THE BREAKDOWN – Digital artist Jamal Masarwa discusses Umm Kulthum artwork

THE BREAKDOWN – Digital artist Jamal Masarwa discusses Umm Kulthum artwork
A display of Jamal Masarwa’s artworks. (Supplied)
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Updated 20 August 2021

THE BREAKDOWN – Digital artist Jamal Masarwa discusses Umm Kulthum artwork

THE BREAKDOWN – Digital artist Jamal Masarwa discusses Umm Kulthum artwork
  • The Palestinian digital artist discusses his 2017 artwork ‘Ana Fi Intizarak,’ which portrays the iconic Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum

DUBAI: Umm Kulthum has accompanied me all my life, from my childhood until now. She was with us in my house during our happiness and our sadness. Can you imagine that it’s 2021 and we’re still talking about her? We listen to her songs as if she’s still here, but she’s been gone for many years. She left a mark during her life and, as a woman, achieved so much success.

She was really authentic. She sang from the heart. In all her songs, you feel this pain. People listen to her when they are down but also, when we’re in a happy gathering, they put on Umm Kulthum’s music. When I moved to London four years ago, I was surprised that some restaurants, owned by Arabs, played her songs. You’re walking in London and all of a sudden you hear Umm Kulthum’s voice, which is a great thing. 




‘Ana Fi Intizarak,’ 2017. (Supplied)

This piece happened by coincidence. In 2017, one of the owners of Jaffa’s Al-Saraya Theatre reached out to me on Whatsapp, telling me he would like to display my work in an exhibition. His profile picture was this great image of Umm Kulthum from one of her concerts. She’s looking up the sky. Around the same time, a good friend took me to a nice Ottoman-style coffee shop that had an Arabic touch. It really inspired me with its Arabesque patterns, which you will see in the background of my artwork. Umm Kulthum’s song “Ana Fi Intizarak” was also playing in the coffee shop. It’s one of her best songs and my late aunt’s favorite. 

Sometimes life gives us signs. I could imagine that all these incidents were connected, and happened so I could make my portrait. 

My work is digital but I use a graphic pen to draw. I’m very attached to the black-and-white vintage style, which reflects the time of Umm Kulthum and contrasts beautifully with her red lips and the writing. Umm Kulthum’s strength came from her throat, so I wanted to put the lyrics on her neck to express the power of her voice and the genuine emotion she released. She is looking up and waiting for (her lover).


Jordan’s crown prince announces engagement to Saudi national

Jordan’s crown prince announces engagement to Saudi national
Updated 18 August 2022

Jordan’s crown prince announces engagement to Saudi national

Jordan’s crown prince announces engagement to Saudi national
  • The engagement of Prince Hussein bin Abdullah and Rajwa Al-Saif took place at the home of the bride-to-be’s father in Riyadh

RIYADH: Jordan’s royal court on Wednesday announced the engagement of the country’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah to Saudi national Rajwa Khaled bin Musaed bin Saif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saif.

The engagement took place at the home of the bride-to-be’s father in Riyadh. The guests included several members of the Jordanian royal family — including Prince Hassan bin Talal, Prince Hashem bin Abdullah, Prince Ali bin Hussein, Prince Hashim bin Hussein, Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, and Prince Rashid bin Hassan — along with members of Al-Saif’s family.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made calls to Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Thursday.

During the calls, Prince Mohammed bin Salman extended congratulations on the engagement of Crown Prince Hussein, and wished him and his bride-to-be success and a happy life.

“I didn’t think it was possible to hold so much joy in my heart! Congratulations to my eldest, Prince Hussein, and his beautiful bride-to-be, Rajwa,” Queen Rania said in a message posted on Twitter.

According to Royal News, Al-Saif was born in Riyadh, on April 28, 1994, to Khalid bin Musaed bin Saif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saif, and Azza bint Nayef Abdulaziz Ahmed Al-Sudairi. She attended high school in Saudi Arabia before studying at Syracuse University’s College of Architecture in New York.

Jordan’s Princess Iman bint Abdullah announced her engagement to New York-based financier Jameel Alexander Thermiotis in July.


Actress Jameela Jamil talks about her supervillain character at ‘She-Hulk’ premiere

Actress Jameela Jamil talks about her supervillain character at ‘She-Hulk’ premiere
Updated 17 August 2022

Actress Jameela Jamil talks about her supervillain character at ‘She-Hulk’ premiere

Actress Jameela Jamil talks about her supervillain character at ‘She-Hulk’ premiere

DUBAI: Actress Jameela Jamil — who shot to fame for her fan-favorite role as Tahani on “The Good Place” — was all smiles at the Los Angeles premiere of Marvel’s latest Disney+ entry, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” set to premiere worldwide on Aug. 18.

The British Pakistani actress took to social media to give fans front-row seats to all the action at the star-packed event. Also present were Tatiana Maslany, who plays the fourth-wall-breaking titular character who is a lawyer/superhero, and the actor who plays her onscreen cousin, Mark Ruffalo, reprising his more recent Professor Hulk iteration.

Jamil wore a custom Monique Vee low-cut dress with a high slit, paired glamorously with black Christian Louboutin pumps. The gown itself was an homage to comic books with action words like “BANG,” “ZAP” and “WAM.”

In “She-Hulk,” Jamil plays supervillain Titania, whom she has herself dubbed “the most annoying MCU character ever.”

In the trailer that was released as part of Marvel’s San Diego Comic-Con panel, Jamil’s Titania is shown bursting through a courtroom wall. Like She-Hulk, Titania possesses super strength, durability and stamina, but the character obtained her powers differently in the comics, having been exposed to alien technology.

Among the many snapshots from the premiere, Jamil posted a clip from the red carpet on her Instagram Stories, in which she gives some insight into her character. “She’s just very messy, very chaotic, very mean, very annoying, very easy for me to play. And she’s deeply insecure and just out to destroy She-Hulk’s life, out to destroy everyone’s life actually,” she said.



“And in order to make her more accessible to the modern world, [creator and writer] Jessica Gao has fully redone her storyline from the comics. And so, she’s more of a modern-day fitness influencer online and everything about her is fake…And I got to play just a funny, tongue-in-cheek caricature of an influencer, who can also just beat the (expletive) out of you,” Jamil added.

The series also marks the return of Charlie Cox (of Netflix’s “Daredevil” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”) as Matt Murdock — better known as Daredevil — a fellow lawyer and superhero. The cast of characters also features Tim Roth as Abomination, Renée Elise Goldsberry (of “Hamilton” fame) as Mallory Book and Ginger Gonzaga (from TV series "Kidding") as Nikki Ramos.

“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” premieres worldwide on Disney+ on Aug. 18.


Michael Jackson tribute show headed to Dubai Opera

Michael Jackson tribute show headed to Dubai Opera
Updated 17 August 2022

Michael Jackson tribute show headed to Dubai Opera

Michael Jackson tribute show headed to Dubai Opera

DUBAI: Fans of the King of Pop, rejoice. A Michael Jackson tribute show is one of four major concerts headed to Dubai Opera in September, the venue has announced.

The month-long program includes the ballet “Romeo and Juliet, The Greatest Love Story of All Time”; the opera “La Traviata”; a performance by French-Canadian singer-songwriter Margaux Sauve; and “Michael Lives Forever, A Tribute to Michael Jackson.”

The Jackson tribute show features Rodrigo Teaser, and will be staged on Sept. 23 and 24 at 8 p.m. The show includes classic hits such as “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Smooth Criminal” and “Thriller.”

Shakespeare fans can watch his tragic masterpiece come to life with “Romeo and Juliet, The Greatest Love Story of All Time,” courtesy of the State Ballet of Georgia. Performances will take place on Sept. 9 at 8 p.m., Sept. 10 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Verdi's “La Traviata,” which describes the ill-fated love affair between high-class courtesan Violetta and poet Alfredo Germont, will show at the Dubai Opera on Sept. 13 and 14 at 8 p.m.

“Ghostly Kisses,” a musical project by Margaux Sauve, will be staged at the venue on Sept. 17 at 8 p.m.


Saudi fashion designer Honayda Serafi on Harrods career breakthrough

Saudi fashion designer Honayda Serafi on Harrods career breakthrough
Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi fashion designer Honayda Serafi on Harrods career breakthrough

Saudi fashion designer Honayda Serafi on Harrods career breakthrough

DUBAI: From Priyanka Chopra to Lupita Nyong’o and Adriana Lima, Saudi Arabian designer Honayda Serafi has dressed many A-listers around the world. Since founding her label Honayda in 2016, Serafi has captured the attention of some of Saudi’s most stylish women and celebrities with her standout designs in elegant and sophisticated silhouettes. This month, she became the first Saudi designer to showcase her collection at Harrods in London, reaching yet another pinnacle for her label.

“I feel very proud as Honayda is the first female-led Saudi label to be displayed at Harrods. The collaboration had been cooking for about eight months, and it was a pleasure working with their team on this exciting launch of exclusive pieces available only at Harrods. It is an honor to be retailing at one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious department stores — but definitely, the journey is ongoing, and we are not stopping here,” said Serafi.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HONAYDA (@honaydaofficial)

Not only is this a major milestone for the brand, but it also serves as an inspiration for other emerging labels from the Kingdom. Since founding her brand, Serafi has always aimed to join the international fashion scene, while also aiming to inspire other female Saudi designers into believing in their potential. “I hope this brings inspiration to all talented Saudi designers. The world is full of opportunities, and there is a place for everyone. To the rising designers, I tell them to focus on their goals and to keep pushing themselves harder,” she said.

The Saudi design scene has rapidly evolved in the last few years, with talent from the region being recognized internationally, especially on the red carpet. With the establishment of the Fashion Council and its initiatives like the mentorship and incubation programs, homegrown designers can access the many resources they need to advance in the industry.

Honayda creations at Harrods, London. (Supplied)

“When I first started my brand, the fashion scene in Saudi Arabia was still young. I discovered every aspect of creating from my own experiences — starting from sourcing to tailoring and selling. Since then, I’ve seen amazing growth in the industry. By forging and implementing several programs that aim to promote Saudi fashion locally and internationally, the Fashion Commission has put a great deal into developing the sector in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

Proudly wearing her Saudi heritage on her sleeve, Serafi’s mission has always been to empower women through her clothes. “I believe in women empowering women. The brand was nurtured in a way to have a cause and to be one with a voice. Stepping ahead by supporting and lifting each other proves achievable when we join forces. Women know and love Honayda because they relate to it.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HONAYDA (@honaydaofficial)

The starting point of every Honayda collection is based on the women who have inspired Serafi and those who have left a mark in history — be it from the past or the modern day. Her fall/winter 22 collection at Harrods is no different. Titled “A Charm from Afghan,” the designs are an ode to the powerful character of Afghan women, their strength and the country’s spectacular architecture.


Part-Lebanese designer Tony Ward continues a legacy of resilience

Part-Lebanese designer Tony Ward continues a legacy of resilience
Updated 17 August 2022

Part-Lebanese designer Tony Ward continues a legacy of resilience

Part-Lebanese designer Tony Ward continues a legacy of resilience

BEIRUT: Lebanese Italian fashion designer Tony Ward recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his eponymous fashion brand and the 70th anniversary of his father’s establishment, Elie Ward’s Ateliers.

A pioneer of Lebanese haute couture, Elie opened his own label in 1952 at the age of 16, dressing Lebanese high society during the country’s golden age. His timeless suits populated the wardrobes of the Lebanese elite.

Strengthened by this heritage, Tony chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and presented his first collection in 1997. Despite training in France in the most prestigious fashion houses, he never forgot his origins or the history of his family. He went on to set up his boutique and workshop in the heart of Beirut because “inspiration changes and creations evolve, but heritage remains.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONY WARD (@tonywardcouture)

A few days after the anniversary exhibition, which was held in the elegant headquarters of his Beirut studio, Tony spoke to Arab News about his father’s legacy. An eye for detail, boundless creativity and a sense for beauty are among the many attributes that Tony declares owing to his father.

“Elie Ward was a pioneer, one of the pillars of the industry during the great Beirut era,” said Tony. “Known and recognized for the perfection of his tailoring techniques, he always designed clothes according to the rules of the art.”

This is precisely what we see in the documentary entitled “Forever Forward,” screened as part of the exhibition and directed by Zoya Ward Issa El-Khoury, Tony’s sister, a renowned filmmaker. This film not only retraces the history of the Ward house, but it also presents the sewing techniques, exploring the label’s phases of evolution and reflection.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONY WARD (@tonywardcouture)

Tony does not allow himself to be carried away by his success, of course. The designer and his wife, Anna, a photographer and partner at the fashion house, are deeply invested in helping their community. In 2020, at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, they decided to transform their sewing workshop — shut down due to the pandemic — and manufacture bedding for the government hospital in Beirut.

What advice would Tony give to young people who want to get into the business?

“There is a place for everyone. You must learn, gain experience and make mistakes, and you should not be afraid of failure. You should be humble and listen to your customers,” said the designer.

Tony concluded that his biggest wish today is to “see the international clientele come back to Lebanon.”