Saudi Arabia’s Misk Art Institute launches Masaha residency exploring the nature of art creation 

Saudi Arabia’s Misk Art Institute launches Masaha residency exploring the nature of art creation 
“Part of Analepsis of the Green Shelter” by Abdulmohsen Albinali. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 June 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Misk Art Institute launches Masaha residency exploring the nature of art creation 

Saudi Arabia’s Misk Art Institute launches Masaha residency exploring the nature of art creation 
  • Saudi artists create new interdisciplinary artwork to show how art connects with all sectors 

DUBAI: There is a garden that lies outside of time. It is where three portals, represented by plants, peer into the past, present and future of our world. This is the imaginary garden of Saudi artist Abdulmohsen Albinali created as an artwork during a three-month residency at the inaugural Masaha Art Space in Riyadh, formerly known as the King Faisal bin Fahad Arts Gallery, long revered as one of Riyadh’s most seminal spaces for contemporary art. For Albinali, the three plants serve as a means for discussing humanity’s relationship with the natural world through historical events, present cultural perceptions of the environment, and a science fiction understanding of the future.

“These green shelters, in their very conception and the marks they bear of human care and cultivation, undeniably stand as restorative, nourishing, and necessary havens where poetry, art, desires, love, and culture come to bloom and secrets come to eternally rest,” the artist told Arab News.  

“Eat Sand, Don’t Eat You,” by Bashaer Hawsawi. (Supplied)

Albani is one of nine Saudi artists showing their work in “Blurring Lines: Art & the Creative Industries,” an exhibition presenting work by artists with a cross-disciplinary practice with a particular focus on the crossover between the visual arts and other creative industries such as design, film, music, fashion, and food. The exhibition explores how artists, creatives, and other non-arts related sectors, including health, can collaborate in creative ways. 

Misk Art Institute designed the Masaha Residency as a way for artists to pursue new projects and ideas with the aid of dedicated mentors aiding artists through studio visits, workshops, seminars, networking opportunities, research, and regular masterclasses and critique sessions. The two guest mentors for this residency were Inti Guerrero, former curator at Tate Modern, artistic director of Bellas Artes Projects, and curator of the 2018 EVA International Biennale, and Maya El-Khalil, one of the region’s foremost independent curators who has championed Saudi Arabian art. 

“Synesthesia” By Nujood AlOtaibi. (Supplied)

The Masaha residency was established by the Misk Art Institute, a new artist-centered cultural organization founded in 2017 and operating under the auspices of the Misk Foundation, established by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It is fully funded, includes travel, accommodation and production costs, and is hosted in 10 purpose-built studios. It is open to regional, national, and international artists with the sole purpose of creating art that engages with local communities with the aim of contributing to new global art practices and experiences.

“We believe that art residencies are important because they broaden an artist’s experience and inspire cultural exchange,” Reem Al-Sultan, CEO of Misk Art Institute, told Arab News. “Residencies encourage an artist to leave their comfort zone and push boundaries. In addition, residencies influence and expand an artist network within the field providing opportunities for exposure. What makes Masaha Residency unique is that we provide mentorship and critique sessions that aid an artists’ critical thinking and enhance their skill set.” 

Selected through an open call, the nine artists were invited to develop new works with support from creative practitioners spanning various industries in during an intensive program of studio-based activities. 

This is part of Sara Brahim’s work. (Supplied)

Many of the artists drew from traditional Saudi culture and symbolism, merging such references with digital technology and contemporary art practices.

Huda Al-Aithan, for example, created “Numinous Najd,” a work consisting of a 3D-printed pendant lighting fixture, a handmade lighting and clay sculpture and digital prints. The pieces borrows functional elements from Najdi architecture and re-interpret them into a contemporary lighting installation. 

By designing playful and contemporary forms that borrow from the essence of Najdi architecture, Al-Aithan seeks to participate in the preservation of her local heritage. 

“Can you be real with me?” by Artur Weber. (Supplied)

The lighting fixture and sculpture serve as studies on architectural forms and light. “The installation creates a conversation between the past and the future in terms of materiality and essence,” explained the artist who also created futuristic digital prints in which to place the lighting fixture as a piece of architecture itself. 

In similar nod to her native Saudi culture and Islamic faith, the work of Sara Khalid draws its inspiration from the traditional narratives of the Arabic language and Islamic methodologies in art and technology. Her work “Oral Platforms,” the third version of “HyperLink,” aims to bridge the gap between the distinct domains of cultural inclusivity and the status quo. It explores, like her contemporaries in the residency, the state of Saudi Arabia’s strong oral tradition and its surrounding aesthetics. In each new version of the work, Khalid aims to foster fresh perspectives on the nature of Arabic and Islamic language, culture—preserving elements from Saudi’s rich past while also innovating, just like the residency and exhibition demonstrate, through cross-disciplinary means.

Misk Art Institute designed the Masaha Residency as a way for artists to pursue new projects and ideas. (Supplied)

The next cohort of “residents” will be welcomed during the Fall of 2021 and will feature nine artists-in-residence and one writer-in-residence working around the theme of “HOME- Being and belonging.”

“Blurring Lines: Art & the Creative Industries” runs at the Masaha Art Space until June 30.

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.”