden Theatre. Host Audra McDonald got a standing ovation when she took the stage. “You can’t stop the beat. The heart of New York City!” she said.
“Moulin Rouge! The Musical” won for scenic design, costume, lighting, sound design, orchestrations and a featured acting Tony for Broadway favorite Danny Burstein. Sonya Tayeh won for choreography on her Broadway debut.

Alex Timbers won the trophy for best direction of a musical for “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”
It is Timbers’ first Tony. The show is about the goings-on in a turn-of-the-century Parisian nightclub, updated with tunes like “Single Ladies” and “Firework” alongside the big hit “Lady Marmalade.”
Timbers has been nominated twice before, for directing “Peter and the Starcatcher” in 2012 and directing and writing “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” He has been a production consultant on David Byrne’s “American Utopia,” directed “Rocky” and “The Pee-wee Herman Show” and is directing “Beetlejuice” for the second time next spring.
He picked up a Lucille Lortel Award for directing the off-Broadway production of “Here Lies Love” and went on to direct the show at London’s National Theatre. Other notable off-Broadway credits include the “Love’s Labour’s Lost” in Central Park and the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2016 revival of “The Robber Bridegroom.”
For the Tony, he beat Phyllida Lloyd of “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” and Diane Paulus of “Jagged Little Pill.”
Burstein, who won for featured actor in a musical for “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” thanked the Broadway community for supporting him after the death of his wife, Rebecca Luker, ReDavid Alan Grier won featured actor in a play for his role in a “A Soldier’s Play.” “To my other nominees: Tough banana, I won,” he said.
Lois Smith won her first Tony for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play for “The Inheritance.” And Lauren Patten edged out her co-stars from “Jagged Little Pill” to win the award for best featured actress in a musical.
“A Christmas Carol” was cleaning up with five technical awards: scenic design of a play, costumes, lighting, sound design and score. No one from the production was on hand to accept the awards.
Sunday’s show has been expanded from its typical three hours to four, with McDonald handing out Tonys for the first two hours and Leslie Odom Jr. hosting a “Broadway’s Back!” celebration for the second half, including the awarding of the top three trophies — best play revival, best play and best musical.
While other entertainment industries like TV and film found ways to restart during the pandemic, Broadway was unable until now due to financial and physical impediments. The lifting of all capacity restrictions was crucial to any reopening since Broadway economics demand full venue capacity.
The sobering musical “Jagged Little Pill,” which plumbs Alanis Morissette’s 1995 breakthrough album to tell a story of an American family spiraling out of control, goes into the night with a leading 15 Tony nominations.
Nipping on its heels is “Moulin Rouge!,” a jukebox adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s hyperactive 2001 movie about the goings-on in a turn-of-the-century Parisian nightclub that has 14 nods.
“Slave Play,” Jeremy O. Harris’ ground-breaking, bracing work that mixes race, sex, taboo desires and class, earned a dozen nominations, making it the most nominated play in Tony history.
Other shows to keep an eye on are “The Inheritance” by Matthew Lopez, which nabbed 11 nominations. It’s a two-part, seven-hour epic that uses “Howards End” as a starting point for a play that looks at gay life in the early 21st century. And “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical,” which tells the rock icon’s life with songs that include “Let’s Stay Together” and “Proud Mary,” earned 12 nods.
This season’s nominations were pulled from just 18 eligible plays and musicals from the 2019-2020 season, a fraction of the 34 shows the previous season. During most years, there are 26 competitive categories. This year there are 25 with several depleted ones. But theater insiders think an awards show is even more vital now.
“I would argue it’s more important than ever, in a way,” said James Corden, who hosted the Tonys in 2016. “If there’s a year that we should ever celebrate them, it’s this year, where people’s entire lives have just been ripped away and turned upside down.”
Some intriguing races include whether Karen Olivo wins best leading actress in a musical, despite quitting her show, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” in frustration with Broadway.
Six-time Tony-winner McDonald is not just a host. She’s up for best actress award in a play, which, if she won, would give her seven awards, breaking her own record for the most Tonys won by a performer. And something bizarre has to happen to deny Aaron Tveit winning for best leading actor in a musical; he’s the only person nominated in the category. Voting for the nominees was done in March.
The last Tony Awards ceremony was held in 2019. The virus forced Broadway theaters to abruptly close on March 12, 2020, knocking out all shows and scrambling the spring season. Several have restarted, including the so-called big three of “Wicked,” “Hamilton” and “The Lion King.”
“Jagged Little Pill” goes into the telecast on the defensive, dogged by two controversies.
A former cast member, Nora Schell, a Black nonbinary actor who made their Broadway debut in the chorus in 2019, posted a statement this week on social media describing repeated instances early in the run of the show in which they were “intimidated, coerced, and forced by multiple higher ups to put off critical and necessary surgery to remove growths from my vagina that were making me anemic.”
“Jagged Little Pill” producers — saying they are “deeply troubled” by the claims — have hired an independent investigator, and the union Actors Equity Association said Sunday it was also commissioning “a thorough, independent investigation” of the show’s workplace.
In another controversy, the show’s producers have apologized to fans for changing a character from gender-nonconforming to cisgender female after the show moved from Boston to Broadway.
Two original stars — Celia Rose Gooding and Antonio Cipriano — have announced that they are leaving after Sunday’s performance, with Cipriano on Sunday citing “the harm that many trans + non-binary, and all marginalized folks, in-stage cast members and off have endured.” He wrote he took responsibility “for being part of the cause harmed.”