Singularity is the creation of Nourah Al-Naim, a young Saudi artist who aims to spread her admiration and love for art through chocolate.
Al-Naim presents chocolate bars and wafers packaged in wrappers decorated with an array of watercolors.
The arty chocolate is entertaining, decorative, and very suitable for use as gifts. Each one has a unique hand-painted wrapper for different occasions and seasons, and Al-Naim also offers customized designs.
The bars and wafers used are locally made and come in an array of different sizes. Larger orders can even be delivered with a platter stand for display. For more information visit Instagram @singularity_chocopaint
Famed opera star Andrea Bocelli among line-up slated for Expo 2020 opening ceremony
Updated 19 September 2021
DUBAI: A stellar lineup of regional talent is set to perform at Expo 2020’s Opening Ceremony on Sept. 30, organizers have announced.
Among those slated to perform are world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli; Grammy-nominated, Golden Globe-winning actress, singer and songwriter Andra Day; platinum selling British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding; famed pianist Lang Lang; and four-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo.
From the region, Saudi singing sensation Mohamed Abdo, as well as Emirati stars Ahlam Alshamsi and Hussain Al-Jassmi, will perform. Grammy-nominated Lebanese-American singer Mayssa Karaa will also hit the stage, among other talents.
Tareq Ghosheh, Chief Event and Entertainment Officer of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “As the global spotlight shines on the UAE, this incredible, unforgettable evening will celebrate the collaborative, creative and optimistic spirit of Expo 2020, demonstrating our commitment to hosting a mega-event that will delight the world.
“Combining some of the most sought-after names in the world of music, live events and entertainment with the awe-inspiring, world-first technologies of the iconic Al Wasl Plaza, this is the ‘big bang’ that sets the scene for 182 days of visually striking and emotionally inspiring experiences, as we invite visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world.”
Middle East Film & Comic Con heads to Abu Dhabi for 2022 edition
Updated 19 September 2021
DUBAI: The organizers behind the Middle East Film & Comic Con have announced that the popular event is set to take place Abu Dhabi for the first time in March 2022.
The festival, which is dedicated toward film, comic book and video game fans, will run from March 3-5 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, as opposed to its traditional location in Dubai’s World Trace Center complex.
Now in its 10th year, the event will feature workshops, a theatre experience, an Artists' Alley and the ever popular cosplay competition.
“The event will no doubt provide awesome excitement to the well-established and loyal fan base, and will prove to be a great addition to Abu Dhabi’s ever-expanding line-up of exciting events for 2022," said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
Jeddah exhibition celebrates late calligrapher Mohammad Bajnaid
Saudi artist and calligrapher Mohammad Salem Bajnaid contributed to the design and embroidery of the Kiswah — the cloth that is draped over the Kaaba in Makkah on the day that pilgrims leave for Mount Arafat during the Hajj
Updated 18 September 2021
JEDDAH: Sharbatly House Museum in Historic Jeddah is currently hosting an exhibition celebrating the work of the renowned Saudi artist and calligrapher Mohammad Salem Bajnaid.
The show is part of Saudi Arabia’s Year of Arabic Calligraphy, launched by the Ministry of Culture with the support of the Quality of Life Program.
Bajnaid, who died in October 2019, was widely recognized as one of the most talented calligraphers in the Arab and Islamic world. He contributed to the design and embroidery of the Kiswah — the cloth that is draped over the Kaaba in Makkah on the day that pilgrims leave for Mount Arafat during the Hajj — and was also the creator of the Kingdom’s gift to the United Nations for its headquarters in New York in 1982.
The new exhibition in Jeddah runs until December and features 21 works from throughout Bajnaid’s career, some of which are Quranic verses and prophetic hadiths. The show is split into four main areas: The Ancient House, Family bonds, Knowledge, and Patience.
The new exhibition in Jeddah runs until December and features 21 works from throughout Bajnaid’s career, some of which are Quranic verses and prophetic hadiths. The show is split into four main areas: The Ancient House, Family bonds, Knowledge, and Patience. It has been curated by the artist’s grandson, Salem Fouzi Bajnaid, who told Arab News: “The credit behind all the efforts in setting up this event goes to (the artist’s) family and friends, in cooperation with the ministry of culture. We’ve witnessed such an amazing response on the first few days, with art admirers from everywhere coming to appreciate the work being displayed here.”
Salem led visitors on a tour of the exhibition, explaining that calligraphy is an integral part of Arab culture, and adding that he hopes this show will help preserve it and pass it on to future generations.
Dutch artist Al-Jawhara told Arab News she had visited the exhibition on its opening day. “I have never seen any of his work before,” she said. “I was surprised by the intricacy and detail of his exquisite calligraphic work. One just cannot move on to the next piece without praising the previous one.”
Saleh Bogari, former chairman of the House of Artists, expressed his admiration for the “amazing and wonderful” pieces on display, noting that Bajnaid used Thuluth — widely considered to be the most challenging of Islamic calligraphy’s traditional scripts — for his work, but managed to establish his own “unique style.” “It is really a wonderfully fine (exhibition),” he said.
US-Palestinian YouTuber Anwar Jibawi: Cooking up a storm
The Palestinian-American social-media star talks ‘influencers,’ collaborations, and working with his mom
Updated 17 September 2021
LOS ANGELES: “I didn’t want to be just a generic YouTuber who opened up a restaurant,” says
Arab social-media star, Anwar Jibawi, owner of Anwar’s Kitchen. Jibawi has branched out from the world of digital media, opening his own restaurant in Los Angeles — with a second location in the works.
Anwar’s Kitchen is a Middle Eastern fusion restaurant that serves dishes based on recipes first shared with Anwar by his partner in the restaurant business — his mother Amal.
“It’s been my dream to have a restaurant with my mom, so we did that in the middle of a pandemic,” Jibawi tells Arab News. “My mom does all the traditional homemade stuff. I love doing the fusion stuff — and that's our biggest seller. I’m always teasing my mom about that.”
The Palestinian-American influencer had millions of followers on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok before launching his restaurant. He began his online career in 2013 on the short-form video app Vine, and was eventually named one of the 100 most-famous personalities on that platform.
“My first video blew up. That’s why I took it seriously,” he says. “I would’ve probably continued doing it for fun, but once that (happened), I just treated it like a job from the get-go.”
Jibawi started out with comedy sketches filmed at home with his brothers. “I would do a magic trick where I’d disappear from the restroom and appear on the freeway on the toilet,” he says. “And there was no editing or VFX.”
Despite his quick rise to fame, the idea of “influencer” being a profitable career was still in its infancy at that time.
“Nobody understood it,” Jibawi says. “You’re trying to convince people, like, ‘Trust me. This is the future. You can make money.’ Then you go years without making money.”
At one point, he says, his mother “tried kicking me out of the house.” Thankfully — for both of them, and their many fans — that didn’t happen. Instead, Amal would quickly gain first-hand experience of her son’s digital fanbase, and become one of the main guest stars in his videos.
“I put her in the story once and everyone was saying ‘Put her in all your videos!’ I never knew how funny my mom was until I started putting her in the videos,” Jibawi says. “And then I was like, ‘Oh… this is where I get it from.’”
Amal remained a mainstay of her son’s content as he migrated off of Vine during its gradual discontinuation from 2016 and eventual closure in 2019. The pair began making a series of cooking videos on YouTube, which served as the inspiration for Anwar’s Kitchen.
In December 2020, Jibawi announced the opening of the restaurant in a video that has racked up more than 1 million views. But he is aware that there are plenty of skeptics.
“A lot of people think, ‘Oh, this YouTuber’s trying to open up a restaurant. Let’s see what this is about.’ You see a lot of YouTubers open up ghost kitchens,” he says, referring to kitchens that prepare food for delivery or takeout meals, sometimes for multiple brands, without a customer-facing, retail location. “They sell random stuff. I'm not about that. I’m about the quality of the food first and the experience second.”
It seems Jibawi puts the same effort and attention-to-detail into his restaurant as he does into his social-media content. Adam Waheed — Jibawi’s friend, fellow influencer and co-owner of LA eatery Dough Pizzeria — tells Arab News that Anwar’s Kitchen is “one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to.”
Still, it's clear to most, including Jibawi himself, that Amal is the true perfectionist.
“She’ll take hours on one order,” he says. “Someone could come in and order 40 things on the menu, and my mom'll be, like, ‘Oh no! This is wrong.’ We had to get the chef in and get them on the same page.”
Collaboration has been central to Jibawi’s success, whether with family, fellow content creators or celebrities (he has worked with Mariah Carey, Marlon Wayans, and DJ Khaled, among others). Perhaps his most-famous collab so far, though, has been when he was given the opportunity to direct the former boxing champion Mike Tyson.
“I was scared,” Jibawi admits. “But he’s so cool. Directing him was not as intimidating as it sounds. He's just a super-genuine dude. To me it’s all about the chemistry.”
Jibawi currently works primarily with mobile-first media company Shots Studios for his online content.
“It’s awesome to be one of a handful of Middle Easterners to blow up on the Internet,” he says. He’s keeping that pride in his heritage going in his restaurant by sharing what he calls “a little taste of home” with the people of Los Angeles.
“I see myself nerding out over foodie stuff. I go to these events and conventions, and that’s a new thing for me,” he says.
He plans to continue to expand, but says he will likely keep all locations in the Los Angeles area to ensure that the quality of the food is maintained. So far, the only complaints he recalls is that customers turning up for a meal of Shawarma tacos and Anwar-style fries don’t get to meet the man himself.
“They always miss me!” Jibawi says with a chuckle. “I’m here, I would say, for probably an hour a day.”
So, whether you’re a follower of Jibawi’s content or a foodie looking to try a Palestinian family recipe with a fusion twist, there’s a reason to visit Anwar’s Kitchen.
Highlights from Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis
Highlights from Farah Al-Qasimi’s ‘Everywhere there is splendor,’ which runs until Feb. 13 at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis
Updated 17 September 2021
‘Pink Soap in Pink Bathroom’
The acclaimed Emirati artist’s latest show is a newly commissioned, photo-based installation that focuses, according to press material “on her personal family history through a lens of intimacy and interiority.” It includes many shots taken in her family home during a period of quarantine earlier this year.
‘Goat Farm Majlis’
“Mining her family photo albums for inspiration, she explores her family’s emigration from Lebanon to the US in the 1950s and expands on the experience of cultural hybridity—people living between and amidst multiple cultures,” the exhibition press release states. This image is typical of Al-Qasimi’s colorful, humorous work.
Al-Qasimi’s grandmother worked in the Kimball Hotel in Springfield, Massachusetts and this image includes a postcard from there pinned onto blue fabric. “The work alludes to the hotel’s glamor and the guests’ enjoyment — luxuries provided by immigrant workers, mostly from Lebanon,” according to the press release.